Tourism marketing case study

Learn an Effective Lead Generation Strategy that you can replicate immediately! For Tour Operators, Travel Agencies & Professionals.

Updated on 20 July 2021.

Tourism is one of the industries that has been mostly affected by the current global pandemic. A hard hit that cannot be compared to anything else. Professionals have been facing cancellations and lack of bookings at the same.

Unfortunately some have perished and had to shut down their businesses.

Nevertheless, as things improve as results of the ongoing vaccine campaigns around the world, there is no doubt that the tourism and travel business will rise and shine again.

It’s just a matter of time.

We also know that the competition is high and – from the smallest to the biggest fishes in the industry – everyone wants a piece of the action and get back into business.

So…

When is the best time to get ahead and start planning your tourism marketing strategy, if not now?

In this case study you will learn a step by step, lead generation strategy that is simple yet very effective and powerful.

Instead of chasing potential clients, they will be the one coming to you and you will be building a mail-list of highly qualified leads. The best thing of creating a mail-list, is that you will always be able to engage with and offer new tours, destinations and itineraries, even in 5 years from now.

Isn’t it powerful?

There are a few benefits that are really invaluable such as:

  • Automation: How many times have you missed to reply an inquiry and in the meantime your prospect have already sent information requests to every other competitors? With this strategy, a set of strategic emails are sent automatically. No need to call or email immediately every lead.
  • Quality of Leads: Not everyone asking information will buy and it’s absolutely normal. The higher the quality of leads is, the less time is wasted. To get high quality leads, you need to aim a specific target audience.
  • Tracked & Measured: You know exactly how much you invest and what you get in return. Not like spreading flyers around the city and not knowing how many saw them and called.
  • Practical: This strategy can be replicated and it needs only a setup. Once everything is prepared and launched, the only thing to do is to monitor the results and decide when to turn it on/off.

Every single step can be
replicated and applied by any tour operator, travel agency or tourism professionals.

The data is from the second half of 2019 with sales goals for 2020. Yet, the applied marketing principles haven’t changed and are still applicable. We are still doing it for our clients in a variety of industries and for ourselves.

Said so, let’s get into it.

The Case Study includes six sections:

  • Company overview, objectives & product
  • Target Audience
  • Tools utilized
  • The “Offer”
  • Ads Copy & Imagery
  • Results

Company Overview, Objectives & Product

Extreme Bike Tours (EBT) is a tour operator specialized in motorcycle adventures and offers to its Clients adventures on the legendary Royal Enfield in selected Asian destinations (India, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Mongolia, etc.).

The packages are “all-inclusive”, from the arrival at the airport until the end of the tour everything is take care of. Prices range from US $4000-6000. The main annual goal is to achieve 100 bookings.

Target Audience

EBT’s typical client is between 40-70, both women and men, mostly from English language countries such as UK, US or Australia. They are Entrepreneurs, Financial Consultants, High level Managers sometimes even living abroad and in some cases retired. They are financially stable and well inclined to spend a bit of money for these kind of adventures.

They love traveling and motorcycles yet they prefer complete packages to enjoy the ride without worrying about booking hotels, pick restaurants or find a taxi at the airport. They like to travel with close friends and always happy to meet new people along the way.

A group of EBT Clients
A group of EBT Clients

On average a single client books 3 tours. The calculated CLV (Customer Life Time Value) is of US $7,500. The CLV is calculated by multiplying the average return from a single client with the number of times he returns. This is our metric to estimate the total monetary worth of the leads.

Tools utilized for this Campaign

For this Lead Generation campaign you will need to use:

  • Facebook Lead Ads (Budget varies but in this case the total spent was approx US $200)
  • ActiveCampaign ($88/month – up to 3000 contacts plan)
  • Zapier ($20/month – basic package)

Facebook Lead Ads

Lead Ads is one of Facebook sponsored ads Objectives. This method allows you to collect Lead’s contact information directly on the social network without the need to drive traffic to your website. This tends to drive more conversions (unknown audience to lead) as people don’t have to click on a button or a link and open another page.

Lead Ads form example
Lead Ads form example

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is the email marketing and marketing automation tool used to save and manage the contact list while the automation are used to send scheduled emails and segmentation based on favorite destination of the potential client.

