Striking Gold on Black Friday: Success Stories from Operators
Black Friday, a day synonymous with bargains and long queues, is no longer exclusive to retail businesses and storefronts. Now, we don’t even have to leave the comfort of our homes to cash in on those amazing deals and sales.
Incredibly, this holiday weekend has also become a pivotal sales event for some tour and activity operators — and it could be for your business too!
Today, we are highlighting two businesses’ Black Friday promotions: ABC Tours Aruba and Yellowstone Wild. These two operators have shared their experiences of how they have had success on past Black Fridays as well as the holiday strategies they typically employ.
ABC Tours Aruba
ABC Tours Aruba specializes in off-roading tours on the picturesque Caribbean islands, and their Black Friday promotions have skyrocketed sales. Aiming to captivate both locals and tourists, this business routinely offers 10-15% discounts, but have amped up the sales to 20% for Black Friday.
ABC’s Sharmaine noted that the sale “was a game-changer for those who were still deciding, and turned those “maybes” into bookings!”
The company experienced a notable increase in bookings during their Black Friday promotion. Moreover, the surge in inquiries from prospective guests seeking more information was testament to its effectiveness — and will hopefully lead to more bookings down the road.
The success of the campaign was further validated by customer feedback, and as Sharmaine put it, “the feedback received was overwhelmingly positive, with guests expressing considerable satisfaction and appreciation for our tours. Thus, the results of the campaign distinctly indicated a successful realization of our objectives.”
Yellowstone Wild offers custom wildlife tours and hiking adventures in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone Wild’s busiest season, like that of many operators, is during the summer months, with most visitors booking during their vacation to the park.
The business recognized an opportunity to re-engage these guests during the off-season as many summer visitors expressed interest in experiencing the park during the winter months.
This idea has the potential to lead to a goldmine of off-season bookings. Yellowstone Wild harnessed the power of promotions to take advantage of this opportunity, with great success, particularly in their fall promotion.
The Power of Promotion
No matter when you’re planning to offer a discount, they don’t work in isolation – if no one hears about the sale, you won’t secure any bookings from it.
To ensure their campaign reached the widest audience, ABC Tours Aruba leveraged paid advertising through Google, Facebook, and Instagram Stories. Utilizing a variety of ad formats and creative content, they maximized reach and engagement, ensuring their Black Friday promotion was unmissable.
Yellowstone Wild, on the other hand, opted for the free resources at their disposal to share their promotion — they primarily focused on sharing the details of the sales campaign on their social media platforms, put banners up on their website, and re-engaged previous clientele through email.
Words of Wisdom
Tyrene, operations manager at Yellowstone Wild, offers valuable advice for operators still hesitant about running discounts or promotions.
“We’ve certainly been afraid to run promotions too. If they don’t work, you can take the hit. To make sure a promotion is going to really work, you have to understand your profit margins. I make my discounts by understanding at what point we would lose money. A lot of operators are pricing too low, so they don’t have the wiggle room to run any type of discount.
You have to understand the ins-and-outs of your operation costs — from insurance to, in our case, the fees we pay to operate in the national park. When you have a solid understanding of profit margins, you can understand what a reasonable discount for your business would be, so the profit margin would be shrinking, but you are still profiting by selling more tickets.”
Sharmaine of ABC Tours Aruba had different, but highly valuable words of advice to fellow operators:
“My advice to other operators considering running a promotion would be to always stay one step ahead of competitors and remain informed about current trends. It’s essential to understand the market dynamics and customer preferences to craft promotions that are attractive and resonate well with the target audience.”
By understanding their audiences, utilizing analytics, and calculating discounts carefully, operators like ABC Tours Aruba and Yellowstone Wild serve as wonderful examples that offering discounts can lead to more bookings and profits.
Inspired but don’t know where to start? Check out our Compass guide on discount ideas to drive bookings and learn how FareHarbor client, Triton Charters generated $250k in bookings for Black Friday.