February is here, and your customers’ fancy may be turning to thoughts of love. A romantic excursion could be just the thing, but is your company prepared to take advantage of these last-minute lovers?
If you’re just starting to think about Valentine’s Day now, you aren’t too late. According to research by Bing, two-thirds of Americans start their Valentine's Day planning in February, with many waiting until a week or less in advance. If you can get creative and think locally, you can be right there when they need you.
Add some spice to your sales pitch
You don't have to make massive changes to your tours or events to appeal to customers looking for to book for Valentine's Day. A romantic night isn't about having the right theme, it's about making memories together — and you're already selling memorable experiences.
The simplest way to get the attention of Valentine's Day customers is to make it clear that you know what they're looking for. A leisurely tour might be better described as "intimate," or "cozy." An adventurous activity might be a one-of-a-kind bonding experience, or it might be a wild afternoon of heart-pounding excitement. Let your customers know that they can expect unforgettable moments that they can cherish for years to come, just like they want. Tell them about your breathtaking views so they can imagine sharing them with the ones they love.
You always give your customers special moments to remember, but for Valentine's Day you want to be especially sure they know it.
Set the Mood
Chocolate, roses and bubbly are the holy trinity of Valentine's add-ons. That does mean that they can be a little clichéd, but they're still a great starting point if you're looking for a straightforward package to add to your existing inventory.
If you have time, though, why not get a little more creative?
- No two couples share the exact same special songs, so why not let your guests pick the tunes? Set up a bluetooth-connected speaker and they can play their most romantic playlists. If you’d rather play DJ, set up a form to get a short list of songs from them when they book.
- For a personalized surprise, consider picking up some romantic stationery. You can give your customers the chance to write a short message that you can handwrite for them and leave on their loved one’s seat.
- Even the classics can be improved upon. Working with a local chocolatier, florist or winery will give your add-ons an edge over generic boxes of chocolates, and customers will pay a premium for the pleasure of hand-crafted goods.
Pick a good partner
Valentine's Day is a great day to add an extra stop to your urban tour, or bring in a special vendor if you're off the beaten track. If you have a good relationship with a local winery, chocolatier or café, this can be a great opportunity to work together to offer guests an extra-special experience.
Of course, this is a big holiday for many of the partners you might normally work with, so they may be booked solid. Don't worry — you don't need to go solo, you just need to get creative.
Local artists are a resource that many companies overlook on Valentine's Day, but they can make your experience truly unique. This is especially valuable if your customers tend to be younger. Millennials generally spend the most on Valentine's gifts, and they also value personalization. By finding local artists to work with through sites like Behance, you can give your guests the one-of-a-kind experience they're looking for.
- Love the view? Bring in a photographer to take fun, romantic candid photos along the way.
- For a gorgeous keepsake, hire a calligrapher to design messages of love that your guests can take home.
- With careful planning, a professional musician can make one of your stops particularly memorable.
- What specialities do your local artisans have to offer? Pack a tasty, hand-made treat in a box with red ribbon, and you have a gift for guests that will add value and delight.
Find the Right Moment
Natural splendor may not be the focus of your activity, but you might want to pay it a little extra attention on Valentine’s Day
- Linger a little longer at sunrise and sunset, giving your guests extra time to really enjoy the view.
- If it's safe, consider an extra trip in the evening so your guests can watch the stars come out with the one they love.
- Do your guests get to explore any secluded areas? Give them a little more space and time than usual to enjoy the moment with their partner.
- Keep an eye out for cozy, intimate photo spots, and be ready to help your guests get the perfect shot.
Just remember to plan extra time for these stolen moments so your guests don't have to worry about making their other plans on time.
Don't Forget the Singles
We tend to think of Valentine's Day as a day for couples and romance, but it's no longer their exclusive territory. More and more people are spending their Valentine's Days and dollars on their friends, themselves, and even their pets. According to research by Bing, half of the U.S. identifies as single, and a quarter of them make Valentine’s Day plans.
When planning a Valentine's Day event for singles, you need to pick an approach:
- Anti-Valentine's Day: For the cynics among us, a Valentine's day boycott may be more appropriate than a celebration. Facebook recently found that nearly 8% of references to Valentine’s Day on social media are about boycotting it, so this is a niche that might be worth exploring. Focus on activities that are better as a group than in pairs, keep a good sense of humor, and avoid romantic traditions at all costs.
- Singles Events: Some people want to spend Valentine's Day looking for love. These events can be tricky to plan — you need to make sure that your guest list includes enough variety that guests can hope to find a match, and you need your event atmosphere to foster romance. If you haven’t started planning, you may want to put this one off till next year.
- Treat Your Guests: Valentine's Day can be doubly isolating as a single person, because everywhere you might go to take your mind off your singleness is already full up with couples. Activities that promise luxury and comfort without being couples-focused are a great alternative. For these, you may still want to think about chocolates, flowers, and other traditionally romantic gestures.
Save the surprises
Valentine's Day surprises are great when they're from someone you love, but those same surprises might not be as welcome from a tour guide. If you already have bookings for February 14th, you might be tempted to generously work in some of these ideas to delight your guests.
Don't let the spirit of romance lead you astray. There are many reasons a guest might be uncomfortable with even the most innocuous of Valentine's Day gestures — and assuming pairs of guests are together is asking for trouble. Instead, contact your guests directly to ask if they'd be interested in your Valentine's Day add-ons, or offer them as an optional addition on the day itself.
With these tips, you can give your guests a memorable Valentine's Day – and enjoy your share of a $19 billion holiday while you're at it.