For those in the Northern Hemisphere, the school year is underway, the temperature is starting to drop, and pumpkin-flavored everything has emerged. All of this can only mean one thing: fall is upon us. What’s not to love about fall: cozy sweaters, warm drinks, and crisp air! And of course we can’t forget Halloween. If you’re also a fan of all things autumn (or even if you’re not) consider how you can capitalize on this time of year when it comes to your tour offerings.
To adjust your tours for fall, we once again recommend that you focus on your local market. Fall has the potential to appeal to all demographics, from families enjoying a day out together and friends coming together for a sunny afternoon, to giving couples looking for a reason to cozy up. Be sure to entice past and new customers with your special, limited-time-only, seasonal tours. The goal of these seasonal or specialty tours should be to encourage a sense of festivity and to give locals a fun reason to get out of the house and spend time out in their community or extended area.
As with most things this year, Halloween is an event which will be quite different than previous years. Although in some parts of the world regulations have softened, the norm of trick-or-treating seems likely to be a far stretch for this October. Accordingly, families will be looking for spooky activities to keep in the spirit of the day without having to go door to door with their little ghouls and goblins. Halloween in particular, invites you to be extra creative with how you present your tours. Look to incorporate the lore, mystery, suspense, and silliness that make Halloween the kooky holiday that it is. There are a few ways you can inject some spooky fun into your tours.
Encourage Halloween Spirit
A simple way to show off your Halloween spirit is to decorate your office or perhaps include a few decorations in your tour van. By putting out an office pumpkin or hanging a fake spider web you’ll certainly get a ghoulish grin out of your guests. Consider asking for user-generated content(opens in a new tab) from your guests such as photo submissions for best pumpkin carve or most original costume. If there’s enough interest you could even turn this into a contest with the prize being a discounted or free tour.
On the weekends leading up to Halloween, have your guides wear a costume element and encourage your guests to do the same. If your guides are not too keen on dressing up or logistically it’s not possible, consider opting for Halloween-themed face masks as a festive substitute or even just have your guides wear orange and black. A spooky twist on social distancing. Emphasize the Halloween atmosphere and give families (or just “big kids”) a reason to show off their own costumes. And of course, this guarantees more great photos for you to feature on your social media.
Create a Speciality Spooky Walking Tour
While “ghost tours” are nothing new, try your own take on it. To appeal to a more “adult” crowd, or families with older kids, consider creating a new not-quite-scary tour. After all, the level or fright will depend on the demographics of your tour attendees so be open to offering a kid-friendly as well as more adult version. Read up on your local urban myths, and dark history of the area. By offering a tour during the day, you’re not directly competing with existing nighttime tours. Again use your storytelling skills to your advantage to create engaging content that will leave your guests eagerly telling their friends about the experience. Perhaps even consider a referral discount. Ultimately when it comes to the tour material this is the perfect opportunity to give your guides a bit of creative freedom(opens in a new tab) and possibly even portray a “character” to make it an experience rather than just a tour.
Offer a Less Macabre Ghost Tour
If you are a tour operator who does happen to run ghost tours, now is undeniably your time to shine. But, in order to expand your offerings consider a less ghoulish and more family-friendly version of your tour. This could potentially mean offering daytime versions of your tour to help families make the most of their weekend afternoon. Another possibility is to simply adjust your nighttime tour to feature more child-friend content. Again, get your creative juices flowing and use your storytelling skills to rework your existing material. Encourage visitors to bring their own flashlights or glow sticks to really emphasize that Halloween-night vibe.
Fall is known for its cozy, spiced flavors. If you run a food tour, talk with your partners about what autumn treats they can offer to your customers or look to expand your partnerships by inquiring with other food or beverage vendors about their special seasonal offerings. There are tons of fall foods to be celebrated such as caramel apples, pumpkin and apple pie, all things pumpkin spice, dishes featuring squash, mulled wine, apple cider, and maybe even pumpkin beer (are you noticing the pumpkin trend?). Similarly, if your day or multi-day tour involves you offering up snacks or meals, considering adjusting the menu to incorporate fall flavors.
Let People Know About Your Seasonal Offerings and Unique Spooks
Whether or not you offer special autumnal or Halloween tours, the best way to entice seasonal visitors is through your website. For city and outdoor tour operators alike, head out and take some pictures of the changing leaves or sights that are unique to this time of year. Then highlight these images on your website and social media! Whether it be the tree-lined streets of a New York City tour, an exceptionally decorated spot in your city, a special pumpkin, or apple stand where guests can make autumnal purchases, or the fiery forests your guests will explore — the best way to get people excited is to show them.
One of the great things about our websites(opens in a new tab) and Tiger Care(opens in a new tab) service is that you have the flexibility to quickly and easily have these types of adjustments made to your site whenever you need. If your tour is not compatible with a seasonal change there’s nothing stopping you from being a fall steward for your customers. You know your community better than anyone so if there’s special events or sights then consider writing a blog about it. And if you’re a Halloween fan yourself why not recommend your top scary movie picks! But if writing is not your thing, we love Autumn and Halloween and can gladly lend a hand at writing some “ghoulish” blog content(opens in a new tab) for you. Ultimately aim to promote festivity and encourage people to get out there and enjoy the change of seasons. If you wow them with your seasonal offerings you may be able to generate return customers.
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