As a tour and activity provider, if there's ever a question of why you do what you do, it can always be found in your customers. They are the driving force behind the services you provide, tours you create, and experiences you tailor to the market.
While we focus a great deal on getting to know your business and how to promote it, a big part of efficient marketing is understanding the people you're marketing to. That's why we've written a simple guide of important questions to ask, but unlike a customer survey, these are valuable questions you should be asking yourself.
These will help you get to know who your customers are, what draws them to your company, and it will help you fill in the missing pieces of your customer experience.
When you think about each stage of the travel customer journey, you can gain valuable insights about your marketing strategy and customer needs. Asking a short series of questions will help you gain the knowledge you'll need to organize your efforts in improving your business.
Who is your best customer?
Your customers will tell you a lot about your business. Not only in the feedback they provide, but in core details like their interests, lifestyle and traveling habits. Knowing them can affect everything from branding style to the way that you choose to build your tours.
The best way to do this is to think about your three most common customers. Oftentimes, you will notice a pattern in the audience that your activity attracts.
This is the time to do some critical thinking and consider everything from their average age (does your tour attract multigenerational travelers or mostly millennials?) to where they live. You'll begin to notice if there are more common or varying interests withing your target customer base.
Define their purchasing roles
Taking tours, trying new activities, and even traveling is something that can often depend on a certain amount of funds. Knowing that, the same activities that attract a luxury traveler might not be practical for others so it's important to understand how your pricing point affects your customers. Thinking about the purchasing roles can teach you a lot about the financial factors for your audience.
It's important to think about who is involved in each tour and activity. Oftentimes, the customers might attend in pairs or even larger groups. In these cases, the person influencing the trip might be different than the person making the purchase.
Think about the influence, decision making, and funding of the purchase -- is it a group of friends with shared buying power? Is it a family with children who influenced the purchase, but are funded by the parents? Is it a solo traveler who's there by self-interest? Knowing this can help you with you to create a better overall customer experience by marketing your tours or activities the right way.
How well do you communicate?
Communication is the key to the best customer experiences. From the interactions you have during tours to your online presence, these all communicate something about your business. Your customers will notice if you are quick to respond to emails, organize booking details, and answer phone calls.
Beyond what you say to your customers, listening skills are also important. The most valuable feedback you get from your customers might not be found in a review or a customer survey, but in the words they have to say during your tour.
Your customers have plenty of options for how to spend their time while traveling. But do you know what made them choose you? What does your business do that makes you stand out from the competition in your industry? Are there any special benefits you offer that your competitors simply don't? Many times it will come down to the way you communicate.
How do you deal with customer challenges?
Lastly, as unpleasant as it may be to deal with criticisms, the way you handle complaints and conflicts could make or break the overall experience for customers and staff, alike. How do you handle complaints? Do you communicate in a professional and courteous way?
Just as you thought of your three more common customers, it is helpful to think of your most difficult. Do they have something in common? How do they communicate their feedback to you and your team? How do you deal with their criticisms or conflicts? While this is hopefully not a common part of your customer experience, it is still something you need to be prepared to deal with.
There's a lot you can do to get to know your customers better, but nothing more effective than simply asking who they are. That's why we've written a helpful worksheet that you can use to learn more about them, their buying decisions, and ultimately, how your communication affects their overall experiences.
Download our 35-question resource to get to know your customers and communicate with them more effectively.
Written 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.