6 Ways to Engage your Guests During the Holidays

November 15, 2018, Kyla Steeves
Engage your guests. Female wearing Christmas gloves forming a heart around mountains.

There’s a lot of noise during the holidays, and it doesn’t just come from office parties, bustling Christmas markets, door to door carols, and family sleigh rides. Holiday shoppers are also bombarded with promotional emails, social media advertisements, and more. For many consumers, it’s so overwhelming that holiday marketing campaigns often blend into the background — like a Michael Buble Christmas special.

With the ongoing spread of holiday cheer and promotions, it might be challenging to market your tours and activities without adding to the noise. However, this isn’t the time to kick back by the fireplace and do nothing.  Since consumers are in the spending mood, you have a tremendous opportunity to increase bookings — especially since the gift of experiences continues to gain popularity.

But how do you stand out from your competition, and all the other holiday marketing campaigns?

Engage your guests this holiday season

The festive season is often a key time to entice new customers. Consumers are on the hunt to find the best gifts to buy their loved ones — and even treat themselves. As such, many marketers see this as a chance to acquire new business. If someone’s looking for a great deal, why not offer one and gain exposure at the same time?

But what if this season you focused your holiday marketing on driving repeat business instead? After all, returning guests and referrals create long-lasting profitability for your tour business. Not only do they take a lot less convincing to book again, but they’re also happy to promote your experiences to others.

Here’s a more specific way to look at it:

Your existing guests, whether first-timers or regulars, already know your tour company. They’ve met your tour guides.  They’ve enjoyed your tours and activities. They’ve written positive online reviews.

That means they’re more likely to take notice of your messaging when it comes to the inundation of targeted holiday promotions. And with the high stress around gift giving, they trust that your experiences will make a great present because they had a fantastic time themselves.

So to engage your guests this holiday season, you can try one or all of these creative holiday marketing campaigns.

6 Creative Holiday Marketing Campaigns

Holiday marketing campaigns. Two guests enjoying tour around France in Christmas holiday sweaters.

1. Treat your best guests to discounts

Over the years, you’ve probably experienced all kinds of guests. While some have been naughty — like the no-shows and last minute cancellations — others have been nice because they’ve booked your tours and activities for a third, fourth, or even twelfth time! For the latter, you can reward their patronage with a discount wrapped neatly in an email.

So take a look at your current customer base, see who’s made a booking multiple times, and compile an email list. After deciding on a generous discount amount, you can use MailChimp to create a holiday-themed email. Remember to add personalization, thank them for their bookings, and wish them Happy Holidays.

2. Make a list of gift ideas for travelers

Nowadays, it seems like there’s one travel lover in every crowd. Many have a cousin who’s on their latest adventure, or a friend that’s dreaming up their next departure. But generally, the holidays bring and keep travelers home, so that means potentially drawing their name for Secret Santa.

If that’s the case for your guests, then they might be struggling to find the perfect gift. After all, giving a flight ticket is a bit excessive and could overshadow the homemade gift from Grandma. So to help them with their holiday shopping, make a list of gift ideas for travelers, and share it on social media.

You can get a little creative with this list and include items like a scratch map, collapsible water bottle, selfie-stick, or solar charger, but make sure to sneak a gift certificate for your tours and activities on it.

3. Share a destination holiday guide

The holidays don’t just revolve around gift giving; consumers are also on the lookout for fun, seasonal activities to do with their family and friends. Whether it’s walking through a Festival of Lights, taking a Gingerbread House workshop, or going Christmas tree shopping, most are in the holiday spirit and search for ways to make it special.

As a tour operator, you love your location — which could be why you made a business of showing others around it. For this reason, your guests likely trust that you know a thing or two about happenings in the area. So it’s a wonderful idea to write up a holiday guide for your destination with the best things to do all season long.

And if your tour business has any special holiday events going on as well, the holiday destination guide is a great way to let previous and current guests know about it.

4. Create a compelling video

Video marketing is by far the best way to engage your guests this holiday season. While many might read your spirited blog posts, or like the latest Instagram photos of your Christmas party, it’s a holiday video that will most likely capture their attention. That’s because videos are visually stimulating, and viewers tend to watch them play until the end.

So this is your opportunity to be creative — even if decorating the tree isn’t your forte. If you need a little help, get your tour guides together, and brainstorm the best ideas to film.

Maybe you want to deliver a feel-good montage that piggybacks off the warm, fuzzy feelings of the season. Or perhaps you want to give your guests a full belly, Santa laugh. Whatever direction you choose, share it on social media, and even consider boosting the post to reach more eyes.    

5. Run a holiday contest

There’s nothing better than kicking off the season with a holiday contest. Since your guests probably spend frivolously this time of year, winning a free experience would be pure gravy for them. So, you can put your tours and activities up for grabs.

Start by choosing a popular experience among your guests. That way, they’ll be more tempted to partake in the contest when it’s a prize they want. Figure out a fun way for participants to win — like posting a photo of their favourite holiday traditions. And then run the contest on your website, not on Facebook.

Why?

Because Facebook has many rules when it comes to giveaways, contests, and lotteries. If your contest is independent of Facebook, you can set your own rules, while also driving traffic to your website — the place that matters most. But don’t worry, you can still share the contest on your Facebook page, and let them know to follow the link to enter for a chance to win.

5. Team up with a local charity

It’s the season of giving, and that extends to charities as well. In fact, charitable donations increase as the holidays ramp up. Although you might focus on achieving sales goals before the end of the year, you should consider donating to a local charity as it’s beneficial to your bottom line, too.

That’s because supporting a charity helps define your travel brand. To your guests, it says you’re trustworthy and ethical. And for your team, it provides a work culture they feel good representing. So when you find a good cause, and share it with your social network, both your guests and staff might be eager to show similar support.

6. Send seasons greetings

Sometimes, the best way to engage your guests is to wish them a holly, jolly Christmas without obvious sales tactics. By sending an e-card, or paper card in the mail, you’ll show genuine appreciation, while staying top of mind.

A holiday card is also an opportunity to shine a spotlight on your incredible team. So get everyone together, pass the Santa hats around, and pose for a goofy, yet lovable portrait. As for the message, remember to make it personal, and keep it inclusive— that means signing off with a Happy Holidays, or Seasons Greetings.

Wrapping up

As you can see, there are plenty of holiday marketing campaigns you can use to engage your guests this festive season. And by focusing your efforts on gaining loyalty, rather than driving new business, you’re bound to see a spike in repeat business in the New Year.

Want more marketing advice beyond the holiday season?

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