15 Essential Resources for Tour and Activity Operators
Whether you're a day tour operator, or a multi-day adventure travel company, you need your marketing to stand out, attract travelers and speak volumes.
You need to replicate the excitement that surrounds a once-in-a-lifetime trip — the thrill of climbing Mount Everest or the terror of a ghost walk in a medieval European city. You need to reflect these emotions, passions, and sensations in your campaigns.
But how do you do it?
We've compiled a list of must-click resources — blog posts, podcasts, publications, you name it — that will inspire you when creating your next tour marketing campaigns.
1. United States Tour Operators Association
The ultimate starting point for your travel campaigns, the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) promotes integrity in the tour operator industry, with a wide range of videos, guides, and tips that will help you engage with travelers.
You can also find a USTOA-certified travel advisor near you to learn more about the vacations you sell to consumers — off-the-beaten-track experiences, local customs, holiday hotspots, etc.
Recommended reading: 3 Trips That Highlight the Diverse Nature, Culture, and History in North America
2. European Tourism Association
The European Tourism Association (ETOA) connects tour operators in Europe with a wide range of services and events that take place throughout the year. If you want to network with industry professionals, become a member today and book a ticket. The Global European Marketplace is ETOA's flagship event and takes place in November in London.
Recommended event: Global European Marketplace
3. Tourism Industry Aotearoa
Selling tours in New Zealand? Check out Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA), which bursts to the brim with helpful hacks for tour operators and travel marketers. Here, you can discover the latest travel trends down under and fine-tune your future campaigns.
TIA also values sustainability, which is something you might want to incorporate into your tour marketing campaigns.
Recommended reading: Government Tourism Strategy Supports Sustainable Development
4. Intro to Online Marketing (Rezdy)
New to tour marketing? This digital marketing primer from booking software company Rezdy will teach you all the basics — how to create a blog, how to boost your search rankings, how to use a content management system, etc. It's Digital Marketing 101 without the expensive college fees.
Recommended reading: Five Ways to Select the Best Keywords for Your Website (Chapter 9)
5. Adventure Travel Trade Association
The Adventure Travel Trade Association connects operators who specialize in adventure travel. They host a wide range of trade events throughout the year, including Adventure Elevate in Lake George, New York, in June, which attracts tour operators, travel managers, marketers, and tourism professionals from around the world.
Recommended event: Adventure Elevate
6. Travel & Leisure (Marketing Week)
Marketing Week's Travel & Leisure section is the tour marketer's Bible, with the latest news, analysis, and insights from an industry that's in a constant state of flux. Here, you can discover more about your favorite travel brands and learn marketing tips that help you connect with travelers.
Recommended reading: Inside the Launch of Marriott's New Loyalty Programme
7. PhocusWire (Tours and Activities Section)
PhocusWire is a must-read travel resource, with various insights about the industry that will inspire, educate, and inform any tour marketer. Check out their articles for tour operators.
Travolution specializes in travel — tours, trips, tech, and much more. They even have a dedicated section for tour operators just like you, with click-worthy content that will make you rethink your online and offline campaigns. We particularly like their whitepapers, which go super in-depth on a travel-related topic.
Recommended reading: Why Tours and Activities is the Most Exciting Sector in Travel
9. Travel Weekly
Travel Weekly regularly updates its website with the best content and tips for tour operators. News, analysis, travel insights — you'll find it all here.
Recommended reading: Despite New Limits, Cuba Tour Operators See a Way Forward
10. Travel Market Report
Another great resource for tour operators, Travel Market Report is the New York Times of the travel industry, with the latest insights about tours, accommodation, flights, and retail strategies. There are also various training resources, where you can brush up on your marketing skills, as well as an extensive section about tour packages.
Recommended reading: G Adventures New Family Tours Target the Gap in the Family Market
Every week, the Skift team invite travel tourism and marketing experts to share their insights on this popular podcast, which is available on iTunes and Google Play. Great for your morning commute, Skift is the perfect way to learn about emerging travel trends that will impact your marketing drives. You can also read loads of content specifically created for tour operators.
Recommended listening: Megatrends Defining Travel in 2019
Recommended reading: Tours and Experiences: The Next Great Untapped Market in Online Travel
12. Travel Pulse
The Travel Pulse podcast covers all things tourism. But you'll also find several guides on the Travel Pulse website for tour operators who want to engage with travelers, including the one below, which focuses on responsibility and sustainability.
Recommended reading: Why Being a Responsible Tour Operator Matters for Sustainable Tourism Development
13. Tourism eSchool
Selling and marketing tours can be tricky. Before you invest in marketing, check out these useful guides for tour operators who want to increase exposure and move travelers through their sales funnels.
Recommended reading: 6 Location Marketing Ideas for Tourism Brands
14. 65 Travel and Tourism Stats for 2019 (Trekk Blog)
Trekk Blog curates some of the most eye-opening stats and facts from the travel and tourism industry on this must-read list, which will help you determine the best way to market your business.
This podcast for tour operators will help you create awesome travel marketing campaigns from scratch, and you can binge-listen to previous episodes on their official website. Alternatively, subscribe to TourPreneur's daily email and receive news about tours and travel attractions in your inbox.
Recommended listening: How We Built a Successful Tour Bike Business
Keeping up-to-date with the latest blogs, podcasts, publications, and social media accounts will help grow your marketing business in 2019.
Do you have any resources you think we should add to this list? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!