No – no, I’m not.
We all know that waivers are the best way to protect your company from liability. But unless you’re sending people off on a sailboat on Lake Michigan, or leading them through snow covered trails on a Ski-Doo in the Rockies, you may not have considered implementing an advanced waiver system.
If you choose the right waiver system, there’s hidden ROI that can more than help pay for the cost: Email collection. Every email you can collect, especially if it’s a warm lead, is like a little seed, a certain percentage of which will grow into something bigger. Emails = revenue.
This strategy is especially true if you get a lot of OTA bookings.
TripAdvisor/Viator, etc, are notorious for hiding the email address of the booker, and often white labeling your entire company in the process. We’re pretty opposed to this – we despise it in fact. Take back those direct bookings, and take back your brand by capturing the email address through a waiver system.
Let’s look at three consecutive steps to implementing an email marketing strategy with an advanced waiver system, regardless of what type of tour company you are.
Step 1 – Using Waivers for Basic Email Capture
First, you’ll need to sign up with a waiver system. We recommend Wherewolf or SmartWaiver, especially if you’re using FareHarbor. You will for sure want to tightly integrate your waiver and booking systems, which means a custom waiver link tied to the booking, but more on this later.
I know that these waiver companies allow you to send emails directly from their system. While you can do this, I recommend taking a different approach. You’re going to want to send emails based on waiver AND bookings, and it’s best to have a consistent approach to everything. This means using a tried-and-true email marketing tool like Drip or MailChimp.
Find a way to integrate your waiver system with the eMail marketing tool of choice. At this stage, focus on getting simple info like the email address, name and name of the tour they are on, and opt-in status.
Step 2 – Automation
You can certainly use the emails captured from your waiver system to send newsletters, or otherwise manual communications based on the tour they took. But to really be at the top of the game you need to automate. Set and forget is where it’s at. Automate based on the waiver signed, and tour taken.
This is also where the integration between your waiver and bookings systems come in. If you can, use as much info as possible from the booking to automate campaigns for the attendees, as well as the booker. In a sense, you should be able to treat them pretty much the same in your marketing strategy, because they’re all adults and all on your tour.
And if you get a lot of those OTA bookings, you might even be able to treat that customer just like you’d treat a direct book – email address and all.
Step 3- Advanced Segmentation
Lastly, take advantage of your waiver system to ask and record segmentation questions. The huge one we’re all proponents of, if it makes sense for you, is “What’s your relationship with <Your City or Area>”. And the multiple choice answers are, “I’m a Local”, “I’m not a Local but visit frequently”, or “I rarely visit”.
You can then use this info to better target and personalize your marketing message. For instance, it makes sense to send a local a cross-sell three or six months after they visit. Only if they haven’t purchased yet or attended yet, of course. But if you’re a destination, and someone isn’t coming back anytime soon, it may make sense to delete and not pay for that email address.
So What Next?
Are you ready to start capturing all of those missing email addresses from attendees your tour, and taking back your brand? Get started on the steps above. But I want to let you know that if you’re a FareHarbor customer, we can help with all of these steps in a very big way.
At TourAdvantage we’ll integrate your FareHarbor customers to include all relevant booking info. If you sign up for Wherewolf or SmartWaiver, we’ll integrate all of that as well at no additional cost. AND we’ll help you market to those attendees just like you do with the booker. We can even do this with your OTA bookings.
Not only that, but we provide you with all of the on-line video lessons to help you make it happen.