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10 Tips for Filling Trips

6. Consider Advertising

Group leaders wanting to reach a wider audience than their current mailing list should consider advertising. Newspaper and radio ads can reach the local area and prove affordable. Other group leaders run ads in either their company’s newsletter or a newsletter of an organization they would like to attract, such as a local church group.

Online advertising can also deliver more business, as more people than ever spend large portions of their day surfing the Web. Browse the types of ads available on Google and Facebook, since both sites allow advertisers to customize their ads and target specific demographics, such as by zip code, age group or interest. You can run different ads for different demographics, such as one ad with verbiage chosen to attract the upscale baby boomer market and another to attract budget-conscious millennials.

You may find the overwhelming options and unfamiliar lingo a deterrent for advertising online, but a little research can help you devise a marketing campaign targeting your ideal customers.

7. Build Pretrip Excitement

According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, anticipation boosts happiness for travelers before their vacations even begin. Use this knowledge to draw in more travelers with a pretrip or preview party designed to encourage enthusiasm and convince those still undecided.

Theme the event with the destinations. For example, serve Spanish tapas for a group tour of Spain. Or hype the trip to Switzerland with appetizers of chocolate and cheese fondue.

Build in time for one-on-one interactions and a planned informational talk that presents pictures of the destination, reveals highlights of the tour and provides important information, such as weather, currency and similar details. Reach out to those who can’t attend by phone or conference call.

8. Manage Social Media

The ever-changing world of social media can feel daunting to many group leaders trying to figure out how to harness its power. Posting a link to a trip that brings no response can feel discouraging. That’s why it’s helpful to think of social media as a way to foster connections that lead to later increases in business rather than as an immediate way to gain more travelers.

One way to cement relationships on Facebook is to post photos from a trip and tag the travelers. Not only will the participants enjoy remembering the trip, but the post will also appear to their family and friends who might consider booking a tour themselves one day. Though you may not always notice a direct correlation between a post and bookings, social media helps you stay relevant and build awareness with potential customers.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram remain the three most popular social media platforms, so it can help to research how to set up an automated posting service where a post on one platform appears on the others as well. Or you could focus on one social media site if you know most of your audience uses it.

Eliza Myers

Eliza Myers has worked for The Group Travel Leader since 2007. She is the online editor and associate editor for Select Traveler.

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