Tour Operators and Traffic Building

As a tour operator, the most important thing is to sell, of course. Nowadays, this is mostly done online. But to sell tours online, your customers have to be able to find your website. This can be done via diverse channels, like Google or other search engines. A good findable website starts with good content. Only websites with enough content of good quality will attract good visitors and, most importantly, bind them (Tjeenk Willink, 2005).

There are a lot of tools to build traffic to your website and they are constantly developing. We are going to discuss the next online tools: search engines, opportunities in social networks and banners and links.

Search Engines

According to Peelen and Beltman (2013), search engines are a really effective way to increase traffic to your website. They search the web in response to the user’s search. Therefore, your website will be showed at the right time and place. But the only items which get clicked frequently are the top spots and they are really pricy. There are two ways to appear in the best spots of the search. The first is “organic search” which is free and is based on the relevancy of the content of your website. To increase your position within the search results without paying you have to think about three basic components: text build-up, indexation and popularity. The second way to get the top spots is “search engine advertising” which you have to pay for, but these adds will be above the normal search results. Many tour operators use this kind of advertising on different key words. Kras is one of them, with a paid result for “weekend away”, “holiday to Spain” and “round trip to Indonesia” (Google, 2016).

Search Engine Kras ad
Figure 1. Search Engine Advertising by Kras (Google, 2016)

Opportunities within Social Networks

Peelen and Beltman (2013), stated that there is an increase of the importance of social networks in building website traffic. There are even predictions that the social networks will become bigger than the search engine traffic. Because people are spending more time on social networks, such as Facebook, it becomes easier to reach your customers from there. A tour operator which is using Facebook a lot is TUI. TUI posts a lot on this social network, from win contests to news messages. They do not promote their tours directly via Facebook, but only offer inspiration about the countries they sell (TUI, 2016).

Banners & Links

Online advertising is a classic way of attracting attention, according to Peelen and Beltman (2013). The banners are the online version of billboards and mostly support brand awareness and recognition of the company. The company can increase conversion by designing banners with animations, teasing, bright colours and call to actions. But most of the time, text-based content is better than banners. This because a lot of people avoid banners and read around them. Meanwhile, sponsored links are seen and, if interested, clicked on.

Banner by Kras
Figure 2. Banner by Kras (NU, 2016)


Google. (2016). Zoekresultaten: rondreis Indonesië. Retrieved October 9, 2016, from Google:

Google. (2016). Zoekresultaten: vakantie Spanje. Retrieved October 9, 2016, from Google:….0…1c.1.64.serp..0.15.620…0i67k1j0i131k1.qRu6-KXVwtw

Google. (2016). Zoekresultaten: weekendje weg. Retrieved October 9, 2016, from Google:

NU. (2016). Het laatste nieuws het eerst op Opgeroepen op October 9, 2016, van NU:

Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Traffic building. In E. Peelen, & R. Beltman, Customer Relationship Management (pp. 311-313). Harlow: Peason Education Limited.

Tjeenk Willink, W. (2005, March 12). Hoe kunt u meer bezoekers naar uw website genereren. Retrieved October 9, 2016, from Traffic Builders:

TUI. (2016). Facebook – TUI. Retrieved October 9, 2016, from Facebook:


Cross selling and upselling within the tour operating industry

Cross selling is trying to sell the customer an extra product, related to the product they already bought. This strategy is very well known within the airline industry, but is it also used within the tour operating industry? And how are they using it? In terms of a tour operator, cross selling could be selling an extra service like a travel insurance, or an extension of the product with an extra destination within the tour.

Cross selling is very important during the growth phase of the relationship between the customer and the provider, to guarantee the development of the relationship. Different forms of cross selling can be defined below two headings; cross-selling over time and within the product range. Cross selling over time occurs when a customer buys two of more of the same product at one time, when a customer buys two of more of different products at one time, or when a customer buys a second or third product at a later time. Cross selling within the product range occurs when a customer within the same product category, or when a customer expands the products by buying a product from another category (Peelen & Beltman, 2013).

An example of cross selling within the tour operating industry is selling a cancel and travel insurance with a trip. TUI offers this kind of cross selling during the booking process with the choice of one or both of the insurances, the duration of the insurance, and the possibility the upgrade the insurance to all risk or comfort. Another example of cross selling by TUI is giving the option to not only book carry-on luggage, but also check-in luggage (TUI Nederland, 2016; TUI Nederland, 2016).

Upselling is also used within by tour operators. Upselling is trying to sell the customer an upgraded/more expensive product. Kras is upselling by trying to sell additional nights with their organised trips. For example with a trip to Andalusia, Spain, they give the option to expand the trip with three additional nights in La Cala de Mijas (Kras, 2016). TUI tries to upsell too, by offering an upgrade to a comfort class chair on their flight (Management Goeroes, 2014; TUI Nederland, 2016).

But how is cross selling connected with data usage? Companies use data they obtained to look what kind of products the customer already bought and what others bought. Websites also check what items the customer looked at earlier and give recommendations for cross sell products while their still shopping (Semmelroth, 2016).


