5 Ways a tour operator can improve tourist loyalty

Felipe Fonseca

Felipe Fonseca

Inbound Marketing Intern at Orioly
Twice graduated and an avid explorer. Felipe dropped from the engineering world to venture into digital marketing and content writing.
Felipe Fonseca

If you are a tour operator and are not thinking about improving tourist loyalty, you should start thinking now.

“Don’t let your clients be your customers. Make them become your fans!”

A few years ago I heard this powerful quote. Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden singer, entrepreneur, pilot, and more) was having a keynote speech at one business conference and this phrase reminded me how important is to look after your customer, in travel terms, work the tourist loyalty.

Improve tourist loyalty until he becomes a fan is not an easy task. If successful, your company can take long term benefit out of it. A fan can promote your brand better than any marketing campaign, saving you a lot of money.

The challenge is that travelers go for a trip too infrequently to become loyal to one specific aggregator of experiences. But still, tour suppliers and DMOs can work together to give them an experience so memorable that they will return in the next season.

To face that, I will give you a hand. Here you go a few tips about how to improve tourist loyalty and make them become fans of your brand:

  1. Cause a positive impact
  2. Keep an honest marketing communication
  3. Give more than your customer expect
  4. Be different from your competitors
  5. Invest in online presence

1. Cause a positive impact

 

A good start to improve tourist loyalty is delivering a product or experience that makes him wanting for more.

To achieve that, you must find a way to call people’s attention and create excitement about what you have to offer.

Now, if you have a great worldwide popular rock band, everything is much easier. Otherwise, no panic, just present your product in a way that it sounds irresistible for your audience.

If you are a new band or a tour company and are wondering how to grab your public attention, I suggest you follow the recommendations below. They are the first step in the direction of a full house at your next concert.

Make a great description of your product 

Before you release an album or a new tour, be sure that you have a good summary of it, the perfect photo that depicts how fantastic it is, and has set a great and realistic price for it.

Distribute your product on different channels

When distributing your content, think about doing it on different channels. Have in mind that this is the fastest way to spread your word.

You can print and distribute flyers in the street, make a partnership with hostels and also consider going online. This last one is a land of new opportunities you should take advantage of.

Take care of your product presentation

Always remember to present your product in the best and simple way.

Does your webpage suck? Your product could suck too. Cheap flyers? Maybe the experience isn’t worth the price. Have typos in your text? Seems that you are not prepared to provide what you are selling.

Assist your customer after the purchase

Once someone books a tour, send the confirmation promptly after it. Would be great if you also provide follow-up information on how they should prepare for the experience.

Show that you care about your customer

Providing good customer support is an excellent way to show that you care about them.

In music terms, that would mean, contact your customers, ask about the experience and absorb their feedback. If you are a tour provider, respond customer’s emails on time, use CRM software to manage them and give the best assistance as possible.

Let your customer be part of your product

Involve your customer with your product in a way that he feels comfortable sharing the experience and interacts with other customers who experienced it. User-generated content engages your public and is effective marketing for your brand.

2. Keep an honest marketing communication

 

In the travel industry, this is essential to improve tourist loyalty.

When developing a marketing campaign, is important to keep the communication as clean as possible with your audience.

Don’t make things bigger than they are

You picked all your best songs, the stage is set up, the sound is on and the house is full, but wait, where is that all-star guest singer who was supposed to give a boost in your show? That is true, there was never one.

If you are a tour provider, don’t promise things you are not able to keep or control during a tour. If your product is a safari, don’t put in the advertisement that the lion will be there ready to take the perfect selfie with the tourists.

Always say the truth when you are advertising a product. For a concert, be clear about the date, time, price, and attractions. For a tour, be sincere about the location, what tourist should expect, how would be the weather and the itinerary.

It is a huge mistake to advertise things bigger than they really are in order to make your product more impressive than it really is. Things are more likely to turn against you and customers less likely to come back again.

Don’t hide prices in your offer

Another damnable practice is hiding prices during a purchase.

Be sure that when you put a product to be sold online the final price at the check out is the same that you announced before. There isn’t worst feeling than being excited about a good promotion and by the end, you end up being charged more than you expected.

