There’s a big difference between someone having a good time on your tour or activity and someone turning into a raving fan. You might be wondering, “why do fans matter?” It’s your fans that become your strongest marketers. They will leave you detailed 5-star reviews, giving your future guests the social proof they need to trust that your experience is the best one out there.
If you want to outsell your competitors, raise your prices, or get more bookings, creating raving fans is the ticket to doing that. Not only that, but converting guests to fans and getting them to leave those stunning reviews is also free marketing. There’s nothing better than that!
If your current bookings aren’t where you want them to be, this is a sign that people aren’t getting what they want or need online and in person. The foundation for everything I do in my business is based on one question: “how do I create the best experience for my guests?”
If your sales aren’t where you want them to be, I invite you to take a good look at the experience you’re currently giving your guests and consider where you can make things even sweeter. When you create a one-of-a-kind experience, you really don’t have to spend money and time marketing because people will be talking about you and your sales grow naturally. As the hype continues to build more momentum, you will become a sought-after experience.
To get you started on your natural (read: free) marketing plan, I’ve put together a list of 5 tips that will dramatically enhance your in person experience in a way that turns the ordinary into the extraordinary!
Tip #1. Make it personal.
When a guest arrives, they are expecting to feel appreciated — receiving them with that glowing royal treatment is the best way to kickstart their experience. I believe most operators want to make their guests feel special, but when tending to many guests needs and other business affairs, it’s easy to get distracted from what is the most important thing (hint: the guest).
Consider the following questions about how you begin each guest’s experience:
- When a guest first arrives, how are they greeted? Do you shake their hands, throw out high fives, or hug them even?
- Do you use their name? Everybody loves having someone know their name.
- Are you giving them the biggest smile you can? Do not underestimate the power of your smile.
- Are you excited they are there? Do you act like a kid on Christmas morning ready to open gifts?
- Are you talking about them and their interests? Or are you talking about you and your business?
- Do you thank them for being there right when you meet them? Because of them, you have a really cool job, and that should be acknowledged from the get-go. Never forget that!
Can you improve in any of these areas? If so, take one of these and improve it today. As you do, you will see people light up within seconds.
Tip #2. Be unique & deliver the unexpected.
Is your experience generic? Just because you have a cool activity like white water rafting, summiting Everest, or wine tasting in Italian vineyards, this doesn’t automatically make you awesome. Why not?
Because anyone can do that.
Airlines are a great example; all of them fly people on planes, so on that level, they are quite similar. It’s not the planes that make fantastic airlines better than the other companies — it’s how they make you feel.
What makes you you? How can your personality shine through your experience? What makes your experience different from any other person? When I had my off-road outfitter, I knew I had to be different. I personally had been on other off-roading tours that I hated. They were slow, uneventful, rundown, and lead by terrible guides begging for tips.
When I set out to build my adventure tours, I took my love for the sport and intentionally built each part of my experience to make sure it was fun, exciting, energetic, and unexpected. When I designed our course, I added things I liked to ride on, like sharp turns and rolling hills — that way, my guests could experience the things that thrilled me. Our gear was top-notch, not rundown. Our guides loved their jobs and showed up pumped to ride with our guests. Guests would often tell us that our tour was the most exciting thing they had ever done.
This may seem challenging to incorporate into your own business, but you have a niche to fill and places that you can personalize the experience, guaranteed. For example, if you provide food, make sure it’s not something that they could eat anywhere. If you visit locations, take them off the beaten path to a secret spot. Wow them with the unexpected!
Don’t ride on the activity that you do as the thing that makes your experience great. Make it great by intentionally making things feel premium, exciting, and unexpected.
Tip #3. Bring the heat.
How is the energy among your guests? Do you wish people were more excited? How are they at the end? Are people raving about it? Are they saying they can’t believe how amazing that was?
If the energy isn’t off-the-charts, then it’s time to bring the heat by elevating your energy level. If you want people to be excited, you have to be more excited than they are. You have to be a mirror for them by showing them how you want them to be. They will see it and eventually match your energy. Once they get there, elevate it even higher. Smile bigger, talk louder, and use your body language. Push your energy out as much as you can and it will pull theirs out. It might feel awkward in the beginning, but trust me, you will see a massive difference in the energy of your experience. Great energy is a huge part of having an unforgettable experience.
Tip # 4. Get them to talk about themselves.
Are you talking about yourself or about the guest? People love to talk about themselves, so ask questions that get them to talk about them. Start with general questions like “where are you from?” “Where have you been so far on your trip?” “What have you done so far that you have enjoyed?”
Then lead into questions like “Are you excited for today?” “What are you looking forward to the most?” This not only starts getting them excited for your experience, but this gives you insights to use in your marketing efforts because you can understand what people are looking for and expecting prior to experiencing it.
Tip #5. Telling them how to feel.
Guests have a certain expectation of how things will go. As an operator, I learned my job was to establish early on what those expectations would be and how they should feel. My favorite spot to do this is when I gathered the group together after checking them in.
I’d start off by asking them with all the energy I can muster, “WHO’S EXCITED TO DO THIS?” After they’d respond, I then would say, “Well, if you’re excited now, just wait till you get to the first checkpoint. You’re going to go nuts, throwing your hands up in the air while yelling “this is amazing!”… and that will just be the warm-up loop!” I would then tell them that it keeps getting better and better, making them even more excited in anticipation for what was ahead of them. What I was doing is setting their expectations by telling them that at that particular spot, they would feel pumped. Every time I would get to that first checkpoint, they would do exactly what I said they would do.
Being a successful operator takes many things, but in every single step and at the end of the day, remember to ask yourself, “how can I create the best experience for my guest?” When you do, they become your strongest advocates telling the world how incredible you are. Start implementing these tips today, and you will see a major improvement in not only your guests’ experience, but also your sales.
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