Kras. (2016). Rondreis Spanje, Krakateristiek Andalusië. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from Kras:

Management Goeroes. (2014, January 4). Upselling. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from Management Goeroes:

Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). 9.2 Cross-selling. In E. Peelen, & R. Beltman, Customer Relationship Management (pp. 167-173). Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Semmelroth, D. (2016). How to use data driven marketing to cross-sell to your customers. Retrieved October 2, 2016, from Dummies:

TUI Nederland. (2016). Reizigers & Bagage. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from TUI:

TUI Nederland. (2016). Verzekeringen. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from TUI:

TUI Nederland. (2016). Vluchtkeuze. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from TUI:


Mass Customisation: Create your own journey with modules

Everyone dreams of their perfect trip. Everything you ever wanted to do, combined in one journey to the most beautiful destination. But if you do not have the time to plan the whole trip, you are required to go on an organised trip. All of the must sees of the destination are included in that trip, but you are not interested to see all of them. You would like to combine the things you are interested in, in that one trip you were dreaming of for so long. This is possible with mass customisation.

According to Gilmore and Pine, with mass customisation the customer provides unique information to the tour operator, so they can make the product tailor made to their specific needs. The product is not completely individualised, but is not kept in stock as well (Peelen & Beltman, 2013). They divide mass customisation into four approaches: cosmetic customisation, transparent customisation, collaborative customisation and adaptive customisation.

An example of collaborative customisation within the tour operating industry are the ‘building blocks’ of Riksja Travel. They have 40 pages of different countries, with their so called ‘building  blocks’. A building block is a package of a few nights in a small hotel, including excursion and transfers. Their clients can choose the building blocks they like and pass this on to the company. Riksja Travel contact their client to ask about their ideal journey and afterwards they provide a travel proposal. They have specialists for every country and it is always one of these specialists that will contact the client for their own build trip. The company also offers their clients the best transport for their trip, even if they have already booked a flight. If everything is okay, the trip can be booked (Riskja Travel, 2016).

Looking at the Indonesia page, they have building blocks for the different islands of the country. Hereby a few examples of the blocks of Java:

  • ‘Volcanos, temples and beaches’: This is a 5-day trip from Bandung via Cipanas to Pangandaran. During this trip, the travellers will be rewarded with rice fields, active volcanos and beautiful beaches.
  • ‘Biking to Borobudur’: This is a 3-day trip in Yogyakarta. Instead of taking a car, the travellers will bike from Yogyakarta to the Borobudur temple.
  • ‘Expedition Bromo’: This is a 4-day trip from Prambanan through the Eastern part of Java to the Bromo volcano. During this trip, travellers will visit the Prambanan temple and will climb the volcano with a 4 -wheel drive.

(Indonesië Online, 2016)


Indonesië Online. (2016). Bouw je eigen Java reis. Retrieved September 23, 2016, from Indonesië Online:

Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). 11.4 Individualisation of the product offering. In E. Peelen, & R. Beltman, Customer Relationship Management (pp. 216-219). Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Riskja Travel. (2016). Hoe wij werken. Retrieved September 23, 2016, from Riskja Travel:

Connecting people through co-creation in the tour operating industry

According to Lier, Heijblom & Waijers (2009), Co-creation is an important trend, which is very valuable for the consumer. It is a strategy whereby the target group is the most important and has influence on the creation and implementation of new services, websites or products of a company. Peelen en Beltman (2013) state that the word ‘co-creation’ refers to one or more persons that contribute their creativity in the process. They contribute through an innovative network or platform to the development of a product.

A company that is occupied with co-creation is is a blind break travel organisation which reveals the destination on the airport. They offer trips in different kind of themes like: Adventure, Broke, City Tripping, Multi City, Sunsation and Road Tripping. Because the company is celebrating its second anniversary, they also introduced the theme: Theme of the Month, which can only be booked at a certain month. After the booking, the traveller gets a personal page with a countdown timer. A week before the trip, the client can discover the weather at the destination and he will receive a card with the code for the reveal of the destination (, 2016).

One example of the co-creation of is their Theme of the Month from August. The company thought about getting their travellers involved by letting them think about different themes and made a contest out of it. Everyone could send in a video with their idea for the theme and the employees selected the four best ideas. These ideas were: Fly ‘n Drive, Opposites Attract, Adventure by Boat and Unusual Accommodations. This last one has won the contest after people could vote for their best theme idea (, 2016).

An older example of co-creation in the tour operating industry is from the company Sawadee Reizen. Sawadee Reizen is a 30-year old tour operator which organises adventurous trips. They offer different kind of tours to all of the seven continents like: Tours, Family Trips, Single Trips and BicycleTrips (Sawadee Reizen, 2016).

They experimented with co-creation on their new trips to East-Africa. Frank Jansses, an experienced Africa specialist, created the first draft for four trips. Customers could vote for their favourite on the website. Hans Lagerwij, director of Sawadee Reizen, said that this was their first attempt with co-creation. With this attempt they wanted to meet the needs of the customer to get more involved with the development of a new product. He thinks that it is important to experiment with new initiatives for these kind of trends (Janssens, 2010).


Janssens, F. (2010, July 27). Persbericht Co-creatie Afrikareizen. Retrieved September 17, 2016, from Tourism Marketing Concepts:

Lier, H., Heijblom, R., & Waijers, A. (2009). 4.5 Challenge-marketing: co-creatie. In H. Lier, R. Heijblom, & A. Waijers, Van Experience naar Challenge Economy (pp. 84-92). Groningen/Houten: Noordhoff Uitgevers.

Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). 1. Customisation. In E. Peelen, & R. Beltman, Customer Relationship Management (p. 2016). Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Sawadee Reizen. (2016). Onze reizen. Retrieved September 17, 2016, from Sawadee: (2016, July 26). Facebook – Retrieved September 17, 2016, from Facebook: (2016). Op reis met je bestemming als verrassing. Retrieved September 13, 2016, from