Remember, no one likes to be taken as a fool.

Being honest is one of the pillars of trust and it is fundamental to build a relationship among your audience. Fans don’t follow their idols just because they did an amazing marketing campaign. You need way more than that to keep people returning to your business for years with the same passion.

3. Give more than your customer expect

 

Being a fan means that you expect more from your favorite brand than just their product itself.

Deliver only what customer paid for, be a great album or an amazing tour, is not enough to build loyalty. A competitor who offers the same experience but also makes the customer feel special will win his heart.

In the tourism industry, this means that tourist loyalty is with the tour operator who knows how to delight their customers better.

Pay attention to details

Thinking on the details is a game changer between a regular customer and an avid fan. All of them care about this even if they are not conscientious of it.

You should provide good treatment, guarantee the accessibility to the places they will visit, have a fast and secure way to book, and many other amenities.

Conduct feedback surveys among your customers

One way to know what your customer wants without playing guessing games is by performing satisfaction surveys. They will supply you with valuable and honest feedback from your audience.

If you just released a new album, probably is of your interest to know if your audience enjoyed the tracks or not. This will help you to improve your next work at the same time it shows that you care about your public.

Same for tour operators. What you can improve on your tour? Which aspects of your experience people are not enjoying? Does your tour is memorable to your customers?

To find answers to these questions there are free web applications, like SurveyMonkey. With it, you can create feedback surveys and send them via email to your customers after a tour for example.

4. Be different from the others

 

Brands that brought together a legion of fans have something in common, they innovated their segments.

Ozzy Osbourne didn’t get where he is because he acted as another ordinary rock musician.

Think outside the box

This makes people notice your work at the same time it raises admiration. I am not telling you to eat a bat during a performance, but instead, to bring something new to your industry that will add value to your customer.

Take a look at Apple, their product design was a water divisor in the mobile phone industry. For that, they had to take a risk of doing something others didn’t have the ability or the intention for. The result is on people’s hands.

Imagine conducting a tour with an approach never seen before, or use a completely new perspective to promote a destination.

Have you ever thought about using VR to create an interactive tour? This is something that is popping out now and you can include in your strategy to build tourist loyalty.

There are many ways to innovate, but the central point is looking to the things with a different perspective and listening to your heart for new ideas. Take a look at another Bruce Dickinson’s speech regarding this topic:

5. Be present online

 

So, you are a new band in the scene and all you worry about is when to release your album? Never passed in your head to build a webpage or sign up in a popular social media?

Bad news, your competitors did that and now are one step forward from you in the tourist loyalty race.

Online presence nowadays is fundamental to any business, it does not matter if you are a garage band or a rock star, a small tour operator or a national DMO.

You must be visible and present where your customer is. Successful tour operators did that and now they enjoy from tourist loyalty.

Build your own website

View your website as the facade of your business. A well-maintained website means that your company cares about its image and put effort to give a better user experience to the ones who navigate there.

A band’s website is a reliable source for their fans. There they can find the tour calendar, the story behind the formation of the band and even knowledge regarding their favorite music style.

The same is valid for a travel business website, click here for an example of a good tour website.

Have an active profile in social media

Social media stands out for being a powerful tool to engage customers with brands. If you keep effort to feed it regularly with valuable content and interact with the people on a daily basis, soon the ones who follow you will feel like you are an old friend.

This is also a place where people give spontaneous and honest feedback about your company.

They will not think twice to tell the whole world that they were 5h waiting for a meet and greet and you left the show without saying bye. Or, if you are a tour supplier, that you made them walk for 5h uphill under the sun without even tell them to bring a bottle of water.

Implement online sales as a convenience

Be online also means flexibility and convenience during the purchase process, two important words when talking about tourist loyalty.

Keep in mind that customers are increasingly using the internet to buy from show tickets to book their trips.

If you want to increase online presence and make the user experience better, take a look at our solution. Orioly is an Online Booking Software that helps tour operators being aligned with their customers’ demands, check our plans and sign up for a trial!

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