Tour and activity operators are in the business of delivering valuable experiences.

This is what makes strong quality assurance procedures both absolutely necessary and inherently more challenging.

Your quality assurance program is there to make sure your products are in the best shape possible, and that procedures are in place to keep them that way. It’s there to reduce internal mistakes, and increase customer satisfaction.

Here are the basic things you can’t afford to leave out of your tour’s quality assurance plan.

1. Clear job descriptions

You need to have a clear understanding of the qualifications needed for each person holding a position in your company, especially if they are instructing your tour or activity.

Outline all of the training and qualifications required to carry out specific tasks, and which documents you need (eg. all tour guides need a First Aid certificate and a police check).

Each person’s job description needs to be absolutely clear, no matter what position they hold. Have a look at our blog post on characteristics of a tour guide to give you some ideas.

2. Reporting path

All training and operational tasks need to be reported to upper management.

Some processes to think about – recruitment of staff, cleaning equipment, processing bookings, creating tour manifests, locking up, managing cancellations, launching tour groups, getting customers to sign your liability release, tracking special requirements, and picking up customers.

For each process, you need to develop standard operating procedures.

  • Set criteria to meet your standards of excellence (remember regulations that apply to you).
  • Set clear policies and procedures.
  • List every task in the delivery of your tour product’s process.
  • Determine who is going to do what task – and who is responsible for checking the work (if it’s the same person, make sure checking the work is a separate, documented procedure). Your most important tasks should be double-checked by someone with extensive experience.

Share this with your employees.

3. Feedback loop

Once you’ve set a solid foundation for your quality assurance program, it’s time to use customer and staff feedback to continually improve your tour products.

Customer feedback

Customer experiences shape future customer expectations, so unhappy customers should be your #1 priority when it comes to responding to feedback. But with a good complaints handling policy, tour operators can turn that negative feedback into a positive experience.

Here are some tips on how to handle customer complaints appropriately:

  • Check if the complaint is a result of non-compliance with your quality assurance plan (and if so, make sure it won’t happen again).
  • Explain what you will do to resolve the complaint.
  • Follow up with your unhappy customers the next day, to show them you really value their business.

To collect feedback, make sure it’s included as an automated email in your post-tour process.

Staff feedback

Your employees’ feedback is crucial to turning insights into action. They are immersed in your processes and will be able to give you a valuable other perspective, suggesting improvements for how to make your business more efficient.

  • Ask staff to be a part of your “quality assurance” committee.
  • Have monthly meetings to hash out customer complaints, and any suggestions for improvement.

Your staff will appreciate their inclusion in the process. They will feel empowered to change and take action.

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Or if you’re looking for booking software that helps you deliver a high quality tour every single time, try Rezdy.