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4 last-minute tour operator Black Friday Marketing Strategies [+free checklist]

The Bókun Team • November 21, 2022

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Is Black Friday for tour operators? ABSOLUTELY.

In 2020 Black Friday sales volume was 9bn, which is almost 20% more than 2019. If we look at the trend until now, we can see that since 2013 Black Friday sales have grown each year with no signs of slowing down. In fact, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become more of an online shopping event, providing a huge opportunity for tour operators to introduce conversion rate optimisation tactics and other e-commerce marketing strategies.

With online shopping increasing considerably each year, experiences and activities gifting have become more and more popular. In today’s digital world, people are craving experiences over material gifts. More than 63% of U.S adults would rather invest into an experience as a gift rather than material gifts.

There is a major opportunity for promotional material to reach a new audience and new customers. This is important because tour operators are able to store new customer data and nurture them for repeat business.

What exactly is Black Friday?

Our favourite holiday, as everyone will be looking to buy something .. anything. People are more likely to believe they are getting the best deal possible, even if that may not necessarily be the case. This only creates the urge to spend more on Black Friday. Great news for tour and activity operators!

What does this mean for tour operators?

You will have to jump on board and create a solid plan to help up-sale your tours and experiences, especially considering the fact that many travellers now would rather invest in gift experiences than physical gifts. And with Christmas right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to start looking into effective marketing strategies to sell your tours & activities online during the Black Friday & Cyber Monday season.

But how do you build a strategy that will help you leverage Black Friday as a tour operator? We’ve gathered 4 last-minute strategies to help you get started.

Brainstorm your wider strategy

Now it’s the time to brainstorm your campaign strategy whether it’s for Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Giving Tuesday, you will need clear vision and outstanding content to cut through the digital noise. Download the last-minute Black Friday planning kit to effectively execute successful marketing campaigns for your tours and activities business.

Here are some questions to get your brainstorming session going:

  • What do I want to push customers towards? Gift cards? Package deals? Seasonal items? Best sellers?
  • Will I offer discount codes?
  • How am I going to promote them? What’s my advertising strategy?
  • Am I running a targeted email campaign? Who am I sending emails to?
  • Organic versus paid promotion? Which social media platforms am I going to use?

Offer an unmissable promotion

We’re always on the lookout for the best online deals. The easiest way to tap into Black Friday is by offering great discounts. Even if you don’t offer promotions throughout the year, now it’s the time to add a Black Friday or Cyber Monday promo code to your website.

Here’s how to do it:

Give out a discount code

Try adding a 15% off code to your website and promote it by creating a sense of urgency. Promote this on all your social media channels to reach larger audiences. Don’t forget to include the link to your website so that you can capture the booking.

Hourly deals

We know discount codes work, but they cut into your margin. An effective alternative is showcasing a special deal every hour of the day. This will keep them engaged with your website and it also motivates them to buy the offer, as it’s a time limited offer.

Free upgrades or services

Stand out from the competition by offering them an upgrade or a free service. This will prevent from cutting too deep into your margins and will set you apart from your competitors that might be only offering discount codes.

Extend the sales

Your competition might only be selling during Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but take it from us, there’s no harm in extending your promotions. If they’re selling out Friday, we can guarantee there will still be people who missed out on the Friday or Monday sales, and they will be extremely interested in a good deal. And you will be there to capture those post Friday sales.

Build a promotional funnel

Implement an on-site countdown timer

Our favourite trick that will create an impact on your website in the classic ‘countdown’ timer. This will create that sense of urgency again and tension – the clock is running down, and the offers will be limited in availability.

Social media – your best ally

Get super serious about social sharing. Any content from last year you have collected, such as customer review or photos – put them to use in your campaign. Feature customers’ content on your own social pages or blog whenever they mention or tag your business. Why not even run a social media contest.

If you already have a following on social media, just post your promotions on there and you’re good to go. However, if you don’t have that big of a following, you can always go for paid advertising. You can pay to have your promotions reach thousands of people or you can target specific characteristics and demographics if you know a particular target audience is more likely to purchase your tours and activities.

Quick tip: Don’t forget those holiday themed hashtags! Oh, and if you create a campaign hashtag, consider a name that can live on beyond peak season to give any trending traction more longevity.

Email marketing

Maximise your current database, create anticipation, give extra love to past customers, make sure your emails are mobile-friendly and include CTAs that link directly to the promotion.

Collaborate with OTAs

Upsell or resell your tours and activities to OTAs like GetYourGuide and Viator to instantly gain a wider exposure. Which means you will be able to build your mailing lists but it will come at a cost. You might lose some margins when you pay commissions, but you will have the possibility to continue to upsell and resell your activities to a specific audience. With Bókun you can connect to numerous OTAs such as Expedia, Klook or Tiqets to help you grow your bookings.

Partner with coupon sites

The more partnerships the better. Sites like Groupon have regularly got travellers looking for the best deals. You might have to pay a commission, but it can be an easier way to get you seen by the right audience.

Email strategy for Abandoned carts

During Black Friday cart abandonment dropped dramatically in 2021 from an average of 81.01% to 76.63% which equals a lot of missed opportunities given the significant volume of users. However, there are solutions and tools that can be used to recover online sales.

Bókun has a unique feature that helps you build an automated email strategy that you can use to capture those abandoned carts. We know travellers need a little push and just how important it’s to reach out while your activities and tours are still fresh on their minds.

Save time, cut off admin work and easily re-engage with those visitors who abandon their carts so you can boost online sales, especially during the Black Friday season & beyond.

When the day arrives

Put your game face on, get some coffee and let’s go!

Send out your promotions on your website, social networks and emails. Prepare to handle a surge in demand with customers shopping and booking from anywhere in the world.

Keep track of your bookings in real-time in Bókun and make adjustments to your availability based on what customers are buying.

And who’s to say you can only sell on Black Friday? Extend the offer and run different promotions for those who missed out!

Bearing in mind the post-pandemic shifts in consumer behaviour, it is more important than ever for tour operators to provide consumers with online experiences that delight.

Understanding the online trends that push travellers toward action can make a difference in things like bounce rate, time on site, and more. During this critical shopping period it’s essential to be proactive in how potential customers are experiencing your brand not just for Black Friday, but throughout peak season, 2022, and beyond!

Ready, set, sell!

With Bókun you can easily maximise reach and reduce the overall admin work of managing multiple sales channels. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution that helps you stay organised, sell tickets online, manage your inventory and connect with leading OTAs to increase revenue – then look no further.

Bókun has the largest global B2B marketplace for tours and activity products. We provide suppliers, resellers and affiliates a platform where they can do business directly with one another. Propose a contract online and start selling in minutes.

Start finding the right partnerships for your business and grow your revenue by signing up to Bókun today for a 14 day FREE trial.