How to create a marketing plan for a helicopter tour company

Carla Vianna
Carla Vianna
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How to create a marketing plan for a helicopter tour company

Helicopter tour companies operate in a unique niche within the tourism industry, offering breathtaking aerial experiences that captivate travelers worldwide.

However, amid the competitive landscape of adventure tourism, helicopter tour operators need a bulletproof marketing plan to stand out from their neighbors.

In this post, you will learn the ins and outs of tour marketing for helicopter tours — ensuring that you not only attract the right customers but also retain them for years to come.

Define your marketing goals

Before creating a marketing plan, it’s crucial to define clear and measurable goals. The SMART goals is a wonderful framework for helicopter businesses that have yet to define their objectives:

  • 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?

Your company’s goals will serve as guiding beacons, steering you toward success and providing a benchmark for evaluating performance.

In the realm of marketing, two commonly used frameworks for goal-setting are OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) — let’s explore both below.

OKRs vs KPIs

OKRs (Objectives and Key Results): Focus on achieving specific, measurable outcomes tied to broader objectives. They are often more aspirational and set a clear direction for the team. For example, a helicopter tour company might set an objective to increase annual revenue by 20% — with key results including metrics such as total bookings, average ticket price, and customer satisfaction scores.

  • Pros: OKRs encourage aspirational goal-setting, align teams towards a common purpose, and provide clarity on what success looks like.
  • Cons: They may be challenging to implement effectively without proper alignment and communication across the organization. Setting overly ambitious goals can also lead to an overall feeling of demotivation among your staff if they’re not achieved. It is therefore suggested to focus on clear and concise goals.

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators): KPIs are specific metrics used to track and measure the performance of various aspects of a business, such as sales, marketing, and customer satisfaction. A helicopter tour company would measure its net promoter score (NPS) to gauge customer loyalty, for instance.

Other relevant metrics include conversion rate, customer acquisition cost, and customer satisfaction scores.

  • Pros: KPIs provide a clear snapshot of performance, enabling businesses to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions.
  • Cons: Focusing solely on KPIs without a broader strategic framework may lead to tunnel vision, 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 enables helicopter tour companies to finely tune their marketing strategies to align with the unique preferences, interests, and needs of their passengers.

For instance, if analysis reveals that many of your customers value eco-friendly practices, the operator would incorporate and heavily promote their commitment to sustainable aviation.

One of the pivotal benefits of knowing your customers is the ability to offer personalized experiences. By recognizing individual preferences, helicopter tour operators can craft tailored packages or exclusive deals that resonate with their target customers.

Imagine a customer who has shown a particular interest in aerial photography; a personalized tour package highlighting the best photo opportunities during the tour could not only enhance their experience but also encourage repeat business.

You’re also able to tailor your customer communication. Knowing your passengers’ preferred communication channels gives you an idea of where to focus your marketing efforts. If data reveals that your guests actively use social media, you can invest in social campaigns to effectively capture their attention.

This customer-centric approach allows helicopter tour operators to efficiently allocate resources. By concentrating efforts on channels and strategies that yield the highest return on investment, operators can optimize their marketing spend.

Knowing your customers not only refines your marketing strategy but also guides you in providing personalized experiences, fostering loyalty, and allocating resources efficiently.

The 4 phases of a successful marketing plan for a helicopter tour company

Crafting a successful marketing plan involves navigating through four key phases: Attract, Convert, Retain, and Analyze. Let’s explore each phase in detail, highlighting strategies tailored to the helicopter tour industry.

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 helicopter tour offerings.

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

  • Optimize your website for SEO: Optimize your website with relevant keywords such as “helicopter tours” 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 helicopter 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 helicopter 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 helicopter tours, 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’s how helicopter tour companies 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. Helicopter 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 helicopter tour companies to allocate marketing budgets effectively and focus on strategies that deliver the highest ROI.


Developing a strategic marketing plan is essential for helicopter tour companies to thrive in the competitive tourism industry. By defining clear goals, understanding their target audience, and implementing a comprehensive marketing strategy tailored to the unique needs of their business, helicopter tour companies can attract, convert, and retain their passengers.


Writer Carla Vianna

Carla Vianna

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