Well-timed ad campaigns with messaging tailored to specific audiences, and landing pages that back up that message have been the core of our advertising approach for years. We’ve found that getting a solid return on any advertising happens by striking the right note with the right person at each point throughout the year. Sometimes people just need an excuse or extra motivation to get out and do something fun—and you can give them that excuse.
- Showcase the Season
- Spotlight Scarcity
- Take the Weather Forecast Into Account
- Highlight Life Changes & Events
- Know Your Guests’ Buying Behavior
- Remarket To People Who Abandon The Booking Process
- Leverage Location & Engagement
1. Showcase the Season
For many tour and activity operators, a change in season should bring a change in imagery and messaging. Here are a few examples we’ve used:
In late summer, encourage families to make the most of what’s left of summer break. Family schedules are changing, and kids will be spending more time sitting indoors day and night. Not that a 13-year-old needs to be reminded that school is starting soon, but sometimes parents need a little nudging to do one more family adventure before school is in full swing.
In a world dominated by screens and digital interactions, tours and activities offer a chance for people to unplug and immerse themselves in something new, exciting, and screen-free. We’ve found this to be a compelling message to call out directly in our ads—especially in more densely populated metro areas.
Help your customers dream of crisp fall air and foliage. Everyone loves the beauty and vibes that fall brings, so help your customers dream a little. Show them how your activity is one that can help them make the most of the great weather and beauty, and you may end up filling up those fall tour times.
2. Spotlight Scarcity
If your tours are regularly selling out, or nearly sold out for a coming weekend, tap into FOMO (fear of missing out) by letting your customers know that they should act soon.
We’ve found that customers are far more likely to book if they know there’s a chance that a tour they’re interested in might sell out. For example, let’s say you have a few spots left on different tours this coming weekend, and you regularly sell out your weekend tours. It’s worth creating an organic post or ad like the example below for two reasons:
- There’s a much better chance of selling out your tours if you get this message in front of the right people. The audience most likely to buy here would be those who recently visited your website or started the checkout process, but didn’t purchase. Meta allows you to show this ad to that audience.
- Showing ads and organic posts like this to your audience and fans can help change their behavior. If they frequently see that your tours are about to sell out, they’ll know that they need to book in advance. That helps both you (selling out earlier helps you set your staffing levels and reduce marketing spend) and them (nobody wants to miss out on their weekend plans).
Pro Tip: If your booking engine has a waitlist feature like Xola, Rezdy, Bookeo, or Peek, consider incorporating that call-to-action option into your ads. That way a sold-out tour isn’t necessarily a dead end. The platform will email those on the waitlist when a spot opens up.
3. Take the Weather Forecast Into Account
Sometimes something as small as a reminder that the weather is looking beautiful for an outdoor activity is just enough to convince your fans/audience that this is the weekend to go out and give your experience a try.
This goes both ways. Let’s imagine that there’s rain in the forecast for the next 7 days. While that’s not ideal, doing your adventure in the rain may have its advantages. For example, here’s an ad for Highlands Aerial Park that talks about some of the advantages of ziplining in the rain.
While we don’t expect rainy-weather ads to convert as well as sunny-weather ads, which is more likely to convince someone to buy: this ad, or someone’s assumptions about what zipping in the rain would be like?
Pro Tip: Fully automate your weather ads and unlock other opportunities to leverage the weather by using a tool like weatherads.io. Weatherads will enable you to queue up ad campaigns based on any weather scenario you can dream up—current or forecasted.
Here’s an example where we’re doing this for 360 Chicago. We know that high visibility and sunny weather lead to amazing sunsets from the observation deck. We’re using weatherads.io to automate the delivery of these ads based on high visibility and sunny forecasts. (The third example is a fun one where we’re targeting local photographers when the weather is looking moody.)
4. Highlight Life Changes and Events
You’ll have to dive a little deeper into Ads Manager’s “Detailed Targeting” tool for this one, but it’s worth it. Three examples (of many) include:
- Recently Moved: Target people who recently moved to the area to make sure that your experience is top of mind for neighborhood newcomers. You might even consider a discount for those newcomers as a way to welcome them to town.
- Recently Engaged: Run a bachelor and bachelorette party campaign for people who recently got engaged (or who have a close friend who recently got engaged). Meta even allows you to specify how recently the individual got engaged.
- Upcoming Birthday: Create an ongoing birthday party campaign and show it to people with upcoming birthdays (or to people who have close friends with upcoming birthdays). Meta also allows you to show ads to people who have birthdays during specific months, so one fun thing to do is create month-specific campaigns where, for example, you might say to someone in June: “Have a July birthday coming up? The birthday boy (if you’re targeting males) zips half off when your group size is 8 or more! Come give us a try…”
5. Know Your Guests’ Buying Behavior
Your seasonal cycle of guests should be considered when setting up ad campaigns. This one also requires a little bit of digging in Meta’s “Details Targeting” tool. Here are a few examples:
- Target older couples when school’s in session: If you know that older couples love to experience your activity in the fall, then focus on advertising to engaged or married people 55+ years old starting in August and September.
- Target families during school breaks: For example, if an elementary school nearby has a break coming up, then you should target parents with elementary-aged kids with messaging that says “Come try our experience during fall break!”
- Shift your messaging to be more gift-oriented over the holidays: Position your experience as the perfect gift over the holidays—who wouldn’t want a food tour voucher over a pair of socks?!
6. Remarket to People Who Abandon the Booking Process
Your marketing funnel is your process of attracting, convincing, and converting your customers. Tailoring your messaging for particular stages of the funnel allows you to make the most of every cent you spend on advertising.
Using your ad platform pixels, you can create custom events that will tell you when someone begins and ends the booking process on your website. Using these custom events, you can show ads to people who start the booking process but don’t finish it. On average 2/3rds of people who start the booking process, don’t finish it. Remarketing to people in the phase often generates more than $20 in revenue for each dollar spent on advertising.
Increase your conversion rate even more by offering customers something based on their interactions with your brand. One example of how we’re doing this is for a tour company that is selling out daily for nearly all its tours. This has resulted in a lot of people going to their website, starting the booking process, realizing that there wasn’t a tour time available, and abandoning the process. To recapture this revenue, we created a time-restrictive offer where they can purchase tour vouchers for 20% off. The beauty of this we get to recognize the revenue today, and we don’t sacrifice margin since on average we only see 70% of vouchers get redeemed.
7. Leverage Location & Engagement
Combining where people are when they open Facebook or Instagram and how they’ve interacted with your brand recently should have a meaningful impact on the types of ads you show them. Here are two of our favorite ways to use this information:
- If you’re located in a tourist destination, many of the people opening up Facebook or Instagram nearby are on vacation. Because of this, we’ve found that prompting these people directly with questions like this: “Are you on vacation? We’ve got the perfect tour or activity for you…” improves ad performance.
- If you have a brand that receives attention from people who are out of destination in the planning stages of their vacation, you have an opportunity to reach them before they arrive at their destination through remarketing. We’ve found that calling out directly on the ad “Are you planning a vacation to _____” has a positive impact on performance for out-of-destination remarketing.