If you are a tour operator and you are not thinking about improving tourist loyalty, you should start thinking about that now.
“Don’t let your clients be your customers. Make them become your fans!”
A few years ago I heard this powerful quote by Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden singer, entrepreneur, pilot, and more). He was making a keynote speech at a business conference and that phrase reminded me of how important it was to look after your customer. In travel terms, the importance of working tourist loyalty.
Improving a tourist's loyalty until he or she becomes a fan is not an easy task. If successful, your company can benefit from it on a long term basis. A fan can promote your brand better than any marketing campaign, saving you a lot of money.
The challenge is that travelers go on trips 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 the following season.
In order to face that, I will give you a hand. Here go a few tips about how to improve tourist loyalty and make them become fans of your brand:
- Cause a positive impact
- Keep an honest marketing communication
- Give more than your customer expects
- Be different from your competitors
- Invest in online presence
1. Cause a positive impact
A good start to improve tourist loyalty is delivering a product or experience that makes them want more.
In order to achieve that, you must find a way to call people’s attention and create excitement about what you have to offer.
It goes without saying that, if you have a great worldwide popular rock band, everything is much easier. However, don't panic; just present your product in a way that sounds irresistible to your audience.
If you are a new band or tour company and you are wondering how to grab your audience's attention, I suggest you follow the recommendations below. They are the first steps in the direction of a full house at your next concert.
Make a great description of your product
Before you release an album or go on a new tour, be sure that you have written a good summary of it. Plus, make sure that you have taken the perfect photo, that is, one that depicts how fantastic the album or tour will be. Last, but not least, ensure you have 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. Keep in mind that this is the fastest way to spread your word.
You can print and hand out flyers on the streets, make a partnership agreement 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 simplest way.
Does your webpage suck? Your product could suck too. Cheap flyers? Maybe the experience isn't worth the price. Are there typos in your text? It 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. It would be great if you also provided follow-up information on how your customers 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 to customers' emails on time, use CRM software to manage them and give the best assistance possible.
Let your customer be part of your product
Involve your customers with your product in a way that they feel comfortable sharing their experience and interacting with other customers who have also 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, it is important to keep the communication with your audience as clear as possible.
Don’t make things bigger than they are
You have 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 to your concert? Wait a second, 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 tell 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 tourists should expect, what the weather will be like 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 sell a product online the final price at the checkout is the same that you had announced before. There is not a worse feeling than being excited about a good sale and ending up being overcharged.
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 with 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 expects
Being a fan means that you expect more from your favorite brand than just their product itself.
Delivering only what customers have paid for, be it a great album or an amazing tour, is not enough to build loyalty. A competitor who offers the same experience but also makes customers feel special will win their heart.
In the tourism industry, tourist loyalty is in the hands of tour operators who know how to delight their customers better.
Pay attention to details
Thinking through the details is a game-changer between a regular customer and an avid fan. Both care about that even if they are not aware of it.
You should provide good service, guarantee the accessibility to the places they will visit, offer a fast and secure way to book, and many other amenities.
Conduct feedback surveys among your customers
A way to know what your customer wants, without playing guessing games, is by conducting satisfaction surveys. They will provide you with valuable and honest feedback from your audience.
If you just release a new album, it is probably of your interest to know whether your audience enjoys the tracks or not. This will help you improve your next work, and at the same time it will show that you care about your audience.
The same goes for tour operators. What can you improve on your tour? Which aspects are not enjoyable? Does your tour feel memorable to your customers?
To find answers for 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 have brought together a legion of fans have something in common: they innovated their segments.
Ozzy Osbourne hasn't gotten where he is by being just another ordinary rock musician.
Think outside the box
This makes people notice your work and 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 breakthrough in the mobile phone industry. For that, they had to take a risk in doing something others didn’t have the ability or the intention to. The result is on people's hands.
Imagine conducting a tour with an approach never seen before, or using 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 that in your strategy to build tourist loyalty.
There are many ways to innovate, but the main point is looking at things from a different perspective and listening to your heart for new ideas. Take a look at another speech by Bruce Dickinson regarding this topic:
5. Be present online
The bad news is your competitors have already done that and now they are one step ahead of you in the tourist loyalty race.
Online presence nowadays is fundamental to any business, it doesn't 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 have done that and now they benefit from tourist loyalty.
Build your own website
View your website as the façade of your business. A well-maintained website means that your company cares about its image and puts effort into giving 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 make an effort to feed it regularly with valuable content and interact with 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 waiting five hours for a meet and greet and you left the venue without saying goodbye. Or, if you are a tour supplier, that you made them walk for five hours uphill under the sun without even telling them to bring a bottle of water.
Implement online sales as a convenience
Being 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 everything, from concert tickets to travel packages.
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 be aligned with their customers' demands. Check our plans and sign up for a trial!