We always find ourselves at the start of the year hopeful for what’s to come and then in the blink of an eye the months are flying by. Next thing you know you’re checking the calendar and *gasp* can it be? The holiday season is approaching. Weren’t we just talking about fall and Halloween tour ideas?(opens in a new tab) Like any other major time of the year, it’s important to get a head start and begin your planning in advance. So while we’re still not quite there yet, as a business you have to be looking and planning ahead for what’s to come(opens in a new tab), not waiting for it to happen.
This year more than any other, tours are a great option to help families and friends safely spend time out in the community or beyond while enjoying the best that the season has to offer. The end of the year brings with it many opportunities to try out seasonal offerings or special tours, or just infuse a bit of seasonal cheer. So make yourself a cup of hot chocolate (with mini marshmallows of course!) wrap yourself in a cozy blanket, and get inspired!
Holiday Lights and Sights Tours
A personal favorite from this time of year is the cheer that comes from holiday lights. Whether it be a simple colorful string or an extravagant display, lights brighten up both spaces and moods! Scope out the best lights, displays, windows, inflatable characters, or notable sites in your area and incorporate it into your tour. Or consider a special nighttime-edition of your tour where the lights will truly be the star of the experience.
There are those who are Christmas enthusiasts, and then there is everyone else. Christmas is the time of year that can melt even the coldest of hearts. If your area has a Christmas market, this is a great element that could be incorporated into your tour. You could even build partnerships with some of the vendors to include them as stops for tastings or getting discounts for those guests looking to take home a souvenir. Holiday shop displays make for another festive spot to point out to guests. If your city has any Christmas traditions or folklore, weave them into the traditional narrative of your destination for a holiday twist. Or if you’re located in the southern hemisphere are Christmas corresponds with fun in the sun, show people the best that a warm Christmas season has to offer!
Showcase All Holidays
Christmas isn’t the only holiday worthy of a special seasonal tour. In fact, why not offer a tour which celebrates a diversity of cultures and religions. Whether it be a Hanukkah inspired tour that shows off important Jewish landmarks, businesses, important locations, or highlights the culture in your area. If you offer a food tour or include food as part of your walking tour, aim to incorporate dishes that celebrate tradition, making stops at locations that offer tasty holiday bites. What about showcasing an often overlooked holiday which celebrates diversity, Kwanzaa(opens in a new tab). This African-American cultural holiday takes place between December 26th and January 1st and incorporates many values and aspects similar to Thanksgiving such as crop harvesting and unity.
Food and drink are essential (and some would even say the best) parts of the holidays. If you offer a food tour, switch things up like fancy hot chocolate or other hot drinks to keep guests warm, holiday sweets, or any other local fare which are traditional in your area. Talk with your existing partners about seasonal offerings they can provide to add something special in the mix to match the occasion, as well as to give previous customers a reason to become a repeat customer.
In particular, in the Northern Hemisphere, the cold weather sees many experiencing the season from their window. Give people a worthwhile reason to throw on an extra scarf and pair of mittens during a joyous tour experience. Embrace the cold as you breathe in the crisp air, while the potential snow-covered surroundings will provide a new perspective on the area for both visitors and locals alike. If there are any winter attractions such as outdoor skating rinks, tobogganing hills, let the winter enthusiasts know that these are activities they can do after the tour. Or if by chance there’s a great spot for building snowmen or seeing ice sculptures, those are definitely worthy mentions. You can only hope and cross your fingers that when tour time comes you’ll have the picture-perfect dusting of snow. Just be sure to remind guests to dress appropriately for being outdoors.
Give Back and Say Thanks
During the holiday season, many are particularly grateful for what they do, even during challenging times. Accordingly, many feel particularly charitable during this season of giving. If you have an existing cause that you are partnered with (environmental, social, community projects, etc.) remind potential customers, and consider collecting additional funds or making a special donation from tour revenue. If you don’t have an existing partnership, find an organization in your community in need and do what you can to help them out.
Take a moment to acknowledge the people who contribute to the day-to-day. When it comes to your customers, a simple gesture such as handing out mini candy canes as a way to thank them for joining you at the end of the tour is an act that will surely be appreciated. Send an end of year newsletter to your past customers thanking them for their business and let them know what you have planned. Be sure to also take a moment to share your gratitude and appreciation with your staff and acknowledge your partners(opens in a new tab) as well, after all, these are the people who collectively help make your business run smoothly. Never underestimate the value of saying thank you.
Sing it Loud for All to Hear!
It’s time to celebrate the season! Whatever holiday or seasonal offerings you have, special promotions, or announcements, make sure this is reflected on your home base…your website of course, and our specialty at Tourism Tiger.(opens in a new tab) This could be achieved by adding a special banner, a new menu item, changing some photos to reflect the time of year, or even writing a special blog. With our Tiger Care(opens in a new tab) service, you have the flexibility to make these adjustments quickly and without hassle. As a tour operator, the people are what makes the job so rewarding. So encourage them to head out, enjoy the ambiance, and embrace the time of year during your seasonal tour!
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