With a sea of competition selling similar tours, how do you stand out from the crowd? A great place to start is to familiarize yourself with concepts like The Octopus Method. What is The Octopus Method? Glad you asked!
Unlike us simple beings, an octopus uses its eight tentacles to complete a variety of different tasks simultaneously; thus making it more efficient and effective. While it is presently impossible for us to grow a few more limbs, it is quite doable to utilize a similar concept of spreading out a brand’s online presence far and wide. Instead of focusing on one or two labor intensive online marketing strategies, make your tour’s presence known in as many channels as possible.
Start With Google and Bing
Listing your business on Google My Business is a vital and free next step you can take to promote your tour online. Not only will it list your tour business in local searches, but it will also show your business’s information on Maps and Google+.
Want an insider’s tip? Recruit at least five (satisfied) customers to review your business on Google. While you should eventually aim for more, a minimum of five reviews will ensure that your business will have a visible star rating.
And while Google might be the largest search engine platform, it certain isn’t the only one out there. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans are using Microsoft’s search engine to scour the internet — that’s right, 20% of users in the US are using Bing for their internet searches.
How should you reach that 20%? You guessed it — list your business for free with Bing Places for Business. Not only will Bing list your tour business’s name and contact information, but it also allows you to include content such as photos and videos.
Get Listed on Daily Deal Sites
Discount websites are an excellent way of improving your business’s online web presence. Why? They reach a massive audience for starters. How massive? Well, Groupon alone has tens of millions of subscribers. Not only will your tourism business reach a large audience by using Groupon, but many times Groupon will provide a quality link back to your website, which will in turn help improve your website’s SEO value.
Another great perk of discount sites is that they offer a chance for your brand to go viral. For example, if someone signs up for a deal on LivingSocial, they are prompted to share a link of that deal on their social media outlets. Sure, they are motivated to do it with the hopes of getting the deal for free — but they are simultaneously helping you reach an even larger audience.
…And List Your Tour Business Everywhere Else
The whole idea of the Octopus Method (or “The Billboard Effect” as it is also known in the travel industry) is to be seen — all over the internet. Now that you have the basics down, it’s time to really branch out and list your travel business on any and every valuable and relevant outlet. And like everything else, make sure that what you are presenting, in this case, your website, is actually presentable (which is something we at TourismTiger can help with).
While there are an endless amount of sites aimed at promoting tour businesses, you picked a great starting point with GuideAdvisor.com. With over 42,000 views of their website a month — and a 15% increase in views monthly — they are fast becoming one of the most valuable platforms to list a tour on. In fact, they recently did a case study on one of their clients — the results of their Premium Listing speak for themselves.
Another great option is Online Tour Agencies (OTAs). Why are they such an important distribution channel? Because they are a one-stop-shop for customers who want to quickly book everything using one platform. This means that OTAs have the ability to reach a massive international audience — an audience that would be difficult for you to reach without their help.
Read this post to learn more about the benefits of working with OTAs.
Spoiler alert: Stay tuned to learn about the do’s and don’ts of review sites coming up in Part 2 of this Series.