ActiveCampaign Automation: this screenshot shows the automation flow. When a new Lead requests the Brochure through Lead Ads, ActiveCampaign automatically assign the Tag “Brochure”, add to a mail-list and sends an email with the link to download the file.
ActiveCampaign Automation: this screenshot shows the automation flow. When a new Lead requests the Brochure through Lead Ads, ActiveCampaign automatically assign the Tag “Brochure”, add to a mail-list and sends an email with the link to download the file.

Zapier

Zapier is third party application that collects the data from Facebook,transfer it automatically on ActiveCampaign and trigger the automated emails. It’s fundamental for the correct functioning of the strategy. Without Zapier, you would need to collect all the leads data and add them one by one to the CRM.

A Zap: Zaps are basically a connection that you can create between 2 or more applications and set the conditions to perform specific actions. In this case, Zapier collects Lead’s details from Facebook and add them to ActiveCampaign. This will also trigger the automations as shown in the previous image.

The “Offer”

To incentivate the Target Audience and obtain their contact details as sign of real interest, we have created a downloadable Brochure with ride guides and itineraries of every tour. Furthermore, EBT offered a 10% discount valid on any tour booked with 10 or more months in advance.

The Brochure + Discount offer, is what in Digital Marketing jargon is called a “Lead Magnet” and it’s a “must-have” if your objective is to find new customers, regardless of your marketing strategy. Most of all, it has to be valuable for your potential customer.

Lead Magnet: EBT Brochure’s Cover Page

In this specific case the Lead Magnet offers an emotional value – the dream of a motorcycle adventure – as well as a more tangible benefit in the form of a discount. If someone downloads the brochure and decides to go to the next level and book a trip, he/she would enjoy a 10% discount (US $400-600 savings).

Does it sound valuable?

On the other side, our side, anyone one who signed up confirmed a real interest by leaving their contact details and that’s our primary objective in this campaign.

FB Audiences + Ads Copy & Imagery

Ideally you would want to run Lead Ads campaigns targeting an audience that have already interacted with your brand or has visited your website (Retargeting campaigns) as it would be more likely to be interested in evaluating an offer rather than someone that has never heard of your business.

In this case however, the bull’s eyes were on a Saved Audience, an audience selected based on specific criteria that you can indicate such as age, gender, interests, job title, etc.. This allows you to show your sponsored ads to an audience that is more likely to be your specific target.

Our specific Saved Audience was naturally targeting people that fitted the description of EBT’s typical client described a short ago and was already been tested with different campaigns.

Facebook Saved Audience

Then we picked 6 different images with highlights of the tours, motorcycles, destinations, and created a few sponsored ads using pretty much the same copy. No long sales pitch, no fancy text with emojis. Just enough to create curiosity, highlights, offer (brochure and/or 10%) and a CTA (Call-to-Action).

Example of Lead Ads (Facebook Sponsored Ad with Lead Generation objective)

There has been some interactions which we weren’t really aiming for but they are a good indicator to confirm if you are reaching out to the right people or not. Good engagement also increases the ad relevancy and decreases ads running costs. So not a primary objective but definitely an important Key Performance Indicator (KPI).

Engagement: interactions such as comments, likes and shares are good indicators to confirm if your ads are shown to the right audience.

Results

Here’s what we achieved with this campaign:

  • Campaign length: 40 days (approx.)
  • Ads spend: US $190.02
  • Leads generated: 413
  • CLV: US $7,500
  • Total worth (Leads x CLV): US $3,097,500
Facebook Ads Campaign results.

Real sales numbers cannot be revelead however we can speculate a bit in a realistic way.

Let’s assume that a very tiny percentage of the Leads converted into Sales and let’s say that only 1% of these decided to become an EBT client, that would make US $30,975 of profit with a single campaign and less than $200 of ads budget invested. If scaled, a $1,000 ads budget could have generated around US $150,000 of sales.

Again, the marketing principles, the tools and the strategy can be replicated and used for any kind of tourism business, such as tour operators, travel agencies or tourism professionals.

And the best thing, is that it’s all automated and tracked.

Would you like to try this for your business and have a question? Bring it on and leave it in the comments below!

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