Take the “Stressed” Out of Distressed Inventory
Today’s Lesson: No activity provider likes half-empty tours. When trying to fill last-minute spots, broadcast deals on social media.
For tour operators working in high-volume businesses, efficiency is crucial, yet sometimes elusive.
Here’s the problem: Imagine a zip line company with 20,000 customers a year. It can take up to 12 people per tour and has to pay two guides no matter the size of the group. In an ideal world, the company would run many tours per day with the same number of people in each group. This would maximize the revenue generated by each tour and divide the costs, like guides, more efficiently.
But in reality, the group at noon may have ten people while the group at 3pm only has four. These imbalances eat away at operating efficiencies.
So, what do high-volume businesses do to make their tour sizes more streamlined? Some zip line companies have started turning to social media to broadcast last-minute availabilities. Some post limited-time discounts, others just advertise open slots.
Tour operators know it’s not a perfect solution, but they agree that social media is the easiest option for filling last-minute spots. Maybe it’s time for a new adage: “When in doubt, post!”
4 Ways Social Media Can Help
Here’s why posting your tour availability on social media is a good idea:
- The ubiquity of social media: There are 134 million Americans on Facebook. On average, they spend more time checking our Facebook feeds than they do taking care of our pets. That’s an average of 40 minutes a day.
- #Bored: While social networks can connect people, studies have found that oftentimes we check these sites when we’re looking for entertainment. In other words, we’re bored. What better time is there to entice someone with a deal on a tour or activity?
- There’s no time like the present: As humans, we’re wired react when something becomes scarce. Say you need two more people to book spots for the tour to cover its costs. Apply scarcity and urgency to create a post like, “Only two spots left on our 3pm zip line tour, get yours now!” Our brains can’t help but light up when we read that. With a post like this, you can get someone that’s been thinking about buying a tour to finally pull the trigger.
- Location, location, location: If your customers mainly live within a 20-mile radius, that means they can see your deal on social media, book your tour, and get to your door in an hour. This makes it easier for your followers to react spontaneously to last-minute deals.
Zip Lines Using Facebook
So, how are zip line businesses are already experimenting with this strategy?
For her, posting deals to social media is a win-win strategy. Jennifer says that oftentimes, groups between two and four people will show up. That means that by reaching one person with a post, Adventureworks will usually get 2x to 4x as many customers out of it.
Even if no one buys a tour that day, however, posting deals is still a good way to engage followers. “Especially when we post really great deals we’ll get a lot of people that “Like” the post or comment,” Jennifer notes.
For ZipZone Co-owner Lori Pingle, the biggest advantage of last-minute posts is that it reassures potential customers.
Over busy weekends, it’s easy for customers to assume that there are no more reservations available. That’s when she turns to Facebook for a quick blast like the one pictured here.
Pro tip: If you can support coupon codes, don’t be shy about including them in these type of Facebook posts. They’re important for measuring the effectiveness of these last-minute announcements!
There’s no silver bullet when it comes to running an efficient, high-volume business. But social media can help.
Next time you need a handful of customers at the last-minute, don’t be shy about reaching out to your followers. You’ll benefit from getting your brand out there, and tour operators say that these tactics can generate business about half of the time!
The more you balance the size of your tours, the better you can allocate resources, like guides. In the end, this will lower your costs, creating more profitable tours that send customers home with a smile.