In the hospitality and tourism worlds, marketing to tour groups has long been a great way to get heads in beds and feet in a destination. It’s an important opportunity to maximize revenue and enrich a community’s economy. Each group brings dozens of tourists at once, and every one that arrives carries another pocketful of dollars to spend on local attractions, accommodations, dining, shopping and more.
Hitch a ride to success as a go-to travel partner for group tour operators. Here are some easy strategies for catering to their needs and showing them you understand and value their business.
Be the best you can be.
Whatever you offer, be superb at it. Whatever your strengths, capitalize on them. Tour operators strive to create a desirable and memorable experience, and they have many potential partners to pick from. By being a consistently high-quality, unique and desirable experience yourself, you’ll attract and keep their business.
Develop a deep understanding of this industry, as well as your knowledge of your region and the attractions, events, activities and amenities visitors will find there. Your expertise on both will shine through and be a boon to tour operators seeking travel partners.
Make them feel special.
Roll out the red carpet, and prove how much you care for group tour guests. Display a warm welcome. Extend privileges like exclusive deals and discounts, group rates and all-inclusive packages. Consider hosting tour-group-only side trips to popular nearby sights.
For hotels and resorts, it helps to accept advance, discounted room blocks and provide quick, pre-keyed hotel check-in. Group-friendly dining experiences can include easy-to-exchange meal vouchers (again, this is where packages come in handy), customizable and time-conscious menu options (hello, buffets) and all-around speedy service.
Other free/inexpensive and simple possibilities: free motorcoach parking and close, convenient drop-off and pick-up points. And don’t forget to show your appreciation for the driver and/or tour guide. Some places go the extra mile by rewarding them with free or discounted rooms, meals and admissions.
Shout it out.
Now that you can call yourself “tour group friendly,” tell your convention and visitors bureau (CVB) or destination marketing organization (DMO) about it. Promote yourself to tour operator organizations. And think about working directly with tour operators to introduce yourself, learn more about what they want and build packages and itineraries that excite them.
Creativity is key! Rebranding your destination (or even your CVB or DMO) could be a clever and profitable way to entice tour groups, not to mention other visitors too. If you brand it, they will come.
Get this show on the road.
Hop on board with Dana, and discover how you should market yourself to tour groups. Email Tracy Stottler at firstname.lastname@example.org.