Operator launches series of parties to build tour sales and customer loyalty

Marketing pro Michaela Tye of Village Travel would never wait for business to come to her. She is actively working to bring in more tour business every day and expand the company’s customer base.

In fact, fresh off returning from the 2020 EXPO, where she accepted the Motorcoach Marketer of the Year Award for Village Travel, Tye launched a series of parties at each of their locations to celebrate Galentine’s Day, a fun Valentine’s gathering for women.

“We threw Galentine’s events for single female travelers and we had an overwhelming response. We had 400, 500 women total show up to the parties,” she said during a recent UMA Town Hall.

Worth the chaos

The parties featured games and snacks. From this event, they started a Facebook group, and it made travel more accessible for the individuals involved, mainly single women.

“They want to travel more, and if they know the people who are going on tours, they book more tours. It’s just kind of a win-win-win,” Tye said. “It was definitely worth the chaos of Valentine’s week, of throwing five different parties.”

Those parties were hosted at Village Travel’s offices in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Wichita.

Although the pandemic arrived shortly after the parties, resulting in those initial trips being canceled, the group has continued to connect on Facebook, and the members are getting excited to travel again, Tye said.

Social media engagement

Village Travel has pretty good engagement with this demographic on Facebook, where the company has more than 14,000 followers. She often uses the phrase, “We’re here when you are ready to travel again.”

Village Travel is currently planning tours and having them go out now. Some of these tours stay in one location for multiple nights to increase the comfort level for people who might be hesitant to travel because of concerns about COVID-19.

Village Travel’s Facebook followers also engage with content that shows what is going on behind the scenes with the company’s drivers and in the shop. They also like seeing photos of groups out on tour. Those posts are designed to build brand awareness and brand trust. “We want to make sure they know we are still here when they want to travel,” Tye said.

Targeted emails

In addition to social media, she makes use of email marketing.

“If you don’t have an email list or aren’t capitalizing on that, I really think you are missing out,” said Tye, adding that’s important to send emails that are targeted to a client’s interest.

One way Village Travel has grown its email list is by adding a popup to its website that says “Connect with us” and encourages people to sign up for newsletters under topics that interest them.

“We’ve added more than 700 new email subscribers just by adding a popup,” she said.

Idea can work in other markets

Tye thinks the Galentine’s Day idea will work for other operators with similar markets of single female travelers. By bringing this group together, they can save money when traveling as part of a larger group.

“They want to travel more if they know the other people who are going on the tours,” Tye said.

Master’s Touch Tours in Arizona shared during the presentation that it has success hosting tea parties for women travelers, as a way to bring them to an event to talk about travel opportunities.

Tye says the goal is to organize more events — including ones targeted to men.

“We just have a lot more females than males who are single travelers with us, and it seems like those are really the ones who are wanting to pair up,” she said.

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