Creating unique, up-to-date itineraries is a surefire way to stand out from the competition. Here at TourismTiger, we’re experts at structuring tour pages to make your itinerary shine. Clear and easy-to-read information can do wonders for conversion rates. (Contact us if your website isn’t helping your business!) But what if you offer the same tours as other operators in your region? A well-structured site can only get you so far. While the tried-and-tested can serve operators well — famous landmarks are popular for a reason and likely attract thousands of visitors a year — in order to make your tour company shine, you’ll need to put in a little more effort.
If you’re looking to craft itineraries for your new business, or are looking to upscale operations, the following tips can help get you started.
1. Research the Market
A completely essential step in crafting itineraries for your business is to be aware of what your competitors are doing. Take a look at other tour operators in your region and focus on their offerings. Which destinations do they visit? What makes their tours stand out? How could you do better? Although it may seem like an obvious step, Googling your competitors and checking out their reviews on platforms such as TripAdvisor and Yelp can be a great indication as to which tours are popular with guests and which ones tend to underwhelm. More often than not, customers leave actionable advice on review sites, so ignoring this aspect of your planning strategy could be a mistake.
Tools: Google search, TripAdvisor, Yelp, social media comments, etc.
2. Optimise Content & Titles
There is little point in carefully crafting a travel itinerary for your guests — visiting each location in person, calculating travel times, bartering for good rates, etc. — when it is impossible for new customers to find your tours. Making your content SEO-friendly doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply put, search engine optimisation is the process of making your tours rank highly in a Google search. The trick is to weave phrases that potential customers would Google into your content. For example, ‘Lisbon Walking Tour’ would be much more beneficial SEO-wise than ‘Walk the Seven Hills’. Luckily, there are simple tools available to help identify highly searched terms.
Tool: KW Finder is a great way to ensure your tour content and titles are SEO-friendly. The site allows you to research key terms to determine if they would be beneficial for SEO. As an added bonus, you can see which sites are using your target keywords, and also which keywords your competitors are targeting. To access the site, you’ll need to sign up and pay a monthly fee — but it is well worth it.
3. Map Out the Tour
This is where a lot of time can be wasted for tour operators. In order for your tour to run smoothly, you’ll need to map out all the nitty-gritty details such as departure and return times, prices, attraction fees, availability, etc. You’ll also need a clear grasp of the selling points of your tour, as well as your target market. For example, is your tour designed with history buffs in mind? Or is it an action-packed adventure for all the family? The tool below can help with this.
Tool: Trip Hobo is just one example of many platforms that allows you to easily craft new itineraries to the destination of your choice. Simply type in a location, preferred activities (history, entertainment, food, etc.), accommodation type, and means of transport, and you’ll receive a list of relevant activities and attractions that match your preferences, as well as detailed full-day or multi-day itineraries ready to go! It couldn’t be simpler.
4. Keep Costs & Travel Time Low
Beyond creating an itinerary that excites your guests, you’ll need to focus on the logistics of traveling between your destinations. Fuel costs and the length of time your guests spend on your vehicles are big factors to consider, and are worth keeping as low as possible. The route you take must make sense. Extra travel distance means extra cost and time, and less profit.
Tool:DistancesFrom is a no-frills tool which allows you to calculate the distance between stops. Add multiple locations to receive the overall travel duration, as well as the time needed between individual stops.
5. Be consistent
As your business grows and you look to add more tours to your offerings, it’s important to ensure you stay consistent — both with your products and the way they are presented. By all means, try something new (granted there is a place in the market and a demand), but ensure your tours follow the same structure and layout as your other tour pages.
Tool: Minim, the online itinerary builder, markets itself as a new era of itinerary creation. You can invite other members to the platform to coordinate with DMCs and concierges, eliminating the need for endless email threads. While you’ll have to transfer the itinerary onto your website, the platform is a great way of keeping all itinerary plans in one place, allowing you to follow the same structure. The itineraries can be viewed on any device, meaning you can share or print your files for approval/safekeeping.
*Speaking of consistency, it is also worth researching the attractions you plan to visit in terms of opening hours and client satisfaction. Unusual opening and closing times, changes in the structure of the tour, frequent guide changes, etc. can all contribute to a very unreliable visitor attraction. Your job as a tour operator is to ensure your guests have a good experience every time.
The above tips and tools are a great way to get started on creating unique itineraries that will blow your customers away. The key is to position yourself above the competition by offering something not many tour operators offer. If you visit the same attractions as countless other businesses in your region, try to think of ways to differentiate yourself. Perhaps include a stop at a more traditional location (e.g. a cafe that only the locals frequent), or an area away from crowds of tourists. If you’re in need of some more inspiration, the following sites could serve you well.
Travefy allows you to create unique itineraries to send to your client. Great for customisable trips.
Tripit won’t help with itinerary planning, but it is a great resource to help keep all travel details in one place. Adding the app to iOS and Android allows you to sync with Google Calendar, meaning all of your travel confirmations automatically appear in the app.
TripCreator helps tour operators find and book accommodation, transportation, flights, and activities all in one place.
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