Family trips are fun, but few parents would say they are easy. When families travel together to a destination, they hope to make long-lasting memories and it is the job of tour operators to ensure these are positive ones. With this in mind, it is essential to create a tour experience that contains activities that are safe, educational, and entertaining. You may also look to bridge any multigenerational divides too.
Additionally, as a tour operator, you should always look to take the hassle out of your guests’ vacation planning. When the whole family is involved that need is amplified further, especially if the age range is broad. We’ve put together some pointers to consider when it comes to putting family-friendly tours together to help create a better tour experience for all.
An absolutely essential part of attracting families to your tours is to ensure you have all the necessary information and certificates available to view on your webpage to bolster buyer confidence. This is never more important than when children are involved in the decision-making process. Generating trust on the topic of health and safety is paramount, so look to have all the necessary information easily accessible including your Covid-19 policy.
It is also important to be clear about what activities are suitable for children and which are not. Sometimes it might be possible to create age-appropriate versions of the tours. One example of this would be Northwoods Adventure, they offer Kids Zipline Tours (3+) so the little ones don’t miss out on the fun. The course is specifically designed with their safety and ability in mind, and experienced guides are there every step of the way to lead children through the exciting course.
Naturally, children are curious about the world around them. Sometimes for this very reason they can make for ideal guests on your tour if you’re looking to generate some interesting or even quirky conversation. Children will not be afraid to ask questions that adults may feel silly asking, so from that perspective, children can be an asset to you as a tour guide looking for interactions and teachable moments.
However, that same curiosity can sometimes lead to problems on tours including interruptions and distractions that can impact the enjoyment for other guests. This means it is crucial to have clear policies in place that ensure parents are responsible for their children’s safety and behaviour as well. As an explicit requirement, the waterpark Rocky Points Adventures in Texas stresses that “Your child will need to be with a parent or guardian and is required to wear our life jacket at all times in the water.”
Be Accommodating Across Generations
Trying to pitch your tour offerings to various generations can be tricky, but it can be done. If you have the advantage of offering tours in the same vicinity such as The Mill at Ward Cove then you could be in luck. They offer unique and fun activities in a newly-built, world-class cruise ship destination and therefore they have activities for a broad age range, including a relaxing Alaska Sip & Paint option that may appeal more to senior tourists compared to some of the activities out on the water or in the forest.
Additionally, if you offer an experience such as biking on your tours then look to include bikes that are suitable for children, whether alone or with a parent/guardian. Viking Biking & Hiking in Oslo are one such example. They offer child seats, child bike strollers, and child bikes so they can accommodate most children ages 1+. They encourage guests to take their Oslo nature walk tours as children (10+) can walk on their own for an extended period of time, so the suitability of locations is also something worth considering.
Private & Custom Tours
Not every guest you have on your tours will be keen to share a tour with families. So it is always worth offering private tours to cut down the potential list of worries a guest may have. This could not only attract families looking for that inclusive and uninterrupted group feel, but also appeal to tourists who want to ensure they have the tour guide exclusively to themselves, benefitting the happiness of everyone involved. If guests are around their own family and friends they are often more relaxed and comfortable in the company of people they trust, creating a great environment to guide and entertain.
If you are thinking about making family-friendly tours your number one priority, then Pimbi Adventures are a great example of what can be done in the market. They offer custom travel itinerary services focusing on saving valuable time for families and look to ensure that the spirit of adventure is not lost for parents. They learn about their guests before they receive them and put together an ideal vacation. They are also eco-friendly and donate 5% of their revenue to non-profit organizations that support slowing climate change and saving endangered wildlife.
Offering Discounts & Inclusive Deals
Traveling with the whole family in tow isn’t cheap, so offering tour options that allow families to cut down on costs ultimately attracts more people to your tours. Some tour businesses look to offer discounts related to the number of family members in the tour group so as to guarantee a certain amount of revenue before discounts kick in. It is also a good idea to think about the value of promoting discounts on specific days of the year. Gift cards are a great way of generating revenue if your tours are suitable for 1-day experiences on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day for example.
In this day and age to create a family tour experience, you don’t even have to leave your living room. Gather together around a Smart TV and you can soon be on a virtual tour in a far-flung destination. It can be a great way to spend a rainy day and allows you to explore the world from a unique perspective without the cost and hassle involved in travelling in a large group.
They can also serve as a great educational tool for all the family, especially children. If your tours offer plenty of history then you could take inspiration from Insight Cities, who are a great jumping-off point when it comes to the world of virtual tours as we’ve explored before. Meanwhile, if it is beautiful landscapes that you want to show off to the world then Takuya Yanagisawa’s Japan Private Tour Concierge’s virtual tour offering is a stunning example of how to do it with incredible vistas and informative commentary.
So, as we’ve discovered, pitching your family-friendly tours right is essential, don’t be afraid to ask questions and be sure to gather feedback from family groups after each tour. When it comes to conveying the right messages to attract families to your website then making SEO work, and getting the right design and photos all help to generate buyer confidence in family-friendly tour operators, a job that calls for a specialist.
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