The peak travel season is an exciting time for any tour operator, but it’s particularly thrilling this year. Many of the lingering pandemic restrictions are being eased or lifted — and just in time for the holiday travel season. While it is exciting, it’s important that you are prepared for the increase in demand and the boost in bookings. We have compiled a list of eight tour operator tips that can help prepare your business for the peak travel season.

Update your itineraries and refresh the details

Before you have travelers booking your tours and activities, it’s best to review the products you offer. It’s important to go over the details and clarify any changes that have taken place since last season. Some details to review include:

  • operating hours
  • tour dates and times
  • tour itineraries
  • safety measures and precautions

If you have any changes, make sure that it’s communicated clearly on your website. If there are any other major adjustments to your products or offerings, you may also want to communicate this through social media.

Prepare and implement a COVID-19 safety plan

As COVID-19 still lingering within our communities, it is a good idea to review your safety plan and protocols. Many travelers are still looking for reassurance that the experience will be safe and that efforts are being made to minimize the spread of the virus. According to Arival’s Path to Purchase report, over 60% of travelers agree that COVID safety plans such as clear and visible cleaning, crowd control, and vaccine requirements are important factors before they consider making a booking. Furthermore, 63% of travelers believe technology plays a key role in controlling health risks during trips and reduces travel anxiety in a post-pandemic world.

In addition, you may still have to adhere to government restrictions and regulations, which can vary significantly based on your location. You may need to adapt or adjust your policies to comply with these regulations. It’s a good idea to check your local government website and set up a COVID safety plan checklist.

Invest in a tour operator booking software

The best way to manage the boost in bookings that will occur during your peak travel season is to have booking software for tour operators in place. For instance, Rezdy is an effective and efficient online booking solution that will allow you to accept bookings across multiple channels. With Rezdy, you can, showcase your real-time availability, receive up-to-the-minute manifests, and automatically adjust for cancellations.

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Be present where your customers are

The peak travel season is when you will get the bulk of your bookings, so you want to maximize your brand’s publicity during this time. Now is the best time to update your marketing strategy to develop a presence where your most motivated customers are. 

Where you promote your business and the platform you use is vital in ensuring you capture the most reach. According to Arival’s report, research and bookings for tours have shifted dramatically to online channels compared to 2019. The report states that they’ve seen a jump on research and bookings made through online platforms such as:

  • social media – 25% in 2021 compared to 9% in 2019
  • operator websites – 31% in 2021 compared to 23% in 2019
  • OTAs (Online Travel Agents) – 35% in 2021 compared to 22% in 2021

With this information, it’s important to keep in mind that your customers nowadays are mostly online. Being able to accept last-minute mobile bookings via your website or social media will be critical. While you adapt your marketing strategy and update your campaigns, you may want to consider these top marketing trends in the tourism industry. You may find a few suggestions and tour operator tips that can work for your business.

Train your tour guides

Before the tourists arrive in earnest, you should take some time to train your new hires and to refresh your experienced guides. You should provide your team with training on:

  • Providing the best experience for travelers
  • Creating personalized experiences for individual customers
  • Handling criticisms and knowing how to deal with customer complaints.
  • How to solicit feedback from guests
  • Adhering to all health and safety protocols

You may want to consider creating a consistent schedule for your tour guides and providing it to them in advance. This will help them feel prepared and organized before the season begins.

useful tour operator tips

Be flexible and prepare for last-minute bookings

We’re still currently living in uncertain times, which means that you need to be ready for unexpected cancellations and bookings. Flexibility remains a priority for many travelers, with nearly 1 in 3 travelers saying that a provider’s cancellation policy is one of the top three factors influencing a booking. Research performed by Arival also showed that 69% of travelers prioritized flexible cancellations and refund policies above any other factors before committing to making a booking.

Technology also plays a major factor in the ability to provide your customers with flexibility. With 72% of last-minute mobile bookings occurring within 48 hours of an online search that consists of the words ‘today’ or ‘tonight’, and 50% of activity bookings being made less than eight days prior, Having the right technology in place at your tour company will help you better manage last-minute adjustments. For example, Rezdy offers you a glimpse of your real-time availability, and it will automatically adjust your schedules and manifests. This would be extremely useful in the event of cancellations or last-minute bookings.

Set up automatic reminders

Automatic reminders are extremely beneficial to you as a tour and activity operator because they significantly reduce last-minute cancellations. It’s a good idea to set up automatic reminders periodically leading up to the tour. You can begin by sending your customers a reminder a week in advance and providing them with any information or documents that will need to be completed before the tour. 

Automatic reminders are a good way to stay in touch with your travelers and prepare them for the experience.

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Prepare your feedback forms

The peak travel season is your time to shine, which is why you should always be soliciting feedback from your guests. Prepare your feedback forms before the peak season begins, and have them ready to distribute at the end or a few days after 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 travelers.

In the weeks and months leading up to your peak travel season, you should start to get your business ready for the excitement that lies ahead. Utilizing these tour operator tips will have both you and your business prepared for the influx in bookings.

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. Prepare your tour and activity business for the peak season by signing up for a FREE 21-day trial or requesting a demo today.

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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