Did you hear about Arival 2019? It was this year’s premier conference for tour & activity operators.
We had a huge presence and loved meeting all of you who came. Here are our takeaways from some of the talks we attended:
Jason Hackett, Brier Katama: Marketing Foundations
‘Getting your website right is the single most important thing you can do for your business’
Jason started with two key numbers:
138: number of websites that your guest is going to see before they finish booking all their flights, hotels and activities.
80% of your guests are still purchasing in-market. They will make their decision game day or game week.
Jason ran marketing for two major tour & activity operators in New York before branching out to offer consulting with his firm, Brier Katama. He says there are three elements you need to get right before spending on marketing:
- Website (Desktop + Mobile)
- Booking Platform
We agree! And Peek can help you in the following ways:
Website: Peek Pro has partnered with three companies who we recommend for website builds – TourismTiger, TomisTech and IwerxConnect. Don’t have the budget to afford a new website? We can set you up with a simple site for $200. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Email: Collecting emails and making use of your customer list is vitally important for your success. That’s why we built an integration with Zapier so you can collect emails into your marketing software. Here’s how to set it up with Mailchimp.
Booking Platform: if you don’t use Peek Pro yet, check it out.
The Foundations of Your Marketing
Your website is where you begin and end every single piece of your digital marketing. It’s the biggest driver of SEO traffic and online bookings.
But it doesn’t stop there. According to Jason, once the booking happens, many people believe that’s where marketing stops and the experience takes over. Done well, however, it never stops. After the experience, your customer will be the word of mouth champion for you. What can you do to help them go further?
- Send Photos for Them to Use: Within the Peek Pro app, you can take photos of your guests and automatically send those over. Ask your guests to upload these to social media and tag your accounts.
- Request Reviews from ALL Guests. Peek Pro’s Smart Reviews capability enables you to request reviews not just from the guest who made the booking – you can also request reviews from anyone who signs a waiver. This triples the amount of potential reviews you can get! More info about our Digital Waivers.
Building on Your Foundations
As you can see, Jason was on fire during this talk! Here are 5 further suggestions.
- Every time you evaluate your website, do so on mobile. This is where most of your guests are headed, so this is where you should be focused.
- Adjust your copy: remove fluffy adjectives – the guests care about the facts: What is it, Where is it, Who is it suited for, etc.
- You simply must run PPC Ads. The first four Google listings are ads. On mobile, this takes up the whole screen, meaning you may not even show up when people Google for your business. At a minimum, buy this ad space so you come out number one. Check out what happens when you search for ‘Eureka Tower Tickets’: The Eureka tower website is nowhere to be seen.
- Don’t be deceived by your Analytics and remember: behind every number is a human being with their own individual story and context. Collating things into data may illuminate, but it won’t provide the whole picture. For example: mobile matters even more than you realize: bookings that are conducted on desktop, are often researched on phones.
- Understand who your guests actually are. Hackett suggests surveying your guests, as asking them questions during check-out reduces conversions. Or does it? Peek Pro has launched a feature that enables you to delay any unnecessary questions until after the reservation is done. Learn more here.
Lukas Hempel, BookingKit: Getting Your Pricing & Profits Right
In this quick talk, Lukas shared with us lessons about pricing and profit:
- Everyone has something that they can upsell! Try to find three upsells for your business. Peek Pro users, that’s an easy one: have you tried selling Add-Ons or Bundles?
- Charm pricing works. Something for $0.99 converts 1.6x better than $1.
- Product vs. Price? What should you show first? The answer is simple: are you quality focused? Show the product first. Are you focused on being the most affordable? Show price, first!
- The Rule of 100. This is for when you’re running a discount. If your price is under 100, show a % discount. If your price is over 100, show the actual $ amount discount. This way, it’s easier for customers to understand what the actual discount is.
- Once someone is booked in, they become less price-sensitive. We will spend hours trying to get the best deal on a flight, sacrificing comfort and time to save $10. Then we get to the airport and spend $16 on a beer anyway! This means that your tour prices should be competitive, but your upsells when the customers are showing up can be priced higher providing you with a bigger overall margin.
That last point is particularly interesting, especially given that in Peek Pro you can customize your emails however you like to drive further revenue. If you’re a Peek Pro user, consider offering upsells in ALL your confirmation and reminder emails! We recommend sending an upsell email in the days prior to the activity to see if you can get your guests to book more than one activity.
Akila McConnell (Unexpected Atlanta) & Lesli Peterson (Sunstone Digital Marketing): Email Marketing Insights
Akila is a well known tour operator, having presented at multiple events. She teamed up with Lesli Peterson, from Sunstone Digital Marketing, to share thoughts on online marketing.
What worked for Akila in 2018?
Expensive, but lots of conversions:
- TripAdvisor, OTAs
- Google Adwords
- Other Promo Codes
Inexpensive, but low conversions:
- Press Mentions
- Social Media (FB/Instagram)
- Networking and Festivals
There was only ONE marketing channel that was both inexpensive AND high converting: Email.
‘Email Marketing is your best bet!’
Email converts at a 4300% higher rate than social media. In fact, McKinsey & Co studied 72 million customers and found that conversion from social media traffic maxes out at 1.08%. Email, on the other hand, ended at 17.75% conversion in 2018. Take those figures with a grain of salt, of course, but they do point to a larger truth.
The Mailchimp benchmark for open rate on newsletters is 20%. You target people based on specific action-based triggers to increase conversion rate.
4 Tactics to get started with Email Marketing
Step 1: Grow Your List
- Get emails for all the people on your tour
Capture the emails of people on your site
- Use opt-in forms with a targeted lead magnet
Get them to give you their email by offering something like a local guide for your tours (lead magnets increase opt-in rate by about 85%…!)
Follow up with a welcome series immediately
Send them something letting them know about your personality and your brand of your business
Step 2: Personalize Your Content
- Tag subscribers so you can keep track of what they’re buying
- Auto tag customers with purchases, spend, browsing, custom fields
Auto send campaigns based on this info
Step 3: Meet People in the Moment
- Market to upset, cross sell & build engagement between purchase and fulfillment
- 35% of Amazon sales come from cross sells and resales
- Existing customers are 60-70% more likely to sell
- Build automations to manage this
- Implement browse-abandonment campaigns on your site
- Someone comes to your site and downloads your lead magnet. They’ll often to go other parts of your site – it’s possible to track the parts they’re interested in and automatically send them more details about the pages they were visiting.
Step 4: Create Content that Converts
- Write specific call-to-actions in your subject line (this can increase open-rate by 100%)
- Tell a story with your content (switching to story-based newsletter increased her open rate by 124%!)
- Personalize content using segmentation
So, that’s the wrap for this year. A special thanks goes to Matthew Osterhaus, our superstar Product Manager for attending many of these sessions and taking amazing notes.
One Last Thing:
Peek Pro is running Growvember again, in 2019! By popular demand.
It’s a series of online workshops available to anyone where we’ll share with you how to grow your business. It was a HUGE success in 2018.