With the tourism business becoming more and more popular, competition has gotten fierce. Gone are the days of being the only tour operator in your area and therefore being the default expert on what to see and do. You now have to contend with rival companies, freelance guides, and even just locals offering unique tours on AirBnB Experiences. The problem now is not just how to convince guests to take a tour: it’s convincing them to take your tour.

One way to do this is by operating in a niche market where competition is less fierce. For example, a tour operator offering stargazing tours in the middle of the day probably won’t lose their market share to copycats or rival businesses. However, they’re probably not going to make much money either, since stargazing in the middle of the day isn’t something that many tourists want to do. Therefore, the niche needs to be both an untapped market and something that visitors actually want. Our solution? Compact tours.

As the name suggests, compact tours are designed to do more in less time. They’re created for guests who might want to venture out of the airport during their layover or for visitors looking for something to do while in town for a music festival. With the rise of micro-cations — one- or two-night getaways favored by travelers who are eager to explore but don’t have much vacation time — there is a rising demand for experiences that fit well into this shorter time frame. While decreasing the length of your tour is one way to do so, another way is simpler: create compact tours to entice these potential guests.

An example of a compact tour is the layover tour from This is Asia Tours. It is an opportunity for those stopping at Hong Kong airport on the way to their final destination to see the city in a few hours. What sets this compact tour apart from traditional 1- or 2-hour tours, however, is that your guide will keep track of the time for you, meaning guests don’t have to keep checking their watch. This simple act of having someone else be responsible is a major draw since it gives the guest the same experience they’d get from a traditional tour: an exhaustive view of the city without the worry of being back in time.

Besides simple features like keeping an eye on the time, compact tours should be as convenient as possible for potential guests. Someone staying at Coachella who has a full day before their favorite artist performs may be looking for something else to do in the area. An attendant at Comic-Con could be persuaded to take a city tour of San Diego, if it’s not difficult to get to. In order to capitalize on these potential customers, your compact tour may want to offer pick-up and drop-off from their location. Even if the tour is conducted on foot, meeting guests where their event takes place makes it that much easier for them to take a tour during their few free hours.

Another tip for those wanting to get into compact tours is this: make them flexible. Guests arriving from the airport are probably traveling with luggage, so give them somewhere to store it during the tour. Someone at a convention may want to know where they can grab a quick bite to eat before the next panel starts. A micro-cationer may want to stop for some souvenirs along the route since they won’t have much time dedicated to shopping. Keep these things in mind, and tailor the experience to your guests as much as possible to create a winning compact tour. If you’re not sure what guests are looking for, start with our blog on 7 customer expectations you must meet.

Lastly, to get into compact tours, it is imperative that your site is mobile friendly. Anyone booking a tour to fill up a short period of time is more than likely doing so only shortly before the tour takes place, which means they’re more than likely searching from their phone or tablet. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile users, get in touch with us to discuss revamping your website!

Take advantage of the new micro-cation trend. Expand your customer base by compacting your tours, and get ready for new opportunities.


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