Australian Senior Coach Tour Specialists Down Under Coach Tours keeps it hip, fun, and up-to-date for their customers with Social Media
Edited by France Pinzon
Down Under Coach Tours has been taking their customers on luxury guided tours all over Australia since the 1970s. Janelle Taylor, Marketing Manager of Down Under Coach Tours for the last 8 years, is proud of the growing numbers of loyal customers they have, who see the value in their services even after many years and many bus tours. “We have many regulars. We have one lady that’s done 19 tours with us. We keep in touch with a lot of the people that come along with us,” Janelle shares.
However in recent years there have been new challenges for the touring industry. Ocean Cruise packages in particular have become very popular with their target market which is in the over 50s age group. Janelle has also noticed a change in the effectiveness of traditional advertising, “Newspaper advertising, television advertising, radio advertising – we’ve done it all in the past.
It’s very expensive to advertise in newspapers and magazines and for the return, it wasn’t really paying for itself.”
Starting on Social Media
Given that their target audience is in the over 50 years age bracket, this was an initial concern for Janelle and the team as Facebook is generally seen as being for the younger generation. “We thought most people would be younger people [on Social Media] but when we went to a Social Media training session we discovered that a lot of parents are on there to check up on their kids. Then, we realized that maybe we had been wrong in that aspect and there might have been more room for Facebook as an advertising avenue for us,” Janelle says. [Editors note: There are 3,000,000 active Facebook users 50 years or older in Australia).
We’ve only been doing it now for three months and we’re getting wonderful results. We have had one person that booked straight on to a tour and has already completed the tour.
It is much better than any other form of advertising that we’ve done, in creating interest and enquiries for our tours.
You know [there are] people in our town that didn’t even realize we’re here even though we’ve been advertising in many newspapers in our town for years. Now they are starting to enquire.
Surprising Results from Social Media
Before they started working with a Social Media agency Janelle recalls, “I think we’d got up to about 92 Likes. We had the odd person that would comment but then once we started working together and they started to do Facebook advertising and other things, then we started to see some action.”
“And it was a real surprise because I really didn’t expect it to happen. I wasn’t really expecting anything.”
“But we’ve only been doing it now for three months and we’re getting wonderful results. We have had one person that booked straight on to a tour and has already completed the tour. It is much better than any other form of advertising that we’ve done, in creating interest and enquiries for our tours.”
“You know [there are] people in our town that didn’t even realize we’re here even though we’ve been advertising in many newspapers in our town for years. Now they are starting to enquire.”
Why Social Media?
- Generating Interest from your Target Audience
Janelle believes there’s nothing quite like Social Media: “The fact that it’s really interactive and people are getting to know and asking about us, we’ve had a lot of people asking for brochures and a lot of people wanting information,” Janelle explains. “It is much better than any other form of advertising that we’ve done, to create interest and enquiries about our tours.”
- Faster Connection
For both Down Under Coach Tours and their customers it allows faster communication. “For us we’re always up-to-date with what’s happening. And for our customers they can put something on there and they could get an answer back straight away. They don’t have to wait a week for a letter to come. They can go online if they don’t want to wait for a brochure of our tours.”
- Accurate Measurement
The arrival of Social Media has highlighted some of the limitations and frustrations with traditional advertising. “I think that the biggest frustration is in knowing what method of marketing is going to work the best. In the past, that’s how it’s been – because you can spend a lot of money on advertising and you can get no results from it or how to measure the results is quite difficult at times,” shares Janelle.
When You DO Get Your Business On Facebook…
- Don’t be intimidated. Seek help!
According to Janelle, getting Down Under Coach Tours on Facebook was a decision they didn’t make without reservations. But with the assistance of a Social Media Agency, Down Under Coach Tours finally got onboard. “I would say get on to someone to learn how to do things – just because you might be capable of posting things onto your personal Facebook page – what you are doing for your business page may not necessarily be correct. You need guidance on what to put on your page that will help to drive those customers to you. I think professional assistance is really beneficial.”
- Review your Insights Regularly
Down Under Coach Tours have found the value of Facebook Insights and reports, which are available to any user managing a page. “I can go on the page and I can see what time and what days of the week gives you a good response from your fans. That identifies for me what days of the week I want to put my most important post up,” Janelle says. “The stuff I really want our fans to pay attention to, I put on those days where there’s more people that are on the page. The page insights are a really good guide.”
- Don’t be scared of online complaints
Janelle shares her thoughts about negative feedback or complaints. “If a complaint came in, in which it hasn’t yet for us, I would respond with something like, ‘Could you get in contact with us? We’d really like to work with that’. People like to see you are responding to feedback.”
Her advice for people considering doing more on Social Media?
“Give it a go. Just give it a go.”
The Future of Social Media
Is doing business via Social Media going anywhere? Janelle is excited about the future: “I think really that anybody can see that the internet is going to be the way of advertising in the future. Everything is going to be more internet-based because we’ve become so used to it. Even me, at my age, I’m in my 50s and I am using the internet more for everything. I do my banking, I do everything on the internet. If I search for a phone number – I go to the internet. I don’t use the phone book,” she explains. “And that’s why I think that Facebook is going to be more and more important because there’s more and more people getting on the internet.”
“I wish [someone] could have told me a little bit more about how Social Media works. If I had known I probably would have tried it a bit earlier. I think we didn’t realize how Social Media can drive traffic to our website and more things like that. Social Media always seemed to be made to be more of the thing that works for personal use. I never really understood that it could be a valuable tool for business. It can actually be more important than your webpage because this is generating the traffic for your webpage,“ Janelle says.
Specialising in Australian Coach Tours for Seniors, call Down Under Coach Tours on 1800 072 535 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for bookings or more information
Join other subscribers getting free access to each edition of Success Stories Magazine as well as 1 new case study per week to your inbox.