While you may take bookings from travellers across the globe, there is one common place where most of your customers hang out— Facebook. It doesn’t matter if they are at home, work or on a plane on their way to your city, you can bet they are scrolling through their newsfeed. People in the US spend an average of 2 hours and 15 minutes a day on Facebook— that works out to be one month every year! With all this time spent on Facebook, it can be one of the most effective channels to increase bookings for your tour.
Your first, and often most difficult, goal as a tour operator on Facebook is to to find a way to draw attention to your business page. Then you need to use your page as a virtual storefront to make the sale. If you are stuck wondering how to do this, we’re here to help.
Here are 5 ways you can use Facebook to increase your tour bookings.
Use Facebook Live and Video
It’s no secret that Facebook is making a big push for video. And when it comes to video, Facebook live is King.
When you post a live video on Facebook, it’s automatically pushed to the top of newsfeeds and a notification is sent out to your friends and followers. This is a big win for businesses who lost some of their organic reach with the algorithm change last year. Customers can engage with the video as you are recording, and the video saves to your page for rewatching.
What makes Facebook Live great for small businesses it that there are no expectations about high production value. You don’t need any fancy equipment to pull it off. All you need is your phone.
Live is meant to feel real— like the viewers are part of the experience. And since you are selling an experience, it’s the perfect way to advertise!
Post live videos teasing an exciting part of your tour, or if you have an adventure tour, show your daily safety checks to help build trust with your fans. Assign Live to different guides over the span of a coupe weeks or months to show off their unique style. Whatever you do, make it feel real.
You could take inspiration from Whistler Bungee who posted a video of a guy freaking out before he makes the leap.The video works well because it captures a genuine moment— you can feel his excitement and are almost scared for him. They posted this on Instagram but it easily be turned into a Live post.
Get More 5 Star Ratings
Social proof can have a big impact on how a traveller decides to spend their time in a new city. TripAdvisor, Airbnb, and Uber owe a big part of their success to their rating system.
Facebook allows you to build social proof by showing people the pages their friends already like. This can really help your business since 83% of people admit they trust the recommendation of their friends and family while only 46% said they trust ads on social networks.
Getting people to like your page is just the first step, to really see the power of social influence look to guest testimonials. Rather than trying to tell people how awesome your tour is, get your past customers to do it for you! Like TripAdvisor, Facebook has a star rating system that lets customers share their experience with others.
To receive reviews on Facebook you’ll need to make sure your page’s category is set up as a “Local Business”. Then you need to figure out a way to drive visitors back to your Facebook page after their tour.
A great way to do this is to have your guides taking pictures throughout the tour. Then let everyone know you’ll post the pictures later in the week. Everyone wants a souvenir! An added bonus is that they’ll remember what a great time they had as they look at the pictures. If your guests need a bit more encouragement to leave a review, you could add an incentive such as a chance to have their photo turned into a postcard.
Having a higher rating on Facebook also helps your ranking in the algorithm. Having a lot of 5 star ratings can help your posts to appear higher in the newsfeed, especially over those of a competitor with a 2 star rating. So by investing in testimonials, you’ll see all your other Facebook efforts go a lot further.
Run a Retargeting Campaign
Remember that time you looked at that new speaker on Amazon, and then you noticed it magically following you around your newsfeed the next time you opened Facebook? That’s retargeting.
It costs about half as much to advertise to warm leads than cold ones. Which makes sense. That person already knows your name and what you offer. You might even be on the bucket list. Now all you have to do is give them a little nudge in the direction of your “Book Now” button.
If you don’t already have the Facebook pixel on your website, add it now. It will be your new best friend. With the pixel you can track people who have landed on your site and add them to a custom audience that you can target your ads towards.
So if someone checks out your group axe throwing pricing page but doesn’t book, you could target them with an ad about a special group price to sweeten the deal.
The key to retargeting is audience segmentation and targeted messaging. You want to set up different campaigns for people who viewed your homepage, viewed specific tour pages, and those who abandoned their cart. You also want to exclude purchasers so you aren’t wasting your ad spend.
Always be sure to consider the unique behaviours of your audience. Remember that tourists might only be in your city for a few days at a time. So advertising to someone who visited your site 3 months ago would be a waste of ad spend.
Use Facebook Messenger for Business
Facebook Messenger is a another feature tour operators should take advantage of. Messenger gives you a direct line to your customers and prospects. It lets you answer inquires, make up-sells and get immediate customer feedback.
For Messenger to be effective you need to think of it as an extension of your customer service. This means you must be prompt and responsive through every stage of the buyer’s journey. If a customer sends you a message asking you if they need any extra equipment for your tour, they expect an immediate response. If you wait two days to respond they could have already left your city.
A new strategy that has emerged combines retargeting with Messenger. You can create a retargeting campaign for people who left their cart and direct them right to Messenger. That way you can find out why they didn’t go through with their purchase and identify any concerns they might have had. Uncertainty is a common reason for cart abandonment and messengers lets you address these problems head on. Even if you don’t successfully convert them to a customer you will gain lots of customer feedback to improve your offer.
Connect Your Booking Platform to Facebook
The final step in attracting more bookings on Facebook is by making sure people can book your tour from your Facebook page! You don’t want to entice people with your high ratings and awesome live videos and then make them google your name to make a booking. Make it as easy as possible for them to book right then and there by adding a “Book Now” CTA to your page and connect it to your booking platform.
Most booking platforms allow you to connect your tour inventory to Facebook. To connect your inventory using Checkfront, simply install the Checkfront app and authorize it on your business page.
With the Checkfront Facebook integration, customers stay within Facebook for the entire booking process. The integrated analytics allow you to see real time stats about your bookings right on your business page. Plus if you are trying to promote Facebook bookings, you can set up your account to automatically apply discounts to people who book from your page.
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