Even with an endless, unlimited budget for your marketing campaigns, you still may not be able to drive the same traffic to your tour and activity website as word-of-mouth referrals. Customer referrals are the cornerstone of any good business, particularly those in the travel industry. This is due to the simple fact that people trust other people, and they rely on their objective experiences to make decisions about their upcoming vacations.
What are Customer Referrals?
Customer referrals are bookings that you earn as a result of the recommendation of a previous customer. For example, if an individual who has booked one of your tours in the past refers another friend to your business, and that friend books with you, you have earned a customer referral. Customer referrals play a huge role in your ability to be successful — in fact, 92 percent of people trust customer referrals more than other types of marketing or advertising. Not all customer referrals are quite the same, however. There are several types that you can take advantage of as a tour and activity operator.
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Types of Referrals that Tour and Activity Operators Can Take Advantage Of:
- Refer a friend — This is an easy and polite way of generating customer referrals. For this type of referral program, you would simply ask people to provide you with contact information for a friend who may be interested in completing one of your tours. You can then use this information to send targeted marketing materials to those referred individuals, in hopes of boosting your bookings. Remember, though, that some customers may be wary of giving away contact information without asking first, so this may not drive the same returns as other customer referral programs.
- Referrals with incentives — This type of referral program rewards the customer who recommends your tours and activities to friends and family members. With this type of program, you would ask your customers to provide you with the names and contact information for those who might be interested in your products. In return, you might offer them a promo code for a discounted tour or a small souvenir product, like a T-shirt or water bottle. People love swag, so this program will likely be slightly more successful at generating referrals.
- Earned referrals — With this type of referral program, you can use the data you collect to show your customers that you value them. In an earned referral, you would provide your loyal travelers with information about the number of times they have booked your tours in the past, and let them know that you have given them the opportunity to earn an incentive based on their loyalty. The incentive could be very similar to the incentives offered in the previous referral program, but customers who believe they have earned an exclusive offer will be much more likely to provide additional referrals.
To learn more about how customer referrals can influence your customers and define your tour and activity marketing strategies, be sure to download the Rezdy online marketing ebook today.