This week we’re sharing another successful tour business story. Meet Peter Syme, the owner of outdoor activity provider in Scotland, Morocco, and Spain – Splash White Water Rafting. They take their customers on exciting adventures for 23 years now.
Peter has 14 years of experience in running Splash White Water Rafting. This tour company was also small in the beginning. So, let’s find out what are some insider secrets for success in tourism field!
What motivated you to get into a tour business?
I have always been a world wanderer. As a kid, I joined the adventure journey across the Scottish mountains. A decade later I joined the army. Expeditions from those days gave me countless outdoor memories. I wanted to share some of my love for nature with other people and allow them to experience it. The outdoor activities, rafting included, was well developed in overseas countries but not so much in Scotland. So, I grabbed the opportunity and took over Splash Rafting in 2003.
What type of experiences do you offer to your customers?
Our customer service is based on having fun and making sure our customers have great experiences. After all, they are here to escape, to do something fun and exciting, to challenge themselves.
Our clients can challenge themselves in a whole host of white water activities. Some examples include Whitewater rafting, river bugs, duckies, stand up paddle boards or canyoning. Also, we provide land activities like paintball, climbing and abseiling.
Splash White Water Rafting team makes sure that all our clients are greeted with a smile and make sure that they leave with a smile. That’s how unforgettable experiences are created in our tour company! We’re happy to say that our TripAdvisor reviews reflect this with over 250 positive reviews.
How big is your tour company?
We currently employ 6 people in Scotland. It’s a small but wonderful team that makes the client’s adventure dreams come true.
How do you train or educate your employees?
We follow the industry standards and governing bodies ensuring that all our staff has the relevant tickets and experience to provide our customers with safe, exciting experiences.
What obstacles and challenges have you been experiencing in starting and managing your tour company up to date?
Marketing and cash flow are the biggest challenges. Especially as we are a seasonal business. But, we like to keep a core team employed all year round.
What type of content do you prefer reading to educate yourself about how to improve your tour business?
We like to read about online marketing, social media strategies, and web technologies. But also, anything related that will help us grow our digital footprint. Reads that will allow us better communication with our past, present, and future clients. And finally, the reads that will keep us current in such a fast-moving tourism industry.
Who are your target customers and how do you reach them?
To reach our tours’ and activities’ customers, we use a combination of digital adverts, social media, and traditional digital marketing.
“Adventure is open to everyone!”
Over the years we have provided excitement and adrenaline for clients aged 8 to 90, from all walks of life and all abilities. Though, there are few packages that target people who’re getting married (stag & hen parties).
What role has social media played in your marketing strategy?
We are very keen on social media and see its importance grow daily in our drive for new customers. There are three members of staff fulfilling different roles within our marketing strategy. They engage with our social media channels on a minute to minute basis. A network of around 100,000 social contacts covering Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn has been built and is still growing.
How’s Internet changing your tour and activity business? How can a tour company take an advantage of the Internet to increase tour bookings?
I feel the question is too big for a simple answer. The Internet has given our customers an easy access to us, our products and our services. And that’s great! But, at the same time, it has given our potential clients access to our competitors and their products and services. Therefore, the Internet has also increased the size of our direct competition. Anyway, we will continue to learn, continue to fight and continue to provide an excellent adrenaline filled experiences to our clients.
Do you use an online tour booking system?
Yes. We have been using online booking system since 2008.
“Thanks to online tour booking system daily operations are much easier for all the departments in the business.”
What feature would a tour booking system need to have for you to be completely satisfied with it?
We use online booking for our activities, but we only take 12% of our bookings online. As soon as we add transport, accommodation etc., then it’s easier to create such bespoke packages offline. We look forward to the future in which all this will be integrated into an easy to use online booking button.
Any advice to share with other tour and activity providers?
“Understand and be good at marketing. Otherwise, even the best products and services will just be lost in the maze.”
Hope this interview with Peter inspired you to organize an outdoor adventure, or join one. If you have kids, bring them along. They might follow Peter’s steps and run a successful tour company of their own one day. You never know!
To conclude, the right tour booking and marketing system will make your life easier. You’re invited to try Orioly booking and marketing system for free. It’s shaped according to wishes of many tour operators. So, you’ll have plenty functionalities. And yet, new ones are constantly coming.
Thanks to Peter for sharing his experience with us. We wish him all the best with Splash White Water Rafting tours!
Do you also run a tour company? Would you like to share your professional expertise? Please, share some of your business advice in the comments below. In case you have some questions on this topic, feel free to contact us.
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