Little green shoots of recovery are coming up around the globe as infection rates drop in key destinations.

Lockdowns are easing across the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Southeast Asia. It’s time to look at restarting your marketing so that you’re ready to rebuild your business when your market reopens.

Here are our top three restart marketing tactics for travel agents and tour operators.

Tactic #1: Inspire your future guests

This tactic is all about attracting future guests through inspiring content showcasing the kind of memories they can make on a holiday booked with you. It’s also important to inform them of any COVID precautions and policies you’ve put in place.

Authentic Inspiration

Your future guests are slowly returning to the world as lockdowns begin to ease. Share the places, moments and flavours that make your travel recommendations special. Let them experience your favourite attractions through the eyes of a local by capturing sights and sounds on your phone, and publishing a quick slideshow or story to Facebook and Instagram.

Good Policies

Inform your future guests about the safety measures you (or your suppliers) have put in place to keep them safe on holiday. Your suppliers may have great content that you can simply share with your community online. It’s also important to let people know about relaxed cancellation policies. If they know your cancellation policy is flexible, you’ll give them confidence to plan their post-COVID trip now; so make your policies and promotions easy to find on your home page.

Tactic #2: Reconnect with trade and past guests

Get back in touch with your trade partners and preferred suppliers. Find out who is ready to do business and what their updated safety and cancellation policies look like. Work with your top selling suppliers and destination marketing organisations to build up visibility for your tours and packages – your marketing reach is far bigger and better together.

Familiarisations and Educationals

This is a great time to organise familiarisation trips and educationals for travel agents who are looking for quality local packages to sell to their clients. Equally, there are plenty of properties, attractions and day tour providers ready to restart their businesses for domestic travellers. Tour operators and DMCs are in a prime position to unite agents and suppliers to promote local hospitality packages, especially small group travel that facilitates family and friend reunions.

Invite past guests to review you

Reviews are solid gold when it comes to attracting new enquiries, so restart your marketing by inviting your past clients to review you. Make it as easy as possible for them by providing a link to the review site of your choice – you can add a link to an email, in a direct message or the caption of a social media post. We love trusted review platforms like Google, Feefo and Tripadvisor. Don’t forget your manners –  when someone reviews you, follow up and thank them for it – we all appreciate being appreciated.

Tactic #3: Get busy on social media

Boost your posts

If you can afford to boost your posts, a platform like Facebook offers very good value for money.

There are three golden rules to keep in mind: 

  1. First, be choosy when you set up your target audience – you know who your ideal guests are; so focus on them. 
  2. Second, your post must speak to your guests’ needs, not yours – you may want to sell a holiday, but your wording needs to focus on what your guest is looking for, such as a safe and easy family escape. 

Third, make sure your post links through to a suitable page on your website where your guest can take action. For example, link a family friendly holiday post to a beautiful, rich media itinerary (like this one from Wetu) with a Book Now button.

Restarting a travel business is no simple undertaking.

It is a lot like starting up a business from scratch, except that you have two vital advantages. First, a community of past travellers who can help increase your visibility online by liking and sharing your social media posts, as well as reviewing your business. Second, you have established trade partners who can help you organise educational trips and enrich your packages with quality value-adds.

Our industry will never be exactly the same as it was before COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean it will be worse. Team Wetu is inspired by the resilience and tenacity of mountain climbers, especially their motto: The best view comes after the hardest climb.

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