10 Promotion Strategies for the Travel and Tourism Industry that Actually Work
Almost every industry is (still!) going through tough times since the pandemic outbreak back in 2020. Some of them, though, have been affected by coronavirus far more than the others – and the travel industry is definitely one of them. Canceled trips, canceled flights, confused guests and hosts alike, countless restrictions, and the overall uncertainty of what’s coming next – all this have brought the industry to the brink of collapse.
Thankfully, most travel and tourism businesses decided to fight against the odds, and work their way through the pandemic. As of summer 2022, there are signs of coming back to (normal) life. Nobody knows, though, what autumn will bring and convincing consumers to plan their trips is far more difficult now than it ever was. That’s why clever marketing and promotion strategies seem to be the keys for the industry to get back on its feet.
Marketing for the travel and tourism industries in 2022
The pandemic isn’t the only problem the travel and tourism industry has faced lately. The economy (for example in Europe) forces people to think twice before going on costly vacations abroad. The competition is stiff as ever, and there’s still a need to maintain a healthy balance between costs and earnings. There’s no point in pumping thousands of dollars into marketing strategies if they won’t bring enough ROI. That’s why it’s crucial to select the next promotion strategy for your business carefully.
Here are some notable travel marketing trends are worth mentioning:
- TikTok marketing – this social video platform became a powerful marketing tool for those skilful enough to unlock its potential. Often referred to as a platform for children and youth (and dismissed for being such), TikTok hosts 1 billion active users. It’s a value that shouldn’t be ignored.
- Social media marketing – the dominance of TikTok does not mean that other social media platforms are doomed in marketing. Instagram, Facebook, and even LinkedIn – all those media have their place and are still valid marketing platforms. The key is – as always – targeting the right audience.
- Influencer marketing – staying in the social media area: engaging celebrities and influencers in your marketing activities is an idea worth thinking of. Of course, the influencer with a 250K Instagram profile won’t bring thousands of customers directly to your company, but the recognizability should definitely help.
What about some travel marketing trends for 2022?
- Flexibility is a key – though low prices are still important, customers are eager to find offers that enable them to get a full refund or change bookings if necessary.
- Long-term rentals – in times of remote work, more people want to try living in new places for a more extended period. So-called workations have become more popular than ever, and people expect special deals for long-term rentals.
- Geofencing – looking for attractions near the place of living has become a thing during the pandemic. People are forced to put off their travel plans until somewhere in the future, turned to what their area has to offer. With geofencing, local attractions, such as restaurants, museums, go-karting tracks, escape rooms or laser tag places, became open for people searching for “[something] near me” which, apparently, grew popular in recent years.
Enough of those trends – you’re here for the list, so here it is! 10 promotional strategies for the travel and tourism industry that actually work – they have been launched and tested by companies we know. There’s no room for hypotheses. Below you’ll find nothing but real-life examples – get ready to get inspired!
Promotion types used: discount coupons, gift cards, giveaways.
Gamecity GoKarting Zoetermeer is a place of fun games and entertainment for people looking to do something more active and demanding than watching VOD at home or going to the cinema. Gamecity offers go-karting, laser tag, minigolf and an innovative, competitive escape room-like experience called Prison Island.
1. Social media giveaways
Pursuing the newest trends, Gamecity launched a few social media profiles, such as Instagram or TikTok (their most popular video has been watched more than 40K times!). They use TikTok not only for sharing funny, short videos but also to run giveaways for their engaged followers, thus increasing company recognizability and gaining new followers (as well as potential customers):
Online contests are usually a very effective way to raise awareness of newly-created brands. Still, nothing stands in your way if you want to organize a sweepstake every now and then to promote your already established brand.
In short: a well-performed online giveaway should not only bring some attention to your company but it might also result in a significant followers increase. Each of them can become your next valuable customer!
2. Discount coupons
People who don’t order any service without typing “[name of the company] discount coupon” in Google Search won’t be disappointed, as Gamecity Gokarting issues discount coupons every once in a while. A nice 20% discount for go-karting should be enough to convince the unconvinced and create the opportunity for them to try new things while traveling or just hanging out with friends.
Discount coupons are the salt of promotion strategies for the tourism and travel industry – it’s always nice knowing that the attraction you were already willing to experience is a bit cheaper than expected. However, from a business perspective, too big of a discount can be deceptive, as people could try it once and then never come back due to the feeling that the service should be cheaper than it is. That’s why companies usually launch 10-20% discounts.
In short: The most significant advantage of the discount coupon promotional strategy is that it’s not very demanding to launch and maintain such a promotion. And with a proper tool, such as the Voucherify, issuing coupons is approachable and developer-friendly.
Promotion types used: gift cards, partnerships, giveaways.
Sportihome has created its unique business model that combines two things you can find in the company name – sports and housing rentals. To make their offer attractive for sports enthusiasts and travelers alike, Sportihome runs numerous giveaways with strongly-thematic rewards, such as entries for sports events and so on:
A popular marketing strategy is partnering up with well-known brands to provide discounts, equipment and other gifts. Sportihome decided to follow this path by teaming up with Decathlon, the most prominent sports gear brand in France. Each host, who joins the Sportihome family, gets an exclusive 10% discount for equipping the lodgings they share with Sportihome customers.
In short: partnerships may strengthen your brand as showing up in the right company to a business meeting does. And if the partnership comes with benefits for the customers, you can be sure that it will positively impact your marketing efforts.
