Although we may be in a tourism lull at the moment, as things begin to pick up it will be key to showcasing your value to prospective customers as they decide which tour operator is the best fit for them. More than ever travelers are looking for value either in the form of cost or experience. Demonstrating value is what lets your customers see and understand both why you make a great choice but also helps justify your pricing. However, demonstrating value is not just about justifying the cost of the service but rather showcasing your professionalism, experience, and expertise. But the question remains: what can you do to showcase your value and how can you be sure people see the value when it comes to your business, tours, experiences, or guides?
Know What You’re Selling, Know Your Audience, Know Your Value
In order to be able to showcase your value to others, in a way you need to do a bit of “business soul-searching”. Also known as Unique Selling Point, determining your Unique Value Proposition is a great way to understand your value in order to promote it. Moreover, it helps you determine who your target client is so that you’re focusing on the right audience. The UVP or USP is a basic marketing principle that takes into account three factors:
- What makes you, your product or your service different from your competitors (unique)
- Who is your customer (the target audience for your proposition)
- The benefits of your product (value)
Once you’ve gone through these points and are confident with your answers, go ahead and project that confidence!
What Are You Selling
Maybe you’re selling convenience, maybe you’re selling luxury, or maybe you’re selling a completely unique experience. You could be the ideal fit for someone who is visiting your destination for the first time and looking to see a bit of everything, or you could provide a totally different experience from your competitors by visiting exclusive spots. You may also be a one-stop-shop with added services like transport or accommodation. Whichever combination of these best describes what you and your business do, the crucial part is that it’s extremely clear.
Your Specific Audience
It’s important to remember that not every tour is suited for every customer. There are a whole variety of travellers out there: budget hunters, luxury seekers, travellers looking for a whole package, solo travellers, group travellers, couples, retirees, families, those looking to relax, those looking for adventure, urban travellers, nature travellers, those who are planners, those who do things last minute, and the list goes on and on! With so much diversity there’s no way you can please everyone. Part of highlighting your value to potential customers is knowing which of these people are a good fit for what you’re offering so you can focus on meeting their particular needs, rather than trying to partially appease everyone.
Your Personal Value
In addition to the specific benefits of your tours or services, there are a variety of ways you have gained personal value (this applies to both you as a business owner and your guides). Firstly, certifications are a great way to show-off additional training that you have amassed. These could include hospitality certifications, first-aid, educational diplomas, or any other courses which show that you’ve put in the extra time and effort to be the best at what you do. Secondly, your experience is a significant point of value to promote. If you’ve been in the industry for X number of years or offered 1000 tours since opening, let people know that you’re reliable and that you’ve been around all this time. Thirdly, if you’re a local, consider this another opportunity to promote your value with your in-depth knowledge of the area.
Keep Your Content Appealing and Up to Date
Show that you’re on top of your game by having attractive content across platforms. First and foremost, your website is the gateway to prospective customers so make sure your Unique Value Proposition is front and center. There are a ton of ways to improve your existing website. Or maybe now is the right time to build an entirely new travel website (That’s something that we can help with here at Tourism Tiger). Maintain interesting and informative page content as this plays a significant role in your first impression, in addition to tour descriptions which really set the stage for what you’re offering and the opportunity to delve into more details. If information is clearly available, customers appreciate that they don’t have to spend a lot more time looking for answers that they want. Don’t underestimate convenience and time-saving as ways of demonstrating your value. Feature photos that showcase your offered experience, customers enjoying these experiences, and the people (you and/or your guides) that make it happen. All of these points combined contribute to your appearance of professionalism.
In addition to having attractive content on your website, it’s essential to engage with potential and past customers across platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. Consider creating a branded travel guide for your local area featuring a few places to eat, stay, or visit, to show that you really know your area and all of its hidden gems (but maybe keep a few spots secret for your tours!). It shows that you really care about your customer’s experience beyond just your particular tour or service. Build a mailing list and send out newsletters so that past and potential customers know what’s going on with you, or start a blog for more in-depth posts you want to share.
Being engaging also means being available and accessible to answer lingering questions or concerns in order to appease any doubts that a potential customer may have. Have a system in place for responding to customers in a timely manner or set up a live chat service to partially automate the process. Additionally, a great way to further your engagement is to respond to your reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, Facebook, or Yelp. This way you can show your appreciation to those who have taken the time to write a glowing review and address any points brought up in the occasional not-so-positive reviews.
Dealing With Negative Pushback
There will always be individuals who doubt your value. But as we’ve mentioned, the issue here is almost certainly not you, but more likely a matter of that individual not being the right type of client for what you’re offering. When encountering negative comments or even those asking for a discount, don’t doubt yourself. If ever you come across a comment like, “You charge way too much I could just do this on my own for way cheaper,” the reality is yes, that person may very well likely be able to visit those locations for cheaper on their own or with another company. But that version of the trip will not come with the information and local suggestions that you provide along the way, nor the convenience of a planned route, transportation, or any other component that makes up your service.
In terms of responding, that person has likely already made up their mind, but if the comment is in a public forum like social media, it’s important to address it for other visitors. Be polite and simply point out that while yes there are alternatives available, possibly at a lower price xyz are the benefits and the value that come with taking a tour with you, which is why it is priced accordingly.
Reaching the Right People
Now that you’ve fully demonstrated our value it’s important to remember that the goal is to convince the right audience for you and your tours, not the whole world. You’ve done your research, considered what you’re offering, and set your prices. So you should be able to stand behind them even in instances when certain people may not agree. Your target market will appreciate the value you offer in its many forms, and this will ultimately justify the cost. By showcasing your value you’ve likely already unknowingly reached the right people!
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