As a tour operator, getting advance travel bookings for your experience or activity can help you to plan better. Knowing beforehand how many people will be participating means you can get deposits in earlier, pay your suppliers sooner, and be more organized in general.
For travelers, this can be useful too. Some may want to pay in advance to help them budget, others to ensure that they don’t miss out on a particular activity or tour that they are interested in. Whatever the case may be, we have some advice to help you secure more tour bookings in advance.
First though, let us take a closer look at the advantages of this approach.
Benefits of Receiving Advance Travel Bookings
Not all travelers are going to make advance travel bookings. In fact, according to the latest trends, more and more people book activities and tours last minute or even in destination.
That said, this trend does not apply to everyone. And as we mentioned above, there are definite advantages for both of you when bookings come through with time to spare.
For you it means:
- More time to plan
- Better cashflow
- Advance payments to your suppliers could mean you get access to their discounts
- Greater chance of filling up your tours, activities, or experiences
- Fewer last minute surprises when organizing
For your clients it means:
- Helps them to budget and save for longer
- They have time to hunt for the best deals
- Peace of mind knowing they are enrolled in an experience they don’t want to miss
- Possibility of receiving discounts
How To Get Travelers To Book Tours in Advance
Allow Realtime, Online Bookings, and Payments
If you are not offering realtime online bookings and payments to your clients, you could be missing out on securing their advance business.
Once travelers have found a tour or activity they are interested in, they will find it a lot more convenient if they can make a reservation and pay a deposit right away. Having to wait for a confirmation or separate banking details does several things. It delays the process, makes things a little less streamlined, and can deter them from going through with the booking.
No matter how close it is to the travel dates, ensure that putting through reservations and payments for your tours and activities is as convenient as possible.
Have A Mobile Responsive Website
There is little doubt as to the popularity of mobile phones. They have become an extension of ourselves, and a tool that most of us can’t live without. It is no different for travelers as they access mobile throughout the entire travel journey from the discovery phase through to booking.
With this in mind, if you want to promote advance travel bookings, you need a mobile responsive website that will make browsing a simple and uncluttered experience. You cannot assume that all interactions will take place on a desktop. Therefore, your site should catch the attention of potential clients regardless of the device they are searching (or booking) from.
Highlight The Benefits Of Booking Early
Travelers love a great deal. It means they can get more out of their travel budget – stay another day, book that additional activity, eat out at another restaurant, etc. It is extra money they can spend in destination on their trip.
That is why offering early bird discounts are a great way for you to pass discounts or incentives on, and encourage people to make advance travel bookings.
The right payment platform will allow you to generate discount codes that you can distribute to potential clients to use when booking. Alternatively, you could consider discounting your tour prices up until a certain date.
In both cases, use your online and offline marketing materials to incentivize travelers to make a move to secure the deal. Make sure that it is clear on your marketing materials or website that early booking is a way for travelers to plan ahead and save money.
Get Active On Social Media
Your social media profiles provide the ideal platforms to generate buzz about your travel offering online. Stay active on them throughout the year and season to keep your followers engaged and make sure that your business stays at the forefront of their minds.
A social media post shared at the right time could remind a traveler that they were interested in your product or brand, and lead to you landing a booking. Ensure you have a steady stream of valuable and promotional content ready to share with your followers regularly.
Plan To Spread The Word Ahead Of Season
If your tours or experiences are seasonal, you can start marketing and advertising ahead of time to bring in advance travel bookings.
Use your social media channels, try out email marketing, improve your website SEO with targeted and informative blog posts, consider a paid advertising campaign, and consider offline methods you can use to share news about your offering.
This is also a good time to touch base with your travel partner network. With their strategic support, you can leverage the power of several markets to extend your marketing reach and get more eyes on your product. Having the extra hands on deck to sell your product will increase the chances of selling more in advance.
Because advance travel bookings can help you to plan better, pay suppliers earlier, and be more organized leading up to the dates, the last thing you want is to lose bookings. This could lead to you being out of pocket, not to mention having empty spaces that could have been filled on your activity or experience.
While cancellations are unavoidable at times, you can protect yourself by laying down deposit and payment terms. This way, travelers will be encouraged to go on their amazing experience, and you will fill up your tours. It is a win-win situation for everyone.