How Tour Operators Can Get More Repeat Customers

16 Sep 2014     |    Taz Bareham

While all tour and activity businesses want new customers, making sure you get a good portion of them to come back is equally as important.

Why? Consider this:

  • Someone who has bought from you 3x has a 54% chance to come back for a 4th time.
  • Returning customers spend 20% more than first-time customers.
  • A first-time customer has a 27% chance of coming back.

There are 2 parts to achieving this: improving day-to-day customer interactions, and implementing tactics that bring customers back.

Improve day-to-day interactions

The interactions your customers have with you when they’re on your tour is what will make or break their perception of you as a business. This is why it’s so important to:

Hire the right people

Your front line reflect your business. If they are positive, friendly and care about doing their job right, your customers are more likely to feel welcome and want to return.

On the other hand, if your staff are unwilling to help, or show that they don’t know what they’re doing, your customer will lose confidence in your business processes and not want to come back.

Personalise your service

When communicating with past customers, they have certain expectations of you. Because they’ve met you before, they don’t want to have to repeat themselves.

Have a customer database that has all their purchase history and specific requirements (eg. dietary requirements) so that if they do come back, or if you’re sending them a special offer, you can show that you remember every detail about them.

Train your staff

Each member of staff needs to be given adequate training in order to do their jobs well. Give your staff the knowledge they need to succeed so they have the expertise to meet all customer requirements. People want to be convinced that they’re in good hands.

Implement tactics that bring customers back

To bring customers back, you need to let them know you’re still around. The experience doesn’t end when the tour does!

Research conducted by Sumall found that you should promote repeat business by

  • Encouraging a high initial purchase (using promotions geared for new customers);
  • Pushing for a second sale; and,
  • Allocating a quarter of your marketing budget to purchase incentives for repeat customers.

Campaign ideas

  1. Tell customers that you’ve launched a new product they might like.This is ideal for businesses that by nature are usually a one-off experience (eg. parasailing) and businesses that inherently have a repeat buy (eg. rentals). If you launch a new product by expanding your locations or adding a new type of equipment to be rented out, this is a chance for you to let your past customers know.
  2. Remind customers that it’s time to come back. This is perfect for seasonal businesses, such as whale watching cruises. For example, you can let your customers know that now is the perfect time for spotting whales on their migrating route.
  3. Create coupons, because if a customer uses a coupon once, they’re 3x as likely to use one again.
  4. Use online advertisements to retarget your customers (click here to learn what we mean by that).

Want more marketing tips? Download our free ebook.

Tour Operator eBook