Holiday Marketing Tips for Tour Companies

For many tour companies, the holidays can be one of the busiest times of the year. This year, as we all know, is a little bit different. Some businesses are booming right now while others are struggling. Some have taken completely new directions, like offering foodie boxes. No matter what position your company is in, a common issue many of our tour partners face is in finding effective ways to communicate with their audience about what they’re doing.

Right now, our tour company partners are asking a lot of the same questions: How can we use our email list to best engage our audience in uncertain times? How do we break out from the pack to really attract our customers’ attention? How do we generate new streams of revenue when the old models aren’t working so well at the moment?

Here are a few tips designed to address your questions and get you thinking, planning, and marketing in the right direction.

#1) Don’t spam your own mailing list.

Imagine you have a long-lost friend, someone you haven’t heard from in a while. One day, their name pops up in your inbox. You’re excited that they reached out, but when you open the email, it turns out they’re just trying to hook you into a pyramid scheme. It feels like they’re not such a great friend after all. That’s precisely what happens when the only emails you send to your list ask them to buy something.

Think of your list as an intimate group of friends. You’d never regularly hit your friends up for money, right? Instead, try to send them something they want to open, something personal and useful to them. Save the sales pitches for the important stuff that they might actually want.

#2) Be careful with gift certificates.

If you are not running tours because of COVID-19 but telling people to buy gift certificates, there may be a disconnect. The person could have considerable concerns about when you will reopen, and even if you will reopen.

#3) People are already overloaded with promotional emails.

During this time of year, big-budgeted companies spend marketing dollars to target the same people you are. The sheer volume of emails vying for your customers’ attention can quickly turn into white noise. This makes it really hard to break through to your audience. Rather than inundating them with promotions like everyone else is, try to find a more unique, genuine, and brand-specific way to send them something they want to open.

We don’t always need to ask them to buy, sometimes we just want to remind them you are around.

#4) Look to corporate events.

Whether you’ve made the switch to virtual experiences these days, or you’re still out and about with groups, private and corporate events are really beginning to flourish.

Be proactive! Reach out directly to local businesses and let them know the kinds of experiences you can offer their team.

Forging personal connections with new clients is far more effective than hoping they stumble across your website or Instagram feed. Stop waiting for the lead to find you.

#5) Be genuine. Get involved.

Remember how we talked about not spamming your own mailing list? If focusing too heavily on promotions isn’t a good idea, then what should you send? Remember that your position as a local tour company naturally provides you a strong voice in your community. Continue to be that voice.

  • Use your reach for advertising your featured tour partners. Fostering goodwill like that is money in the bank for later when things return to normal.
  • Get involved with a non-profit or charity, and help them raise money. Social consciousness is at the forefront of many of your customers’ minds right now. Demonstrating your role as a good citizen and inviting them to join you is a great way to boost your company’s engagement.
  • Even a personal note with a genuine wish for good health and prosperity in the New Year will help you stand out and not seem like you’re always selling something.

We hope you’ve found these tips inspiring, and we’d love to hear your feedback. What’s working well for your tour company right now? How can you implement some of these ideas on your end?

From everyone here at UpLevel Tourism, we’re sending you all our best wishes for the holidays and a joyful New Year!

Joe Martin is the founder and CEO of Uplevel Tourism, an international marketing agency for tour operators. If you’re tired of trying to figure out email marketing, Uplevel Tourism can write and send emails for you. Email to learn more.




Entrepreneur, author, and TEDx Speaker who believes real world interactions are more valuable than digital ones.

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Joe Martin

Joe Martin

Entrepreneur, author, and TEDx Speaker who believes real world interactions are more valuable than digital ones.

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