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We at TourismTiger promote ourselves by working with tour and activity operators. But what exactly is the difference between a tour and an activity/experience? From our point of view, a tour is a set collection of experiences within an itinerary. An experience is much more personal to you. It will be something you will talk about and treasure for years to come.

Tours don’t encompass everything that the tourism industry represents. The number of unique experiences available has made a big impact on the industry as a whole. Travellers have noticeably been changing their habits and tours are no longer the big fish they used to be. Airbnb introducing their experience platform(opens in a new tab) based on DNA testing results shows that people are now looking for more than just tours. They want real, authentic experiences.

Tours are wonderful and they cover an incredible range of opportunities; cultural, nature, pleasure, sports, religion, adventure. Customers who buy said tours know how long it will take, where you will go and what you will see, exactly how much it will cost, etc. All of these details are planned and organised beforehand. An experience is something that the customer may pay for before they arrive, but it’s up to them what they take away from it. Experiences are more open, more room for freedom.

You may be thinking, how can this information be played to my advantage? As a tour operator, you may be looking for new markets to expand in to. Maybe you are also looking to attract more locals, instead of relying exclusively on foreign tourists that come during peak season. You should look at what you offer at the moment and think of new routes you could take. Maybe one part of your tour could be transformed into an experience. Convert this element into something specific and overall more special. For example, a walking tour of Brooklyn may include a stop at a famous pizzeria. Why not see if you can add an experience where guests can pay to take a cooking class where they learn to make authentic New York-style pizza?
Maybe as a tour guide yourself, you are the local expert! Aside from your tours, pick and focus on a specific part of the local flavour and expand on it. Some of the best memories people have from the places they visit are the people they meet. Advertise and market it on the opportunity to meet locals and grow from there!

There are endless avenues to take with this way of expanding your tour business and depending on your location. Here are some ideas of types of experiences you could look to add! Escape rooms, wine/beer tastings, beer bikes, cooking classes/experiences, paintballing/shooting ranges, driving experiences, zorbing, hang-gliding, hot-air ballooning, scavenger hunts, mini golf – to name a few.

Creating an experience section to your tour business is a great way to attract more locals, and more locals mean more word of mouth! More often than not, locals won’t go on a tour of their own area. They will, however, be tempted and willing to enjoy unique experiences and activities in their own back yards. You will need to create the feeling that they are getting something new, something special, and something they couldn’t get anywhere else.

Look to add these experiences by looking at what you currently offer, or expand on your own personal knowledge and become the tour guide everyone wants to learn from! The options are endless – get thinking!

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