4. Gift cards
One of the ultimate travel and tourism promotion types is gift cards. However, buying holidays as a gift can cause unintended trouble – it isn’t easy to be a hundred percent sure that the gifted person won’t have any plans in a given period. Also, choosing the location and lodgings for them might not be the best idea (who knows if they’d like it?). In such a case, the best way would be to present someone with a gift card for holidays of their choice. And that’s exactly what you can do via Sportihome – choose the price (from €50 to €1,000) and choose whether Sportihome should send the card to the recipient or if you want to do this personally.
Each gift card is valid for 24 months, and the gifted person can use the code from the gift card during the payment – after choosing the most suitable location.
In short: Gift cards are present in almost any industry, but they became especially popular when the pandemic began – if all the travel companies ensured full refunds for everyone who wanted to cancel their flights, trips and vacations, they would already be out of business. One of the ways to stay above the surface while encouraging customers to return was to offer them gift cards instead of a cashback.
This is precisely the way easyJet decided to deal with the coronavirus crisis – read more about it in our case study!
Al Ali Yachts
Promotion types used: BOGO, discount coupons, giveaways.
Al Ali Yachts is a luxury yacht-rental company based in Dubai, UAE. In a demanding market, rental companies have to try different marketing strategies to get to the right audience. One of the most effective promotions used by Al Ali Yachts is BOGO – buy one, get one free – promotion.
How does it work? BOGO promotions add an item whenever a customer orders a required number of items. For example, during the "Enjoy the Summer" promotion, Al Ali Yachts offers their customers 1 hour of yacht rental for free for every 3 hours booked. It’s easy to calculate that the offer equals a 25% discount. The difference lies in the incentive.
If a group of friends would like to rent a yacht for two hours, they might get incentivized by the promotion – they’d rather pay for 3 hours and have a boat for 4 hours.
6. Holiday giveaways
There’s always an occasion to celebrate – should it be International Women’s Day, Independence Day or National Pizza With Everything (Except Anchovies) Day, brands have learnt to incorporate them into their marketing efforts. A contest where the winner gets 1 hour of free cruising? Why not? If it brings people interested in the product, it’s probably a good idea (though there’s a million dollars for whoever creates a campaign combining National Pizza Day with yacht rental).
Promotion types used: discount coupons.
Visiting the Dertouristik website for the first time is one of those unforgettable moments, when a pop-up ad doesn’t get on the nerves – why so? Because of an exclusive, time-limited offer (also the fact that it doesn’t cover the whole screen)!
7. Time-limited offers
Though setting a time limit for the offer is old as the world, it’s useful promotional tool companies use with success in 2022 (and will probably still use in 2222). Here’s what it looks like on the Dertour website:
The window pops up right after entering the website – it says that there’s a €50 discount for any travel package from Dertour, as soon as the total costs are above €500. The offer is valid until midnight, so there’s a strict deadline, but with plenty of time to think this decision through.
It’s a nice touch that after closing the pop-up window, it’s still available under the blue “Ihr Rabatt Code” button, so the customers can get back and copy their code anytime.
Promotion types used: flexibility packages, discount codes, freebies.
8. Flexible packages
Trends in the travel and tourism promotions have changed – customers expect more than low prices, loyalty solutions or various discounts. They also need peace of mind when it comes to planning their vacations. That’s why solutions such as ItaliaRail’s Flexibility packages work! With an additional fee customers can ensure that they would be able to reschedule or cancel their train tickets with an 80% or 90% refund:
Genuinely taking care of customers’ well-being is one of the most effective promotional strategies – especially if the goal is to create a long-term relationship with the customer. So ItaliaRail went the extra mile and prepared a little welcoming gift for their potential customers – a free Italian phrases ebook, which can be a helpful guide for those who visit Italy for the first time. Of course, giving away an ebook like this probably won’t become a game-changing strategy for the company. Still, it’s an excellent little addition to make customers feel better about traveling, and to get some email addresses in the process.
Promotion types used: cart promotions, discount coupons.
With its branches in Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, France, Poland, Spain, the UK, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Sweden and Finland, TUI became one of the most popular travel agencies in Europe, offering holiday trips worldwide.
10. Cart promotions
Knowing that the most straightforward solutions are often the most satisfying ones, TUI went through with cart promotions – the discounts visible immediately while browsing the offers:
A big, red –41% alert is precisely what TUI wants people to see right after clicking the TUI Deals button on the homepage. The difference between the regular and discounted price is what drives people’s purchasing decisions more often than they want to admit. But the difference between €1410 and €831 is just too good!
Cart-level promotions, though, offer more than only displaying lower prices. Using them, you can assign automatic discounts to each customer who meets the redemption criteria, create personalized deals, enable free shipping, bonus items and much more!
Coming up with a successful promotion strategy for the travel and tourism industry requires a lot of work and dedication – I hope the above list of examples will help you choose the best promotion type to begin with. Now, before I finish, here are three final tips you might find helpful:
- Select two or three promotion types you’re eager to try out. Learn more about them and see if they are within your reach before investing any money in them.
- Look around and search for software that would help you create and launch the type of promotions you’re interested in. It’s always a better (and cheaper) idea to find ready-made software instead of trying to come up with your own solution.
- If you’re determined to try out different types of promotions for your business, make sure that the software you’ve found in step 2 is able to handle each of them. No point in subscribing to (and paying for) two or three different software packages while you can stick to a single one.
If you’re looking for a powerful promotion engine where you can create numerous marketing campaigns (personalized coupons, cart-level promotions, digital gift cards, product bundling, loyalty and referral programs, geofencing), but pay only for the actual usage, try Voucherify. And when I’m saying “try” I mean it – Voucherify comes with a free plan, which you can use to find your way through the platform before deciding to pay any money!
Don’t hesitate any longer