As traveler expectations rise, it’s essential to continuously improve your experience. Sometimes this requires upgrading your gear and tech, other times it means retraining your team. Research shows that we spend 80% of our time looking for and trying to fix problems and 20% of our time trying to make good things better. But as you’ll find out as you keep reading, this is not the best use for our time. Here are three key areas of your journey that you can elevate, without having completely revamp your journey.
The first few moments of an experience set the tone for the entire journey. If there are any hiccups at the beginning, or the traveler doesn’t feel an immediate sense of fitting in, that will color their experience throughout their time with you. Do you have a special way of welcoming guests in? You can take a cue from the hotel industry: a cold or warm towel with a refreshing destination-inspired cocktail is one way they go about this.
A gesture like this tells the guest that their journey is about to begin. It helps them take a moment to switch gears. Especially if someone has just spent hours traveling, maybe they were stuck in traffic, it’s best to design a moment here to express to them that they can relax.
This is also an important time to get to know your guest and their personality. Do you have a favorite icebreaker to get people to open up about themselves in a way that feels good for everyone? This is especially important for group tours. Instilling a sense of camaraderie from the beginning is often the difference between a memorable experience and a nightmare.
Remember that 80/20 split we mentioned? The same research also shows that by focusing on making OK or good experiences better (instead of trying to fix problems) businesses receive a 9x higher revenue return. That means for every $1 of return realized by filling potholes, companies can gain a $9 return by building and refining defining moments.
Think about every journey you read about or watch in a movie. There are always those defining moments that have you on the edge of your seat (or jumping out of it). In storytelling, this is known as the climax. You can’t have a good journey without one!
When you look at your experience, can you point out the peak moments? These are moments of heightened emotions, rising action & engagement, possibly some tension, heightened sensory stimulation, and a strong surge of excitement. There may be a big ‘aha’ moment or even something life-changing that happens here.
Defining moments like these are what separate good tours from ‘omg you have to go’ tours. These are the moments that get passed on through word of mouth, the stories that people tell when they’re telling friends & family about their trip. To learn more about creating these sorts of memorable moments, click here.
Do you leave your guests wanting more? Giving them an excuse to return? The hope is that you’ve created an experience that is so memorable, that people are already booking their next tour with you. If you’ve made them feel welcome and created a defining moment for them, this last part should come naturally.
After all, studies have found that the acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer. If you aren’t getting your guest to think about their next tour with you, then you’re missing out. Before they leave is the time to plant this seed.
Maybe you have multiple tour offerings, and you can provide them with a fun personalized postcard with a photo from their trip and a discount for their next booking. Or maybe your tour isn’t really the type of experience people return for, but your business relies heavily on referrals. Capturing that referral or commitment at the end of your tour is vital.
Some tour operators like to take this time to give their guests a memento of their trip. The more useful these items are, the better. Ideally, you’ll have something to offer that is from your local culture, without your branding plastered all over it. This is a genuine, thoughtful, and unexpected gesture that leaves guests feeling appreciated. It also adds value to the experience, and you can build these sorts of things into the price of your tour.
Of course, the REAL journey begins the moment someone books with you. And Junglebee’s booking software can help you make sure that journey is as smooth and effortless as possible!