This is a devastating time for small businesses, especially in the travel industry. But consumers are already stepping in to support their local economies.
Follow these steps to make sure your community has the resources it needs to support your business!
We have included some email templates and social media posts (found at the bottom of this post) to help you get these campaigns up and running, without you having to start from scratch.
Don’t forget to customize where possible to make sure your communications look and sound like your brand.
1. Provide an alternative to refunds
The spread of coronavirus is forcing people to cancel their activities and trips – but this doesn’t mean they have to be refunded!
Offer your customers the option to reschedule their activities or receive store credit in place of a refund!
Make sure your customers know that this is the best outcome for everyone.
- Have you included the option to reschedule?
- Allow your customers to reschedule as many times as they’d like, to give them the confidence they need to book.
- Highlight the following to your customers, when asking them to reschedule:
- Your reservation will remain open indefinitely.
- You’ll be able to reschedule your reservation for another date, no matter when and no extra charges.
- Your reservation will be fully transferable.
- Do you offer your customers store credit as an alternative to refunds?
- Store credit works like a gift card – instead of refunding customers, you can give them a code to use the money they spent on your products another time.
- Have you made this clear on your website?
- Make sure your customers are aware of your rescheduling and store credit policies. This will give them the confidence they need to book and keep your cash-flow flowing.
- If you have a “Contact Us” page, reiterate this message there, and consider using a Google Form so that customers can automatically reschedule/opt for store credit without having to call.
- You could also record a message with these options to play on your phone lines before customers connect to you, which may help ease your call volume.
- Have you reached out to customers with future bookings?
- Use the email template below if you need help with messaging
- Social media is a great way to drum up support! Use the social media posts below (or create your own) to broadcast the message and encourage customers to reschedule, or accept store credit.
2. Offer Gift Cards
A great way for customers to keep small businesses going is to buy gift cards to use in the future.
If you don’t have gift cards set up on your website – time to do so! Once you’re done, answer these questions to make sure you have gift cards that are easily accessible and your customers are reminded of this clever way to support you.
- Have you explained to your guests how buying a gift card will support your business?
- Make it clear to guests how they’re helping – explain how coronavirus is affecting your business, or even how these funds might be used right now.
- Include this message on your website, near your gift card widget and within your booking flow.
- Promote this message through social media.
- Have you emailed out your gift card button?
- Use the template below to show customers how they can support you by buying gift cards and where to find them.
- Include a button to your gift card widget, so customers can buy a gift card as soon as they read your email.
- Are you promoting your gift cards?
- Add a gift card button to your homepage above the fold, to easily direct customers to this option.
- Make it clear on all of your social media channels that you sell gift cards and that they’re a great way to support small businesses!
- Use your pre-recorded telephone message to upsell your gift cards and explain how they are helping your business.
- Have you made your gift cards appealing?
- Don’t include an expiry date on your gift cards.
- Be flexible – allow the name on the gift card to be changed if necessary.
- Sweeten the deal: consider including an add-on to the experience if a gift card is used, such as; a complimentary glass of champagne, use of a GoPro or a free photoshoot.
3. Boost your reviews
Reviews are the most powerful content for tour operators – Did you know that 72% of customers won’t book until they’ve read a review?
With the world sitting at home, looking for things to do, it’s the perfect time to engage your past customers and give your reviews some love.
Check off this list to make the most of your reviews and ensure you will be in fighting shape for when the crowds resume.
- Have you emailed all your past customers for a review?
- Use the template below to request a review from everyone who previously participated in one of your experiences.
- Have you ramped up your social media?
- Make the most of this content by turning your best reviews into social media campaigns.
- Share the incredible experiences your customers have had so you’re in the forefront of everyone’s mind when booking is back to business as usual.
- Have you put a Reviews Widget on your website?
- A reviews widget promotes trust in your brand, increases time spent on your website and drives conversions!
We have created these email templates to help you kick start these campaigns:
Rescheduling and Refunds Email Template
I hope this email finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. As the spread of the Coronavirus leads to uncertain times for people around the world, our hearts go out to those who have been impacted.
As always, our number one priority is you, and we stand by any decision you make for your health. We fully understand concerns you may have during this time, and are aware that many of your travel plans will have to change.
As they do, we’d like to strongly encourage you to reschedule your visit rather than cancel, so that you can still enjoy the incredible experience you booked at a later date.
This is a tough time for the tourism industry, and by rescheduling your booking you are offering much-needed support to a local business – as well as giving yourself an adventure to look forward to!
If, however, rescheduling just does not work for you and you still wish to cancel, then we are happy to offer [insert specific refund/cancellation policy]
We can get through this together, and on behalf of the [Operator Name] team, we wish you and your loved ones safety, health, and happiness even in the most difficult of times.
Gift Card Promotion Email Template
Today’s world has been hectic with developments in COVID-19, yet as we face new challenges, we find that no matter how difficult the path forward may be, there is strength in community.
The support we give to one another, especially when times seem bleak, is invaluable, now and always. In light of this, we want to take a moment to applaud the many who are supporting small businesses in their communities.
An easy way to do that in your city is by buying gift cards. Whether you buy a gift card for an incredible adventure once this period has passed, gift a fun activity to a loved one to use later on, or even surprise a friend with a gift card to their favorite restaurant, you will be creating something special to look forward to and giving some much-needed help to a local business all the while.
Although you can’t go wrong with any efforts to #supportlocal, we humbly ask you to consider gifting one of our many amazing activities.
You can browse through our activities here and click the large “Gift Card” button on our homepage for an easy checkout.
Thank you for your kind consideration and, on behalf of [Tour Operator], we wish you and your loved ones all the best for your health and happiness.
Review Campaign Email Template
As concerns about the Coronavirus are growing in volume, we hope this email finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy.
In these challenging times, we have immense gratitude for guests like you, whom we have gotten to share some incredible experiences with.
As we continue a difficult journey forward together, anything we can do to support each other makes a huge difference.
That’s why we’re asking, if you haven’t done so already, for you to write a quick review about your past experience with us. Taking even five minutes to do this will make a huge difference for us, and help showcase our experiences even better when all of this is over.
Thanks in advance for your consideration. Regardless of how dark these times might seem, we know there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and community support only helps that light shine brighter.
Wishing you and your loved ones safety, health, and happiness now and always,
Use these Instagram posts to share how your community can help small businesses: