How tour operators can prepare for the Trans-Tasman (Australia- New Zealand) travel bubble

Australians will be able to travel to New Zealand without quarantine from April 19. The Trans-Tasman bubble marks the start of the recovery, the light at the end of the tunnel that we’ve been eagerly waiting for. 

Given the record levels of domestic travel that happened just over the Easter weekend. the two way quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand comes as amazing news for tour operators who are likely to see a large influx of inbound travelers. With Australians and New Zealanders both keen to travel beyond their borders, tour operators on both sides need to be ready to maximise their bookings. 

Here’s what you can do to maximise your bookings from the Australia – New Zealand travel bubble:

Partner with other local businesses

With the short notice of this big news, plenty of eager travelers will likely be booking their flights and accommodation without planning their activities and will be looking upon landing. Look for other businesses in your local area that you can partner up with to refer customers. 

For example, a winery could recommend that their customer go on a horse-riding tour nearby. A restaurant could recommend that one of their customers go on your tour and you could in turn direct your customers to their restaurants. 

You could even use Rezdy to resell those tours & activities so you could make some extra commission and maximise your income from each customer. If you were partnering up with local restaurants for example, they could use Rezdy to resell your tours and activities to their customers so you get those bookings in real-time.

Ensure that your website, listings and social media are updated

Has anything about your business changed in the last 12 months? For the travelers who do plan, this is when they will start searching through Google and social media platforms for things to do on their holiday. Do you have new products? Have you updated your operating hours? When was the last time you posted on social media? 

Remember, many travelers take an inactive social media account (eg. an Instagram account that hasn’t posted in months) as a sign that a business has closed down and may then look elsewhere. You can also take this as an opportunity to revamp your content, do you have new photos or videos of your tours & activities? Use this on both your website and social media to give your customers the best expectation of just how good your tours are. 

If you don’t have new pictures or videos, try reaching out to previous customers. A lot of the time, they’re more than happy to share some with you. It’s also not too late to start creating your own videos on a budget.

Finally, ensure your Google My Business profile is up to date. The last thing you want is a customer headed to your premises when you’re closed. 

Reviews, reviews, reviews

In terms of review, as important as quantity is, so is recency. Customers want to see that you’ve been operating and at the high standards that you’ve always been at. Getting plenty of new reviews helps build their trust in you. 

Reach out to some of your recent customers and ask them to leave you a review. You can also set up automated emails or use our integration with TripAdvisor Reviews Express to collect reviews after a customer finishes their experience. 

Run an email marketing campaign 

Do you still have the emails of all the Australian customers who’ve been on your tour? Send them an email to remind them about your business. With New Zealand being the only international destination for Australians, many of them will likely be either traveling to New Zealand or thinking of traveling to New Zealand. 

Emails are a great opportunity to remind your previous customers about your tours when they’re in town. It’s also a great opportunity to give a slight nudge to those who are thinking about traveling. Consider offering a special deal or upgrade package to entice them further. 

Maintain social distancing protocols

While COVID cases have drastically reduced within Australia and New Zealand, remember that the sound of a cough is still highly alarming to many. It’s worth noting that many people are still wary of the disease while others have become more accustomed to better hygiene practices with plenty of people still opting to wear a mask where it’s not mandatory and waiting for less crowded lifts. 

Ensure that your customers can feel safe at your premises and communicate this to your customers on your website and social media. 

 

We’ve all been waiting for the recovery and the Trans-Tasman bubble is just the start. Now is the best time to prepare for a busy season ahead and update your business with technology to streamline your bookings and grow your sales channels. Start your free trial with Rezdy today. 

 

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