Is your busy season just around the corner? For many tour and activity companies, this is a big time of year, and it’s worth preparing for. Don’t let 2018 slip by with missed opportunities and lost chances — kick off an amazing season this very moment.
Update your approach
Before your high season gets underway, take the time to look over this year’s big trends. Take wellness travel: where last year it was all about experiential activities, that’s so 2017. According to the 2018 Global Wellness Summit, this year we want transformation. If you want to reach guests who travel to improve their lives, it might be worthwhile to update your tour names and descriptions to reflect their “transformative” natures.
Travel trends shift with the wind. Often, a little research and a few adjustments are all that are needed to shift with them.
More tourism trends for 2018:
- Responsible travel: There’s no better time to make it clear to your customers that you care as much about the future of our world as they do.
- Working vacations: 3 out of 4 millennials plan to work while they’re on vacation. Time to start developing tours of local coffee shops that let guests stay all afternoon?
- Better relationships with business: In 2018, more travel companies are working directly with businesses to serve their travel needs.
Remind guests that you love them
Yes, it’s important to use your low season to continue building relationships with guests old and new. It’s even more important to make use of your social connections when you’re moving into the high season. By now, travelers have started firming up their summer travel plans, and smaller items on their itineraries (like tours) are on their minds. Make sure you’re front and center in their thoughts by spinning up social media promotions and sending out newsletters.
Ideas for email marketing this year:
- Segmented campaigns. Grouping customers by relevant demographics and data points can be an incredibly valuable change, driving as much as a 760% increase in revenue (Campaign Monitor). Here’s more about leveraging the guest data you already have.
- Welcome emails: These are an unsurprisingly great way to make your customers feel welcome! They average 4 times the open rate and 5 times as many clicks, so make sure you’re getting the most out of them by including add-on promotions that will get your guests booking.
Catch up with your booking software
If it’s been a few months since you last logged into your booking software, take the time to see what’s changed. Rezgo is always updating with new features, and some of them might just revolutionize your procedures.
New ways to use Rezgo:
- Maintain your relationships with concierges and other referrers with commission tracking and reporting, referral tracking, and more.
- Sell physical products through the Rezgo point of sale, and track and manage stock with easy-to-use tools.
- Get more of the information you need with a full suite of advanced reports.
Refamiliarizing yourself with the services you use daily is always a good idea before the season gets too busy. Who knows what sort of features you might have missed or forgotten about?
Make new friends
There’s no better way to kick off your season than with new partnerships already in place. Start courting the people who can help distribute your tours and activities now, and make sure your booking software is set up to support them. If you haven’t created a referral system or considered commission rates, now is the time to begin.
New relationships worth considering:
- Get to know the concierges in your region. They can be a powerful source of recommendations.
- Consider introducing yourself to locals who offer vacation rentals, especially those with a lot of inventory.
- Get to know your VICs and other local distributors. They’re gatekeepers for a huge number of tourists.
- Read up on outbound marketing. Keep in mind that travelers from China spent USD 127 billion on international tourism last year alone.
Get your inventory looking its best
Take a few minutes to look over last year’s inventory. Is there any spring cleaning that needs to be done? Do you have old tours to remove, or updates to make to things like terms, pick up and drop off locations, or other easily-missed, important details?
Guests may like to know what to expect, but change attracts their attention. Updating your inventory can get them to give your activities a second look.
Easy ways to spruce up your online listings:
- Are your tour photos as big and bright as they can be? Could you show off more spectacular views or action-packed images? A picture’s worth a lot of words, so make sure yours are saying what you want them to say.
- Do your descriptions have stories to tell? Do they make your customers feel like part of an enticing narrative? Storytelling appeals to us on a deep level, and good stories help drive bookings.
- Are your tour names clear and engaging? If you were a guest, is there enough information in each title to help you make the decision to click?
Tour operators expect great things for the rest of 2018 — a year of growth, according to 95 percent of USTOA members polled. Prepare for a strong season and put your best foot forward, and you’re sure to make the most of it.