Sell Virtual Tours, Classes, and Events

Last Updated May 13, 2020

The new normal brought on by the COVID pandemic is forcing tour operators to creatively engage their communities and connect with guests. Ideally, those efforts also generate revenue.  After all, guests and followers are looking for ways to support local businesses and stay entertained while social distancing.  Virtual birthday parties, showers, and bachelorette parties are emerging as new ways to spend a Saturday night.

Hosting a virtual tour, cooking class, or other experience may be the answer for you and your followers. So, get ready to share your expertise on an app like Zoom, YouTube, GoToWebinar, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, or Skype (to name a few).

Once you’ve got a great idea ready to digitally distribute, you can use EzTix & EzBook to start monetizing your experience.

Building Virtual Experiences

Creating An Event in EzTix

One Time Virtual Access control is the key difference between live and virtual events. Instead of presenting a ticket in person, your guests will require digital access to your content at the right time and date, but from the comfort of their homes.

At EzTix, this functionality is already built-in. Let’s start with creating an event itself.

  1. Navigate to your Events tab in EzTix click Add New Event. Add your virtual location as the venue field  so your guests know to meet virtually!
  2. Post an event image that best embodies the sentiment of the experience.
  3. Write a description for your event so your guests know what to expect.
  4. Create a custom ticket type – When adding a new ticket type, select “other” from the dropdown menu.  Consider a fun label like, “Virtual Foodie” to give buyers the confidence they’re not booking a traditional ticket. Or consider limiting tickets to “per location” or “per connection”.

Make Your Event into a Series

Great expertise powers the most successful in-person tours, so it makes perfect sense to bring that expertise online repeatedly. Let’s say, for example, you’re a pro at laté art and want to teach a class every Wednesday. This is where a template comes in.

  1. Convert an event to a template from the events list to make it live.
  2. Navigate to Templates > Manage Tour Dates to add multiple dates.
  3. Add as many virtual events to the calendar as needed. They’ll all match the details of your newly created template.
  4. When selling a virtual experience, your guests don’t need a traditional e-ticket. Instead, your guests will only want the receipt of purchase, with the custom email content. In EzTix, we call this a retail ticket type.To do this, Go to Ticket Types and select “Retail” as the ticketing type.

 Add Your Event Link

Hosting a virtual experience over a conferencing app requires you to create the event in the app first, then share any link, meeting ID and password (if applicable) with your guests. You will need to have your own account with the conferencing app you like the most.

  1. Copy the meeting ID, password or access URL in the confirmation and reminder email of your event. Be sure your guests have everything they’ll need to log in easily. If they need to download an extra app, be sure to include this info too.
  2. Customize confirmation/reminder emails. Navigate to Events > Edit/Manage > Customization tab > Messages tab.  If you have a series or multiple virtual events, you can add the unique conferencing link to each event’s confirmation and reminder email. Remember if every event has the same access control details, people will be able to share them.
  3. (Optional) Set Up Canned Responses. You can also use canned responses to get in touch with your guests quickly with any custom links, instructions, or additional collateral such as tasting notes or ingredient lists. Create a canned response under Global > Canned Responses and email your guests via the booking or the event itself. Add as many as you need.

Technical Considerations

If you are hosting a virtual meeting or event, you will want to be clear with your guests upfront on how to connect and join the call.  Consider that some guests may not be technically savy. Let them know how to connect from a mobile device, tablet or Ipad, Desktop/PC, and if they need to download an app or have their microphone or video camera accessible.

Additional Material to Engage your Guests

Enhance the experience for your guests by making it more interactive. Ask yourself what a guest would need ahead of the call and have “prepped”? Any specific shopping list for local food, wine or prepare ingredients. Maybe they should print out a “cheat sheet”, “tasting sheet” or supporting collateral you’ve provided.  Create and add attachments to your canned responses or additional content to your confirmation and reminder emails to engage your guests.

Getting your Virtual Event Ticket Page on your Site

Follow these navigation paths to find links if you haven’t already integrated your experiences to your website.

  • Single virtual event;
    • Events > Edit/Mange > Ticket Page and copy the URL to place the unique event’s ticket page on your site, or share directly with your guests.
  • Multiple Events;
    • Navigate to Templates > Edit/Manage > Ticket Page and copy the url to place the EzBook url with multiple dates on your site, or share directly with your guests.

OR Global >Sales Integration > Generate to generate the code for EzBook.

Customize Your Booking Process 

  • Add an Event Image that best represents the experience or sentiment. Event > Edit Details.
  • Update your Email Header to be specific to the product or experience  Template/Event> Customization > Messages
  • Add a custom callout on your templates to let guests know what to expect or how it’s different from your regular experiences. Event/Templates > Customization > EzBook Callout

Start Promoting Your Event!

Now that you’ve got all of your sales infrastructure in place, it’s time to get the word out. Remember, the benefits of your virtual experience will be different from that of a traditional tour or event. Your marketing, in order to be effective, needs to show your followers what they’ll get out of this new product and why they want to hit pause on Disney+ for a bit in order to join you.

In terms of distribution, check out our webinar with Chris Torres from the Tourism Marketing Agency to learn how to build a Facebook marketing funnel.

Consider Inviting an Influencer, Blogger, Chef or Local Celebrity! 

Invite a chef, influencer, star tour guide or expert to join you for the virtual event. This is a great opportunity to offer an experience your followers can’t get anywhere else. Plus, a guest is likely to spread the word among their followers as well.  Encourage them to post about it online and together, you can share links to each others’ blogs or websites.

Be Patient, Keep Learning

Virtual events are definitely an experiment, so you need to keep that in mind. Keep exploring creative marketing approaches, content development, and ways of engaging with people who buy.

JEREMY CRITTENDEN

As the Director of Communications for EzTix, Jeremy is always open to hearing your feedback and understanding how we can help serve you better.

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