When guests go home after a tour or event, is that the end of your relationship with them? If so, it doesn't have to be.
Let's face it, though: tour and activity companies are at a disadvantage when it comes to building ongoing relationships with customers. Hotels can request reviews or comments when guests check out. Restaurants can leave a request for feedback with the bill. But tour operators don't always have an opportunity to check in with guests when the tour ends, and making a connection with a visitor whose on their way out of a large event is virtually impossible.
Without those ongoing relationships, though, your business may be missing some huge opportunities. Repeat guests are a great source of income — and an even better source of word-of-mouth marketing. And if you rely on customers to remember to leave reviews on their own, you may find yourself waiting a long time.
Building a customer relationship doesn't need to be a lot of work. If you don't have the time or staff to craft custom, personalized follow-ups for each guest, you can do a lot with automated emails. The benefits will be well worth the minimal effort required.
Before you get to those benefits, you just need to craft a warm, genuine message to use as a follow-up.
1. Be personal.
Automated emails are inherently impersonal, but there are a few ways to make them warmer. For example, most automated email systems — including the one available in Rezgo — let you automatically fill in variables like the customer's name. As long as you keep accurate contact information, you can start your emails off with a friendly, personalized greeting.
That might be as personal as you can get with the recipient, so the rest is up to you as the sender. Address the message from an individual rather than your company, and allow your personality to show through in the message.
2. Show your appreciation and concern.
Guests are the lifeblood of your business, so take a moment to show your appreciation. Thank them for booking with you. Let them know that their happiness is your biggest concern.
This is a great opportunity to ask for negative feedback. Sounds backward, doesn't it? Ideally, you want positive feedback and reviews from as many customers as possible. But if something did go wrong or the guest was unhappy, your follow-up email gives them an opening to share their negative feedback directly with you. You'll have a chance to intervene before they turn to angry reviews. Let your guests know you want to personally address any issues they might have, then give them a way to respond.
3. Invite them back.
Welcome each customer back with open arms before you sign off. Even if it doesn't seem likely that the guest will be able to return, take the opportunity to invite them back. The benefits of customer loyalty can't be overstated. You may or may not be able to secure repeat bookings, but a customer who feels welcome and appreciated is far more likely to leave a positive review or recommend you to their friends.
4. Ask for what you need.
Your guests may love you, but they can't read your mind. Let them know that they can share their experience on TripAdvisor or wherever else you collect reviews. Give them a link, too — unhappy customers are a lot more likely to go hunting for places to talk about your business than happy customers are, so you want to make the process as easy as possible.
You can offer your appreciation for their time, but avoid offering anything more: review incentives are likely to get your company blacklisted on any reputable review site.
5. Leave the door open.
Automated follow-up emails are only the first step in a long-term customer relationship. To move forward, you'll need a way to connect with customers. Make sure to include links to your company's social accounts and newsletter signup so you can carry this relationship forward.
Once you've built that connection with your guests, you'll find a world of opportunity ahead of you. Social media and email promotions, gift card sales, loyalty bonuses — all these things become much easier once you've taken the first step by following up.