We all want to stand out from the crowd, but it's easy to get stuck in day-to-day routines and to-do lists and forget about nurturing creativity.
These tips are for you if you want to make your tourism business more memorable and attractive to potential customers. They're also relevant if you're just starting out and want to define the niche and brand of your new tour and activity company in a creative way.
1. Create some headspace
One of my favourite business books is Business for Punks: Break All the Rules - The BrewDog Way by James Watt. It's a great book to read if you want to build a stellar product, develop a captivating core mission, and distinguish yourself from the crowd. Here's one of my favourite pieces of advice from it:
To create something meaningful, you need to first create some headspace. Creative space to allow your ideas to germinate, grow and flourish. Work harder, think smarter and focus with laser-like efficiency.
If you come up for the best ideas for your business when you're on a walk, make sure you have time in your routine for walking. Instead of rushing between tasks, set aside the time to really think about where your business is heading and what stands you apart. You might just come up with an idea for your next best tour or business differentiator.
Saying that, while setting aside time to think is a brilliant tool for almost anyone, if talking about your ideas with others gets your creativity going, then that's also great to prioritise!
2. Define how your business is different
To give yourself a competitive advantage, there needs to be something about your tour and activity business that goes above and beyond the crowd. For example, you might create your own category of tour, or deliver a more standard type of tour in a new and innovative way.
Alternatively, you might provide exceptional value, for instance with free add-ons like free photography or branded stickers. Paid add-ons can provide even more value, such as a video package during a scuba dive. With TrekkSoft it's easy to up-sell relevant add-ons to customers during the online booking process.
A good place to start when defining how your business is different is my article on building a business plan for your tourism business.
TrekkSoft customer PolaWalk is a shining example of a creative tour operator!
3. Understand what your customers want (then provide this in creative ways)
Another great tool is Bernadette Jiwa's brilliant Difference Map. This not only gives your business purpose, but also a competitive advantage. It helps you recognise why your business exists and how you create value for your customers.
Once you understand what your customers want, you can mindmap creative solutions to provide this in a unique way that reinforces your brand. You can get your own map here.
4. Bring out what makes you who you are
What do you really love? What makes you you, outside of your business? If you love bright colours and bold fonts, channel these into your web design alongside top-class user experience.
Use a voice that sounds like your own on social media. You can do this with the help of our free Writing Handbook for Tour and Activity Providers.
Also, make your website something that you love to look at. By doing so, your website will say something about you as a person and have an all-important authenticity. You can do this with the TrekkSoft Website Builder - a tool to let you create a website that's brand-optimized and booking-optimized.
Other suggestions? If you have a passion for jazz music, you could have this playing quietly in your office. Alternatively, you might like an environment of tidy minimalism. Whatever it is, let your guests have a glimpse into who you are and what excites you.
TrekkSoft customer JETBOAT Interlaken lives and breathes adrenaline - so does their website.
5. Think outside the box
In her book The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp writes, "Before you can think out of the box, you have to start with a box". What a quote.
As a tour and activity provider, your box is your core offering. What is it that you do? How do you provide value to customers? Do you guide walking tours, teach people to dive, or host cooking workshops?
Once you have your box, it's time to shake things up.
Recognise that you don't have to do things the way you think you should. Just because everyone does it that way doesn't mean you can't switch things up a bit. Here's another great Twyla Tharp quote: "Creativity is an act of defiance".
If your competitors are all doing one thing, could it actually work in your favour if you do something drastically different?
6. Let your branding and creativity infuse everything you do
Once you know what your brand is, let it infuse everything else you do.
With the TrekkSoft Website Builder, you can create a booking-optimized website with easy-to-use templates while keeping your own branding. You can also customize your email templates and tickets with your own branding.
There's no reason why your tour and activity company can't be as creative as you are.
Do you allow your creativity to shine through when you're writing about your tours and activities? Find our how to ace this in our Writing Handbook.