The world’s major hospitality brands understand that repeat business drives new business—and that business is driven by customer loyalty. Travelers, as you know, can be quite picky about their preferences, though they often remain loyal to their favorite brands through the years. How can you, as a tour operator, inspire such recurring loyalty? How can you make travelers just as excited about your brand—and remember to book another excursion the next time they are in town? Here are a few ways you can generate repeat business as a tour operator:
Establish a customer loyalty and rewards programTravelers love a good bargain. What they love even more is to have exclusive access to something special that they can brag about to their friends, family and co-workers back home. Establishing a customer loyalty and rewards program is the easiest way to make and keep customers for life. Here are a few ways to jumpstart your business:
- Offer discounts year-round for members: tickets, multiple tours booked in the same year, equipment and gear rentals and bonus savings during the slow season.
- Create customized and private tours for members and give them preferred booking times.
- Offer exclusive invitations to meals and events at local venues after the tour ends, just for loyalty program members.
Create a friends and family plan
Word-of-mouth is still the best way to build your tourism business, and there’s no better way to do that than through happy guests who not only recommend your excursions to their families, friends and co-workers, but bring them along! Creating a friends and family plan is the easiest way to reach multiple generations of the same families and create new customers for the future. Treat your guests like family and you will have customers for life.
- Offer discounts and group rates for larger parties and schedule private tours, away from your other guests.
- Plan itineraries to off-the-beaten-path locations to create special memories just for them.
- Ask for positive reviews and testimonials—including quotes, photos and videos—that you can use in your various marketing campaigns and post to your website and social media channels.
Initiate a monthly email marketing campaign
The goal here is to keep your business top-of-mind, but not pester potential repeat customers with repeat emails. A quarterly newsletter isn’t frequent enough to keep you relevant, and you don’t want to become one of those companies that floods their inboxes. You want to be memorable—in a good way, so previous customers think of your company when they book their return trip to your area. Here are a few ideas you can use to craft your email campaigns:
- Design a one- or two-page newsletter that incorporates pricing, excursion descriptions, photos and video links to your website and social media.
- Create an electronic postcard (one photo) showing previous guests enjoying one of your tours: a couple standing atop ancient ruins, holding the catch of the day on your sport-fishing charter boat, riding the zip-line though the rainforest canopy. Wish you were here? Come see us again for your next adventure. -- Include coupons and discounts for future excursions always.
- Gather email addresses during booking and onsite before excursions begin to build and sustain your contact database.
By following these helpful tips, you can start to generate repeat customers for the life of your tour business!