Every tour operator I have ever met is totally convinced that they have a great product that is great and always worth buying.
And in most cases, they’re probably right. Ever since starting TourismTiger, I’ve been fortunate to meet passionate and able tour and activity providers from all over the world.
But, there’s just one problem: not everyone is convinced that you’re so hot, starting with your competitors who are trying to take your business!
Committing to spend money on your tour is a significant risk for the person who does it. They’ve spent a lot time dreaming of their holiday and are now trusting it to you. Into your hands. If I have 10-20 days of holiday time a year, it’s not just a money thing. Who wants to waste a vacation day on a crappy tour? Please raise your hand.
To get someone to book with you, you’re going to need their trust. Showing your expertise and social proof contributes to this, but we need to go further.
What do you find people are worried about before booking your tour? You’ll often find that people begin to worry about factors that pop up in negative TripAdvisor reviews – both of your business and similar businesses. In positive reviews you’ll see people saying things like ‘we were worried there’d be too many people to enjoy it, but it was perfect.’ Take note of these worries. Think about the things people ask you when they’re on the fence about going with your bus.
When someone books a tour, they’re not just thinking of themselves. They’ve also got in mind the people coming with them. This causes people to be especially cautious – if a person books for themselves and it doesn’t work, fine. But if you book for someone else and it doesn’t work, then they’ll blame you.
Take all the fears, uncertainties and doubts (FUDs) people have, address them in the words on your website, and you’ll go a LONG way to winning more sales.
If your website deals perfectly with FUDs, it helps people justify their decision to book with you, should something go wrong. Don’t underestimate the power of this. Some tour operators have implemented JUST this change to their site and gone from nearly broke to having a successful business.
The person advocating booking with you will make use of the FUD information you have on your site to help sell their friends.
So what are some typical FUDs, you might ask? I’d turn around and ask you: what are people worried about when they get in touch with you? Are they worried about the weather? Are they worried that they might not see a dolphin? Are they worried that their fitness level won’t be good enough…or to take the opposite side, that they might be held back by people who are unfit?
Create that safety blanket in which they feel warm, cozy and safe with you.
Are you showing that your equipment is new and that your guides are certified? That you’re experienced and dependable? That you’re a friendly, regular person?
Take a look at Shark Cage Diving from South Africa. In their ‘5 Reasons to Use Us’, they address the concerns of their clients.
Guarantees: A Great Way To Overcome Fears, Uncertainties and Doubts
One of the biggest jobs of selling on a website is to convince people to take the risk of giving you money without ever having met you.
Buying something without having ever seen it is a genuinely big risk. You may know your tour is fantastic, but your potential guest won’t be so sure. In fact, most of the copy of your site should be all about overcoming the sense of risk that someone feels – great photos, great testimonials…the whole kit and caboodle is all about making people feel safe booking with you, a complete stranger.
Check out how Gary from Right Path Adventures approaches this. Using advice gained from Tim Warren of TravelBusinesSuccess.com, his new website clearly lays out the benefits of using his service AND has a big guarantee button right there. Not only that, look at how the bullet points address the fears, uncertainties and doubt of his potential visitors.
One of the most powerful ways to enhance the risk-free nature of your service is to offer a convincing guarantee. ‘Happiness guaranteed or your money back’ is fairly standard, but it’s possible to go further.
Tourism operators who take people to see animals often will say things like ‘see 5 dolphins or receive a ticket to come back, free!’ That kind of guarantee can be powerful – I should know because 10 years ago, I chose one dolphin tour company over another specifically because of that guarantee and still remember it.
What kind of guarantee could you offer?
Probably the biggest barrier for small businesses owners when they offer a guarantee is the feeling of risk: what would happen if people take advantage of it? The fact that you feel a fear of offering a guarantee should demonstrate WHY you should be doing it. Finally you understand how your potential CUSTOMER feels. Do you want them to feel that small nagging doubt, or do YOU want to feel it? Do you really want to saddle that emotion onto their shoulders?
People very rarely will take you up on your guarantee. If they do, and people are regularly asking for their money back, it’s a clear sign that you have a genuinely terrible product and need to fix it. It’s a harsh way to receive that message, but better to receive the message rather than stick your head in the sand.
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