That small & nimble nature means that growth is absolutely essential and tied tightly to sales. For small activity centres that means finding more customers to fill your activities. And with the nature of small businesses, we know how tough this can be!
It’s no secret that the internet has presented a huge opportunity for small activity centres to grow, but how exactly do you take advantage of it?
1. Make full use of social media
We’re sure that you don’t need to be told just how important social media has become in growing small businesses, but for the uninitiated, it can be a confusing world out there.
Social media allows people to connect to your business in unprecedented ways via comments, videos, reviews and more. It also allows anyone looking at your content to instantly share it with friends and family, potentially turning a reach of hundreds into thousands
If you’re about to start a tour company or small activity centre, planning your social media campaigns should be of high priority. With that said, it’s important to note that the big two social networks (Facebook and Twitter) both have their distinct advantages and uses.
Facebook has the much more complete feature set for a small activity centre. You can post statuses about upcoming events, populate your page’s
profile with useful information, allow reviews, share videos and even build in online booking software right into the page. It’s a great way for potential customers to learn what your activities are like, as well as to ask any questions they might have. With Facebook’s comprehensive advertising solutions you can directly target customers who might be interested in booking one of your activities
Meanwhile, Twitter is fantastic for getting the word out about your business. Instant updates regarding meeting times, location and any other information is Twitter’s speciality, but it’s equally as useful for sharing promotional information. What you won’t find is the comprehensive brand support that Facebook offers.
Other social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest or Flickr place an explicit emphasis on photography as a means of storytelling. Once again, this is an excellent way of promoting the experience aspect of your activities, but shouldn’t be treated as your primary brand outlet online.
So, if you’ve asked yourself “how do I promote my small business”, the answer lies somewhere between the social networks listed above.
2. Move to an online booking solution
If you haven’t already done so, making the move to an online booking system like BookingLive can be very beneficial to small activity business. Why?
There are multiple answers to that question, but the most simple is convenience – for both you and your customers.
As a small tour business, the amount of staff you can employ is limited, which means a good portion of your job becomes managing their time effectively.
Traditional booking methods require a member of staff to manage your phone lines or regularly check the businesses emails for booking requests, therefore taking time away from their regular duties. It’s a system that’s rife with inefficiencies and very prone to human error.
BookingLive meanwhile automates the whole system, with customers able to direct from your website, paying securely as they complete their order. With our booking system, you can see availability levels for your activities and tours, ensuring you’re never overbooked.
For your customers too, online booking systems are vastly preferred, with around 40% of activities and being booked online. Automatic support for mobile devices means your customers can book from any mobile platform, and the online nature of BookingLive software means that it can be completed at any time, with out of hour’s bookings helping to increase sales.
What does that mean for you? Well, it means staff making the most of their working hours and happier customers, not to mention much more efficient online tour marketing.
3. Don’t be afraid of discounts
When you’re operating a small tour business or activity centre, it’s likely that profit is one of your main priorities. Of course, that’s perfectly natural for a small business, but you shouldn’t be afraid of giving up a little of that profit in favour of getting customers through the door. Voucher sites and group discount websites have become one of the best ways to market a small business, as well as a great way of getting new customers through the door and generate buzz.
As a tour and activity business, you’ll be firmly aware that word of mouth generates a huge amount of business, and a successful event not only brings short term gain, but also longer term success. Limited time vouchers encourage customers who might be on the fence about signing up for your service to take the plunge.
Linking back to our first two tips for growing your tour business, vouchers are an excellent way to boost social engagement with potential customers feeling they’re getting a great deal. Additionally, online booking systems like BookingLive have full support for vouchers, letting you generate them automatically and setting things like maximum number of uses before expiry or how long they’re to be active.
It’s just smart tour marketing strategy, and shouldn’t be ignored.