Where to Advertise Your Tours (Part One)

March 2, 2021

Advertising is a HUGE topic. We will not attempt to cover everything here, but we hope this gives you a good starting point. This post is part one in a two-part series. We don't receive commissions for any product links in this post. Our recommendations are products we actually use at Tour Boogie.

In travel especially, word of mouth is very powerful. Travelers tend to hangout with other travelers and they love swapping stories of their favorite places, experiences, and guides. So before we discuss anything else, we always recommend that one of the most important things you can do is try to provide a great and memorable experience for your guests.

Now let’s get back to advertising. Digital advertising refers to any kind of marketing you do online. We recommend digital as part of any strategy, but especially for newer businesses who don’t have a footprint or physical location yet. Here are 3 common digital advertising channels to get you started:

Social Media

When advertising on social media, you have access to a lot of customer data, which means you can specifically target your audience and advertise pretty much only to the people you want - you can selectively show your ads to frequent travelers and/or people who are actively planning a trip in your area, or people who just arrived in your area. In theory, this targeting should save you money and make your campaigns more effective. But the downside is it can be expensive, and you may miss out on people who aren't very engaged when scrolling social media.


  • Pick your favorite social media platform
  • Make some eye-catching ads (we recommend Canva as an easy starting point)
  • Experiment with different ads, messaging, and audience selection
  • Watch your results and adjust your messaging or ads as necessary (if one ad is doing well but another isn't, try to use similar elements or wording from the successful ad)

Search Engine Marketing

Also known as Google Ads. The idea here is that while social media advertising shows your tours while people are scrolling through their feeds, search ads show your tours to people who are actively engaged and searching for something. Click-through-rates (the amount of people who actually click on your ad after seeing it) tend to be much higher for search.


  • Pick your favorite search engine (Google is the largest, but you can also advertise on Bing and several others)
  • Pick your keywords, aka the searches that will trigger your ads ("Wine tours in Chicago", "Boat tours Boston", etc.)
  • Write some ads that use the keywords and highlight why this person searching for tours should head to your website and hire you
  • Watch your results and adjust your messaging or ads as necessary (if one ad is doing well but another isn't, try to use similar elements or wording from the successful ad)

Paid Promotions and Partnerships

Chances are your future customers are following tour guides and travel blogs online. Many bloggers or “influencers” offer paid promotions or reviews of your tours. Some may sell ad space on their websites, while others may prefer to write an endorsement in their own voice. Done well, paid partnerships could be a great way to kickstart your online footprint.


  • Search for travel bloggers (find someone who specializes in your audience or location if possible)
  • Look for a "work with me" or similar page on their website (oftentimes, smaller blogs don’t have a formal promotion program, but you can reach out to them and start a conversation)
  • Experiment with different ads, messaging, and audience selection


  • Remember that travel bloggers and influencers don't work for free! Make sure to set aside a small budget for paid promotions before reaching out to anyone.
  • Smaller blogs and smaller influencers will generally charge less. You can always start with a small blog if you can't afford a big one yet.
  • We encourage negotiation and mutually beneficial partnerships wherever possible, espeically if you and your partner have overlapping audiences - maybe your influencer can send blog readers your way, and you can send your guests their way!


Growing your new tour business online isn't terribly difficult - it just takes a bit of time, research, and a very small budget to get started. Tune in next month for Part Two: in-person advertising!