A little while ago, we published a post about the ‘B.E.T.T.E.R. Method’ for writing tour descriptions. The idea of this concept is to provide the right information to people to cater to every stage of the buying process.
But what happens when your tour goes to hidden locations? I got this question from one of our customers a few days ago:
‘My concern is this. If we map out exactly where we go and name the restaurants, what will stop someone from doing their own food tour and not using us?’
First, what’s the real problem here? Let’s define that. It’s not that we’re describing the place: it’s that we’re giving away the names of the places – in this case, restaurants – that are being visited.
Will people take that list and visit the businesses themselves? Some might, but I doubt that these people are your core market anyway. If they’re so bothered to figure out all the transport options themselves, maybe they never were willing to pay for a tour.
On the other hand, putting a list there of the restaurants to be visited could simply remove the mystery and excitement.
‘At Food Tour Pros, we instruct our clients that they should absolutely share the locations of their tasting vendors. Customers get excited with more information, not less. We’re not convinced the worst-case scenario(s) behind not listing the vendors ever come to fruition. You’re always better off giving more reasons to take your Food Tour, and sharing vendor information is part of the recipe.’
I’d consider that one settled.
The key to writing a great food tour description is detail. Not just the destinations but also the descriptions and the photos. This means you need to use words to tap into the emotional and physical experience of amazing food. They’re about the magic of eating a beautifully prepared creation. Have you ever been browsing the internet only to bump into a photo of a Snickers brownie, losing the next 30 minutes of your day while you attempt to battle away the cravings? The way you describe your tours needs to evoke these sensations.
Take this example that I came up with on the fly:
Joe’s Barbecue: First stop is a visit to Arizona’s best-kept barbecue secret. It’s the kind of place that friends will share with you if they like you and that you hope never gets featured on TV – just so you can keep it to yourself. Get ready to lick your fingers on Phoenix’s finest meat with some of momma’s old traditional seasonings that leave even the most hardened barbecue lover weak at the knees.’
Think about it. There are many details you can cover, and if a place is worth visiting on your tour, surely it’s worth writing about!
The key for food tours is that your photos and content need to make their mouths water. Once you’ve covered that, here are some ideas for other bases to touch:
- The history of a place
- How you found it
- Some crazy story that restaurant has
- A description of their recommended specialty
- Something unique about the location
If you really think about it, it’s fun, you get to use your creative juices, you inspire curiosity…but more importantly you exhibit your expertise, which is one of the 6 keys to a B.E.T.T.E.R. tour description!
How Food Tour Operators Are Doing This Right Now
London From Scratch keeps a big sense of mystery for their Soho food tour. By focusing on the context of the neighborhood, they successfully convince the reader that they’re in for a magical experience. That being said, my mouth isn’t watering.
Even better is this example from Food Tours of San Francisco. They have done an excellent job of creating a bit of curiosity — who wouldn’t be interested in trying President Obama’s favorite dim sum? I’m desperate to go on this tour because it made me feel irrationally desperate to try Chef Han’s Szechuan cuisine! Naming the chef instead of the restaurant is an inspired move: it takes us away from impersonal brand names and gives us something we can connect with.
Tastebud Tours has no fear of describing the exact journey that will be taken, and while they do a good job of explaining the significance (i.e., the logical reason you’d want to visit), they don’t touch on the emotional.
Of course, if you visit Shane’s own website Chicago Food Planet Tours, you’ll see that the itinerary of each tour is laid out right there in a lot of detail.
Test out what works for you, but be sure not to base your decision on a fear that people will steal your tour information. Remember that there’s thousands of tour companies that visit the most famous sights in the world that any idiot could find on TripAdvisor, yet they’re still making money. The value is in the total experience.
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