How to create a marketing plan for aerial experiences 

Carla Vianna
Carla Vianna
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How to create a marketing plan for aerial experiences 

From scenic flights over New York City to exhilarating ziplines courses over tree canopies, aerial experiences are among the most popular activities among today’s travelers.

Travelers have a vast variety of adventures to choose from — meaning operators in this field must do the extra legwork to stand out from their competitors.

Aerial tour businesses heavily rely on visually appealing and creative content to market themselves. Yet we both know it takes more than a captivating photo or video to attract and retain your clients.

In this post, you will learn the ins and outs of tour marketing for aerial experiences, giving you the blueprint needed to create an effective marketing strategy.

Define your marketing goals

Aerial tour businesses should specifically think about their Unique Selling Proposition (USP) when considering their marketing goals. Your USP is paramount for standing out in a competitive market because it defines what sets your aerial tours apart from others.

Whether you’re operating helicopter tours, hot air balloon rides, or other aerial adventures, a clear and compelling USP not only attracts customers but also builds brand loyalty among your fans.

This can help guide your marketing strategies, helping you emphasize the aspects of your aerial experiences that resonate most with your target audience.

As with every marketing plan, you’ll need to spend a considerable amount of time thinking about your company’s objectives. Defining clear and measurable goals will allow you to identify the best way to market your company to the right audience.

If you’re unsure whether your goals are “clear and measurable,” here’s a framework that might help. In marketing, we like to set SMART goals — or goals that are:

  • Specific: Does your goal refer to a concrete and specific area of your business? (e.g. conversion rates)
  • Measurable: Can you measure your goal using quantitative or qualitative data?
  • Attainable: Can you (or your employees) achieve this goal?
  • Relevant: Does the goal apply to your helicopter tour’s specific problem?
  • Time-related: What is your deadline for achieving your goal?

SMART goals will guide your marketing campaigns and set a benchmark for evaluating their performance.

OKRs vs KPIs

In marketing, there are two commonly used frameworks for goal-setting are OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

OKRs focus on achieving specific, measurable outcomes tied to broader objectives. For example, a hot air balloon company might set an objective to increase annual revenue by 20%.

The key results would then include metrics like total bookings, average ticket price, and customer satisfaction scores. These three factors will influence the final outcome.

On one hand, OKRs encourage aspirational goal-setting, align teams towards a common purpose, and provide clarity on what success looks like. However, they may be challenging to implement effectively if everyone in your organization isn’t on the same page.

Setting overly ambitious goals can also lead to an overall feeling of demotivation among your staff, especially if they have a hard time achieving them.

KPIs, on the other hand, are specific metrics used to track and measure the performance of various aspects of a business. There are KPIs to measure online bookings, marketing campaigns, and customer satisfaction.

KPIs provide a clear snapshot of performance, enabling businesses to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions. A helicopter tour company would, for instance, measure its Net Promoter Score (NPS) to gauge customer loyalty.

However, focusing solely on KPIs without a broader strategic framework can lead to tunnel vision. In other words, your company may end up neglecting long-term objectives in favor of short-term gains.

Know your customers

Understanding your target audience is fundamental to creating an effective marketing plan. Conducting thorough customer research helps fine-tune your marketing strategies to align with the unique preferences, interests, and needs of your customers.

For example, if you learn that your customers prioritize sustainability on their trips, you can start incorporating eco-friendly practices and then heavily promote those in your marketing materials.

Or imagine a customer who has shown a particular interest in aerial photography. You can then offer a personalized tour package highlighting the best photo opportunities during the experience — a personalized offer that would not only enhance their overall tour but also win them over as loyal customers.

Knowing your passengers’ preferred communication channels also helps you better communicate with them online. If your guests actively use Instagram, for example, you can invest in social campaigns that effectively capture their attention.

By concentrating efforts on channels and strategies that yield the highest return on investment, you can optimize your marketing spend and allocate resources efficiently.

