Starting out as a tour or activity company is exciting, exhausting, and overall quite an enriching experience. But as time goes on, the initial excitement can begin to fade. As you focus more on the day-to-day of your business, it’s easy to get into a slump.
This is especially true during low season, when you’re not as busy.
From selling the same tours to gaining repeat customers, there are many things in a business that reoccur. It’s only a matter of time before you need some ideas to keep your tours and activities fresh. So here are some tips to get out of that slump and kick-start a new year.
As any business owner will tell you, repeat business is one of the ultimate goals of customer interaction.
We work hard and strive towards it, but what do you do when it finally happens? This should be a regular occurrence for activity providers and, increasingly, tour operators. But how do you keep it just as fun and interesting for those who are already familiar with your company?
1. Get familiar
Get familiar with your repeat customers because nothing makes a person feel better than being noticed. At this stage, it’s not about dazzling a new customer anymore. You’ve already done that if they’re coming back for more. At this point, you want to build up a relationship.
You don’t have to do much to make them feel special. Make a point to chat with them a bit, remember their names, and introduce yourself to any guests they may be traveling with.
2. Reward loyalty
It’s a Saturday afternoon. You’re greeting those who booked online and even chatting with a few point of sale customers. That’s when you see some familiar faces. It’s a couple who are coming back again for the third time this season.
Your customer could have chosen to be anywhere, but they decided to book with you. Naturally, you appreciate it so how will you show it?
If you’re an activity company, consider building a rewards program. This would be especially appealing for rental companies like cycling or boating rentals could see the most benefit from a program like that. For tour operators, a discounted rate might be more realistic for repeat customers.
3. Be Authentic
You don’t need an overdone gimmick to appeal to your reoccurring customers. For many business owners, trying to be something they're not leads to one thing: burnout.
Trying to top a working marketing strategy isn't worth it if it changes the experience travelers are seeking. There’s a reason people come back to your business. It’s because they’ve had fun and you’ve done something to make them feel comfortable. Keep at it. Put your customers at ease and keep offering consistently amazing tours.
You've no doubt built a tour, designed an activity, or come up with services that people will want to experience again and again. But with that comes fatigue and that can come to affect quality.
Authenticity is important in your travel business, especially as a tour guide. When you don't have your heart in it, customers will notice.
Telling the same stories with the same enthusiasm is something that can grate on a tour provider after a while. So what can you to keep it interesting?
1. Build around the group size
You've probably already built a few tour packages that focus on the size of the group experiencing your activity. It's easy to think "the bigger the better" but there is a certain charm to tours of every size.
Bigger tours are exciting because it's a captive audience and there's a lot of energy to feed off of. However, smaller tours offer a more intimate atmosphere that welcomes conversation and connection.
If you're used to tours that focus on one extreme or random numbers, consider mixing it up by designing activities around a variety of more specific group sizes.
2. Customize your speeches
What is a good tour without interesting information? You most likely have a speech you try to follow, full of the information travelers are interested to learn about.
Instead of giving the same exact speech several times a day, try to rehearse a few different scripts to keep things engaging. Come up with new material that will both inform and entertain your customers. The engagement you'll gain will keep attendees interested and even yourself.
3. Add production value
A tourism expert offers more than just a way to pass the time. They create full-size productions for a captive audience. While we talk a lot about the business end of things on the TrekkSoft blog, there is a great deal of creativity that goes into a good tour or activity.
As with any great production, you need to think about what the audience is looking for and one of the best ways to do that is to draw inspiration from other companies that are already engaging with your customer base.
Immerse yourself in the local culture surrounding your business. Take time to learn about the history, taste the remarkable foods, and dive into the popular culture. They all tell an important part of the story.
It also helps to pick up notable stories about special parts of the area that you can work into your tour. For example, learn about famous people who lived nearby, beloved fables, and even spooky legends like a ghost story.
When it comes to a tour company, your business should have some entertainment value to it. What will it take to make that customer choose your tour over doing something else with their time? You don't just want your customers to be in attendance, you want them to be present and attentive.
That's why you have to make your focus about whatever can add production value to your tour. It will not only bring you more customers, it will help you present information in a way that even you'll be entertained by.
Looking for more tips on your business? Visit the TrekkSoft library.
Published by Sara Napier Burkhard
Sara is a writer from the American West Coast. In recent years, she's written for companies like Hipmunk, iTourMobile and Mylikes. She now resides in Zurich, Switzerland where she finds new adventures and attempts to speak German with minimal success.