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What’s the difference between a mediocre tour and a phenomenal one? Sure, the activities we do make it fun, but what really wows your guests is the experience you create for them and how it makes them feel. Your guest’s experience should start immediately when they hit your website and continue until after they leave your tour or activity.

Here are some things that help me set the tone for an epic tour:

1. Are you REALLY excited about what you do? If not, it’s time to switch things up. Your guests need to feel your and your team’s excitement and passion for what you offer. If you aren’t excited about it, why should they be?

What can you do to take what you are currently doing and make it more fun for you and/or your team? If you were to go on your tour or activity, what things would be amazing to experience personally?

The best part of owning a tour and activity business is our jobs are supposed to be fun. We get to have fun with people for a living! You have the freedom to be as creative as you want. The more you are, the more people will love it.

2. What is your website advertising? I’m not talking about promotions here; I’m talking about what your site is telling people about your tours and activities through pictures, video, and text and what are guests feeling because of it.

Gone are the days that consumers need a bunch of information. Sites must tell a story about what guests will experience when they come out with you on a tour. How do you want people to feel when they are with you? Excited, full of adrenaline, relaxed, calm? What is that feeling?

Are your pictures and videos showing this feeling? Can they see people experiencing this? Is your text copy painting a picture of what they will feel, or is it just a bunch of info?

Sure you need to include details, but keep it minimal. People should be able to scan your pages, and the information they need should stand out. If your site is currently flooded with text, go through and pick out the vital information they need in order to book. Other details can be given at a later time.

If you need some help with your site, reach out to the awesome people at Tourism Tiger. They will gladly help you create a site that sells.

3. Are your emails boring? One common issue operators have is that guests don’t read their emails. Think about this: everyday, people’s inboxes are flooded with emails, and reading emails is a chore. We as operators know this information is there to help guests, so it’s important to make the emails stand out and be easy to digest.

I always use personality when I write my emails. Long ago I ditched my high school writing teacher’s proper ways of writing and decided to write as I speak. When I did, more people started listening because it was authentic. Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t check your spelling and grammar, but what I’m saying is don’t be afraid to be real in your emails.

In my emails I’ll say something right away, like “Hey John, thank you so much for booking your trip, I’m super stoked to have you come out on an adventure with us! I want to make sure you don’t miss out on anything, so here are the details about your trip. PLEASE READ this email so you don’t miss out on your trip.” The information in my emails is short and simple, and I’ve had many guests tell me that they connected instantly to my personality through those emails.

Show guests right away that you’re there to help them. Once they understand that, they will be more compelled to read your emails.

Remember: keep it simple, light, and fun. Who needs another boring email?

4. How are guests greeted when they arrive? What is your energy level like? Are you like a 5-year-old on Christmas morning or a person hiding behind a forced smile?

Guests should feel like they are the most important person that walked into your life. I basically run up to people when they arrive, smiling as big as I can and with excitement in my voice I welcome them. While handing out high fives, I personally greet each guest as I look them in the eyes, children included. Parents love that I make their kids feel special.

My energy comes from two sources. First, I genuinely love what I do. If I ever start not loving things, I switch it up. Second, I remember that my guests are the reason I have the coolest job on the planet. I share that gratitude with them as I greet them and throughout the entire experience.

Want more of my tips for starting your tour right? Check out another post(opens in a new tab) I wrote recently about kicking your tours off with a bang.

5. What is your orientation like? Do you struggle to get people’s attention or keep them engaged? Just like everything else, your energy is vital. If you’re not excited, they won’t be either.

One of the most important things I learned about getting people to pay attention is to immediately help them see you want what’s best for them. I kick off my tours like this: “Welcome everyone” with a lot of high energy, “who’s excited to be here?” I raise my hand as I look at others who are raising their hands. “Thank you so much for being here. Because of you, I get to have the coolest job in the world! Thank you for that! Now my job today is to help you have a ton of fun, so if there is anything I can do to help you have more fun, I want you to tell me. As part of that fun, I want to help you stay out of the hospital and repair shop, (I ran an off-road outfitter at the time) so what I’m about to share with you is to help you have more fun.”

In my message to them, they understand I really do want them to have fun, and to do that they need to hear and do what I am explaining to them. In a nutshell, smile BIG during orientation, be really excited, be real, have fun with it, and be their advocate.

Setting the tone for your activities and tours is where the experience begins. If you want to increase your sales, stand out among competitors, and charge a premium rate, everything you do should be focused on the experience you create for your guests. Everything else will come naturally.

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