The 4 phases of a successful marketing plan for an aerial experience

Crafting a successful marketing plan involves navigating through four key phases:

  1. Attract
  2. Convert
  3. Retain
  4. Analyze

Let’s highlight strategies tailored to the aerial tour industry below.

1. Attract

The first phase of the marketing funnel is known as the Top of Funnel, or TOFU. Here the goal is to attract potential customers and generate awareness about your aerial tour offerings.

Here are some strategies for attracting customers to your tour company:

  • Optimize your website for SEO: Optimize your website with relevant keywords such as “aerial experiences” and location-specific terms to improve visibility on search engines. Pair that with captivating visuals and compelling content to showcase your tours and capture visitors’ attention.
  • Content marketing: Create engaging blog posts, videos, and social media content that highlight the unique experiences offered by your aerial tours. Share captivating stories, stunning aerial footage, and customer testimonials to capture the interest of potential travelers.
  • Partnerships and affiliations: Collaborate with local tourism boards, hotels, and travel agencies to promote your aerial tours to their clientele. Offer exclusive deals and packages to incentivize partnerships and expand your reach.

2. Convert

In the middle of the funnel or MOFU, the focus shifts towards converting interested prospects into paying customers. Implementing effective conversion strategies is crucial for maximizing bookings and revenue:

  • Invest in the right online booking system: Streamline the booking process with an intuitive online booking system that allows passengers to easily browse available tour options, select their preferred dates and times, and complete secure transactions. Black Hills Aerial Adventures, for example, increased its revenue per flight by 40% when the operator switched over to Xola, allowing it to maximize capacity on each flight and offer private rides for a premium.
  • Dynamic pricing: Implement dynamic pricing strategies based on factors such as demand, time of booking, and tour availability. Offer discounts for early bookings or package deals for groups to encourage conversion.
  • Automated marketing tools: Offer customers personalized Lightning Deals when they arrive on your site, incentivizing them to book on your slow days or in less favorable time slots.

3. Retain and Delight

Once customers have experienced your aerial experiences, you want to convince them to come back for more. Their loyalty will not only contribute to revenue but can also help with word-of-mouth marketing. Your fans will become natural brand ambassadors for your business, recommending your tours to friends and family.

Here are a few ways you can retain and delight customers:

  • Personalized communication: Maintain regular communication with past customers through personalized newsletters, exclusive discounts, upcoming tour updates, and special promotions tailored to their interests and preferences. Before HeliNY began using Xola, the operator had to call each passenger individually if a flight was canceled due to bad weather. After, the operator took advantage of Xola’s SMS features to quickly notify customers about any delays or cancellations via text.
  • Post-flight surveys: Gather feedback from customers after their flights to assess satisfaction levels and identify areas for improvement. Use this feedback to refine your experience.
  • Loyalty programs: Implement a loyalty program that rewards repeat customers with perks such as discounted rates, priority booking, or complimentary upgrades. Encourage customers to join the program and incentivize repeat bookings.

4. Analyze

The final phase of the marketing plan involves analyzing performance metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing efforts and identify areas for optimization. Aerial tour companies can leverage data analytics tools to gain valuable insights into customer behavior, conversion rates, and marketing ROI.

  • Conversion tracking: Use analytics tools to track website visitors’ behavior, including the number of bookings, conversion rates, and revenue generated from different marketing channels. Identify high-performing channels and allocate resources accordingly.
  • Customer feedback analysis: Analyze customer feedback and satisfaction scores to identify trends, common pain points, and areas for improvement. Use this information to refine tour offerings, enhance customer service, and address any issues proactively.
  • ROI calculation: Calculate the return on investment (ROI) for each marketing campaign or channel by comparing the cost of acquisition to the revenue generated. This allows aerial tour companies to allocate marketing budgets effectively and focus on strategies that deliver the highest ROI.

***

Developing a strategic marketing plan is essential for aerial tour companies to thrive in today’s competitive tourism industry. By defining clear goals and understanding your target audience, aerial tour companies can implement a comprehensive marketing strategy tailored to the unique needs of your business. 

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Writer Carla Vianna

Carla Vianna

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