November 2, 2021
Are you pulling out all the stops for your tour & activity? Do you spare no expense when it comes to crafting the ultimate itinerary? Or, are you limiting your tour offering and experience because you’re worried travelers won’t pay for it?
Based on exclusive new research of 1,000 U.S. travelers on their planned or intended travel over the next 12 months, Arival has found that offering more and charging more is the way to travelers’ hearts.
If this information comes as a shock to you, keep in mind that pricing psychology shows us that cheaper is not always better. Many people have a “you get what you pay for” mentality and are not willing to risk booking the cheapest tour option. After all, vacations are a time when people tend to splurge more than any other time. So if Itinerary matters most to travelers and price matters the least, how can you make sure yours is appealing?
Of course, this is not an exercise in recklessness. We are not encouraging you to go out and spend your last cent on new investments. But thinking this way will help you tap into your uninhibited creativity! Even if you don’t have one more dollar to spend on improving your experience, even just the act of imagining its potential can open your mind up to new ways of seeing your tour that could lead to improvements.
For example, say you run a boat tour and you wish you could upgrade your vessel. But it’s not in the budget. Spend some time playing around with this question: what inexpensive luxuries of my culture make people smile? You’d be surprised how often it’s the little things that actually lead to joy. Maybe you have some local art on your boat that creates a playful vibe.
If you really want to go the extra mile, make a list of all the things that travelers love about your destination and culture that cost little to no money. Then decide which of those aspects can be easily integrated into your tour.
When travelers are comparing tours side by side, oftentimes there’s very little difference in the itinerary. When all itineraries are similar, travelers will move to making a decision based on the next important aspects: schedule, group size, and price.
The goal is to make your itinerary such a no-brainer that the traveler never has to do the ‘tour comparison’ game. When they see your tour & activity, their search is over – they’re ready to book. But how do you go about this?
By no longer trying to appeal to all travelers.
Depending how long you’ve been in business, you probably already know that you can’t make EVERYONE happy. But you probably have a ‘type’ of guest that always walks away happy. What do those guests have in common? Revisit our article on traveler behaviors that drive bookings to get clear on the common thread amongst these travelers.
Once you know and understand what it is that these travelers have in common, you can go above and beyond to cater to their unique desires and stop generalizing your itinerary. For example, if you run a food tour and you notice that your best guests are ones that are into the farm-to-table movement and value slow food & sustainability, then that’s one shift you can make to start appealing to more desirable guests like them.
While generalized experiences have their place, they also tend to command less profit. When something is special, it tends to move up the scale in terms of luxury offerings. But until you know what sort of guests you want to attract (step 2) then this act of specializing will be difficult to navigate.
The good thing is, specializing often doesn’t require a complete makeover of your current offering. It’s just zooming in on what makes your current itinerary so appealing and emphasizing all aspects around that.
Gone are the days where sightseeing alone was considered a worthwhile experience. Travelers are hoping to get something meaningful out of a tour & activity. In 2017 Skift survey, 54.3 percent of respondents ranked the importance of transformative travel experiences at least 7 out of 10 or higher. That number has likely continued to grow over the last 5 years, and accelerated even more since COVID.
Transformation can mean many things to many people, but more often than not it’s when the traveler gains a new perspective, learns something new, discovers their passion, or has a new reflection that acts as a catalyst to something in their life. Oftentimes, these sorts of things can be achieved without investing in bigger & better tangible goods for your tour.
When you start focusing on your itinerary and charging accordingly, the travelers will flock to your tour & activity! What sort of upgrades will you be making in 2022?