As global vaccination rates steadily increase and countries begin to reopen their borders, 2022 is looking to be a positive year for the tourism industry. However, although this may be an exciting time, we’re still living in uncertainty and customer expectations have shifted.

To maximize your bookings in 2022, it will be important to accommodate these shifting customer expectations in the different types of tours your business offers. Here are the top 6 and how you can accommodate them:

  • A great itinerary

After 2 years of not being able to travel and participate in tours or activities, many travelers are looking to get a bang for their buck. One of the major customer expectations in 2022 is the content of the tours themselves. Many travelers are now willing to spend more in return for quality experiences.

Offering meal packages, private tours, or a mode of transportation may be that extra element to capture the booking. This is the perfect time for you to get creative and think of ways to make your services stand out.

A great example of a company that does has an extensive range of great itineraries is CoastXP. They offer a wide range of different types of tours that cater to a wide range of travelers. From adventure tours, whale watching, dining experiences, helicopter tours, and many more – their extensive list of experiences offer customers endless options.

  • Smaller groups are a major customer expectation

One thing the pandemic has made us accustomed to is being around fewer people, especially strangers. It’s fair to say that many travelers are still wary of the virus and want to participate in a COVID safe activity. 

According to Arival’s Path to Purchase September 2021 report, over 80% of travelers in 2021 are participating in smaller group sizes of between 1-10 people. This goes to show that offering smaller group tours and activities will make your customers feel at ease. 

  • Longer tours

Along with a great itinerary and smaller groups, customers want to make the most out of their first trip since the beginning of the pandemic. Longer tours make people feel more fulfilled when it comes to their plans and activities and it covers a big chunk of their day.

Based on Arival’s report, in 2021, over 45% of travelers are opting in for half-day tours that go for between 3-4 hours. And a further 22% are choosing full-day tours that go for longer than 5 hours. When you put the two statistics together, that’s close to 70% of travelers participating in longer tours.

To accommodate this particular customer expectation, smart marketing strategies will go a long way. By offering and emphasizing your longer, more in-depth experiences into your marketing will be one way to capture more bookings in 2022.

longer tours are major customer expectations

  • Flexible policies

We can’t deny the fact that we’re still living in uncertain times. To be able to offer flexibility will be one way to meet customer expectations in 2022. Arival’s report shows that in 2021, flexible cancellations and refund policies were highly prioritized. With over 69% of travelers agreeing that flexibility would be their main consideration before committing to making a booking.

To prepare for unexpected cancellations and last-minute bookings, you’ll need to be equipped with the right tools. Having the right technology in place 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. By being equipped to handle last-minute changes, you’ll be able to offer flexibility to all your customers.

  • Quality tours for the right price

Although unfortunately, we’ve seen some people’s work impacted by COVID-19, the past 2 years have been a great time for many others to get their finances in line. With the rise of working-from-home arrangements, and many non-essential businesses needing to temporarily shut their doors, many haven’t been able to spend as freely. This does mean that some people now have a lot more disposable income to spend on their next trip.

With revenge travel on the rise, being frugal is the last thing on a traveler’s mind. Whether that be booking a private tour, upgrading their flight to business class, or finally participating in tours and activities on their bucket list – people are willing to spend more in return for quality tours and comfort.

  • An easy booking process

After a stressful couple of years, the last thing travelers want is a stressful holiday. By making your booking process as easy and efficient as possible, you’re contributing to the stress-free holiday travelers crave. This will ultimately encourage your customers to follow through with their bookings and help increase your revenue.

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

It’s clear that your customers nowadays are mostly online. To be able to accept last-minute bookings via your website, social media or through OTAs will provide customers with that extra bit of ease when making a booking and will make them more likely to book with you.

An online booking system like Rezdy makes your booking process as easy as can be. It provides your customers with real-time availability so they can instantly choose the best time and date that works for them.  It can also help you prepare for last-minute bookings/cancellations by automatically updating your schedules and manifest. This allows every member in your team to be informed and prepare for any sudden changes.

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