Updated November 2021 – Let’s face it. People love to travel, and when they do, they spend money. With the advancement of online resources and the increase in demand for travel, it has never been easier to attract tourists to your tour and activity business.

Whether they’re jumping out of a plane, touring one of the many beautiful wine regions, or learning to surf, travelers are providing tour operators with a direct opportunity to make money – and these “imported” dollars could provide the additional revenue needed to remain financially viable.

To attract tourists to your business, your first and foremost necessity is to get found! How do you do this?

1. Optimize your website to attract tourists

Your website is one of the first points of contact between your business and tourists. Having an optimized website is key to convincing tourists to book tours and activities through your company. In order to do that, your website needs to be effective, in terms of:

  • content – do feature high-quality images that look professional? Are your descriptions clearly written?
  • message – is it clear what you do? What kinds of tours and activities does your business provide?
  • functionality – do all components of your website work? Do you feature clear call-to-action for instant bookings or inquiries?

Remember that it is essentially your “first impression”, so be attractive! Think about using colors that complement each other and add visual elements to complement the written sections.

While there’s nothing wrong with getting out and interacting with people, editing your website can be done from the comfort of your home, or an office. Your customers will find you and hopefully stick around long enough to schedule a booking.

2. Embrace social media

In this day and age, you will struggle to become a successful and thriving business without a footprint in the social media world. Social media can help to boost your online presence and allow people to instantly share your content with their circle of friends and family.

According to Arival’s Path to Purchase September 2021 report, research and bookings made through social media jumped to 25% in 2021 compared to 9% in 2019. This means more and more tourists are looking for tours and activities via social media.

Social media provides the perfect hub to:

  • Create a community of people that ‘like’ your company, provide photos of their experience, and give promotional testimonials
  • Gain vital feedback that you can take on board for improvement
  • Provide discounts and promotions to those who ‘like’ your page as an incentive. This is a core factor to attract visitors to your page

Create a Facebook company page so you can interact with your customers one on one or as a group. If you’re stuck, download our guide to social media for tour operators. We detail exactly how you should go about each social network.

3. Know your audience

If they’re young don’t expect them to spend ludicrous amounts of money, and if they’re old don’t expect them to be thrill-seekers. However, there are many older folks who would seek a thrill and many millennials that are willing to spend if approached in the right way, so be smart as there are always exceptions.

Understanding your audience can also improve the overall customer experience. The more you know and understand your audience, the easier it is to persuade them into making a booking.

To know your audience, ask yourself:

  • What are their interests? Do many of your rock climbers also enjoy forest hikes? If you find a pattern amongst your audience, then you may have found yourself a new marketing channel
  • Why would they buy your experience? What makes you stand out to those travelers in particular? For example, you attract tourists because you offer romantic tours and you know your customers tend to be couples on their honeymoon
  • What motivates them? Travelers will buy based on emotion – do you want them to feel relaxed, amazed, or thrilled?

Knowing and understanding the needs of your travelers is the KEY to getting more bookings. This also provides you with valuable insight for future marketing strategies.

4. Be trustworthy

Trust is a huge part of any relationship, especially when you’re offering a product or service. People are more likely to purchase from someone they trust.

  • Be friendly. In-person, smile! And use a warm tone when talking. This vibe should shine through on your website too
  • Speak clearly. In most cases, your customer will be foreign and may not be confident speaking the language so it’s important to cater to this
  • Be helpful. Always provide a solution. If people need directions, then provide them. If they need a recommendation, then provide one. When you come across helpful and engaging then there is a high chance people will return
  • Listen closely. Take on board and utilize feedback that is given to you. Your customers are your source of income, so engage with them and ask for feedback. Perhaps, provide a quick ‘Feedback Survey’ at the end of each tour

When travelers trust you, they will recommend you to their friends when they get home. This can further help to attract tourists to your tour and activity business, ultimately boosting your bookings.

Tips to attract tourists

5. Market your business in high tourist areas

Marketing yourself in high tourist traffic areas, like iconic city sights, backpacker hostels, bars, and websites for travelers will give you a higher chance of being discovered.

Beyond brochures and flyers, you should:

Marketing yourself online is important too.  Websites like Google Places and TripAdvisor as well as OTAs (Online Travel Agents) such as Expedia and GetYourGuide open you up to a bigger pool of tourists looking for things to do. Joining these platforms is highly recommended for tour and activity businesses like yours.

With that being said, more and more tourists are researching and booking on smartphones and tablets while they’re on the go. You want to make sure your website is accessible for mobile devices in order to capture these online tourists and their bookings.

6. Simplify the booking process

The booking process is a crucial element in ensuring your capture bookings effectively. The more complicated it is, the higher chance your customers won’t follow through with the booking. Having the right technology in place will help you better manage your bookings and any adjustments. 

With an online booking system, customers can see real-time availability and create instant bookings 24/7. For instance, Rezdy offers you a glimpse of your real-time availability, and it will automatically adjust your schedules and manifest in the event of a cancellation. Having an online booking system in place will not only make it easier for your customers to book, but it will also allow you to use your resources more effectively.

Curious to see if Rezdy is for you? Start your FREE 21-day trial or request a demo today.

7. It’s all about the content

After 2 years of not being able to freely travel, people are ready to make the most out of their next trip. Whether that be upgrading their flight to business class, making a booking at a popular restaurant, or participating in an activity they’ve always wanted to do – this is great news for tour operators across the globe.

The content of the tours and activities you offer is a vital component to attract tourists. Many travelers are now willing to spend frivolously in return for quality experiences. This is the perfect time for you to get creative and think of ways you can make your tours and activities stand out from all the rest. For example, offering lunch or dinner options to go along with a tour is an easy upsell.

8. Reviews are your friend

Millions of people scroll through online reviews every day during their decision-making process. Reviews give people an insight to the products and services you offer and help them make a perception of your business. Ultimately, positive reviews will encourage your potential customers to make a booking.

You can be a step ahead of the review game by having feedback forms ready to distribute at the end of each tour. If you ask the right way and create a short, simple form, you will be able to generate a significant number of positive reviews from your customers.

Once you have applied these 8 tips to your business and begin to attract tourists, one of the best things you can do is invest in tour operator booking software built specifically for your business. Rezdy is an online booking solution built with tour and activity operators in mind. With Rezdy, you can showcase your real-time availability, receive up-to-the-minute manifests, and automatically adjust for cancellations. 

To see if Rezdy’s online booking system is right for you, you can sign up for a FREE 21-day trial today or request a demo from our friendly team.

If you enjoyed this article then make sure to follow the Rezdy blog. There are a lot of marketing tools and tour operator tips designed with businesses like yours in mind.

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