Canoe Trail spent the lockdown focusing on optimising their website and testing out inbound marketing efforts to generate local interest and build out their mailing list. When they were able to reopen for the summer, they experienced a surge in demand from staycationers from nearby cities.
Canoe Trail believe that TrekkSoft simplifies their admin work, allowing them to focus on the next stage of growth. They intend to continue developing their online presence to put themselves in a good position to capture bookings as soon as it is safe to do so.
When international travel was put on hold indefinitely, Canoe Trail saw one of their important income streams shrink. A canoeing expedition in Scotland, a higher value trip that had been planned months in advance, had to be delayed until further notice.
While they did not face a wave of cancellations like other companies, there were serious concerns about what the future of the company would look like.
To ensure that they were in a position to run tours and rent out equipment as soon as the government allowed, they kept up with guidelines from the British Canoe Association and constantly reviewed their processes to ensure that they were COVID compliant. Having consistent communication with their staff also ensured that everyone was clear about health and safety measures at all times.
During lockdown, Gideon Clark, General Manager at Canoe Trail, said that they used the downtime to work on projects that had been on hold for a long time.
Since their website is the only sales channel they use, they worked on optimising the website for search intent, focusing on important keywords and restructuring the website around those keywords. They also optimised landing pages that were already ranking to improve organic traffic.
To prepare for Google’s upcoming algorithm change, they also focused on optimising the website for mobile, taking steps to decrease loading times for web pages.
Canoe Trails also ran inbound marketing campaigns where they hosted webinars with partners and industry leaders to share stories from previous expeditions. The goal is to build a newsletter list to help generate sales in the future.
These webinars were well received and Canoe Trails saw an uptick in signups for future international expeditions, despite not having fixed dates or destinations just yet.
In the summer months Canoe Trail experienced a surge in demand when they were able to reopen. As they’re located in Bedford, close to both London and Cambridge, they attracted domestic travellers mainly from the nearby cities looking to unwind in nature.
Online, they noticed a 46% increase in traffic related to “staycations” and “things to do” close to London and Cambridge.
As the year came to a close, they also ran voucher campaigns over Christmas and experienced a 2X increase in voucher purchases compared to previous years. They hope to continue experimenting with vouchers in the months ahead.
2020 ended up being a busy year for the team at Canoe Trails despite the pandemic and lockdowns.
Gideon attributes part of the team’s success to automations the TrekkSoft booking system offers, allowing them to cut out a lot of paperwork involved in processing bookings and payments.
In 2021, they hope to launch a new website to strengthen sales and marketing efforts.
“TrekkSoft is enabling a lot of growth for us by cutting out the admin work we have to do, allowing us to focus on strategy and targeted growth.[...] There’s still a sense of nervousness because we don't know what the future looks like so flexibility in our plans is important”
Gideon Clark, General Manager