Adventure tourism is booming, having grown 65 percent since 2009, according to the 2013 Adventure Tourism Market Study by George Washington University. Even better news: Experts conducting the study found that these travelers were more likely to turn to professional service providers, such as tour operators and guides, to plan their trip.
This great news is also a bit of a double-edged sword for tour and activity operators, though, as it means you're also working in a very competitive market. So if you want to maximize your reach and attract more customers each season, it's going to require a bit of work.
Whether you're selling kayak tours, zip line adventures, sailing excursions, or brewery tours, make sure you're not missing out on these five revenue opportunities that many tour and activity operators overlook.
Missed Opportunity #1: Streamlined Booking and Checkout Process
If you operate seasonally, or are located in a high-traffic tourism area where you compete for customers with complementary businesses, keeping your schedule full each season can be a struggle. Setting up an online booking and checkout process can help you attract and secure more customers. Consider that Internet travel-booking revenue has grown by more than 73 percent since 2010, according to data fromeTrack, eMarketer, and alexa.com, and that 57 percent of all travel reservations are now made on the Internet.
Cash in on this trend by implementing a streamlined booking and checkout process for all travelers who wish to book online. Use an online booking software program like ZOZI Advance to take your visitor through a simple, secure, and efficient checkout process directly from your website. Robust features such as real-time calendar availability updates, convenient and secure credit card payment authorization, and automated email communications will help customers complete each transaction with ease.
Missed Opportunity #2: One-Click Online Booking Options
Results of a 2012 study from Google and Ipsos MediaCT reveal that 60 percent of leisure travelers conducted research about an upcoming trip online. As more travelers turn to the web to conduct research and compare options, make sure your site is ready to close the sale with a large call-to-action button available across all relevant pages. Place a large "Book It!" button across all relevant pages to capture site visitors' attention.
Make it extremely easy for travelers to book immediately—no phone calls, lengthy contact forms, or email communication required—so that they stop shopping around and can secure their reservation within a few clicks.
Missed Opportunity #3: Having a Mobile-Friendly Website
Travel purchases on mobile devices—made either with a smartphone or tablet—totaled $16.36 billion in 2013, according to an eMarketer report, which also predicted that mobile travel sales will account for 37 percent of all travel sales by 2018. Though today's tech-savvy travelers are comfortable going through the entire booking process using their mobile device, it's important to note that many use their smartphone and tablet for different purposes. According to an article by tnooz, many travelers use their smartphone to coordinate a last-minute booking, while most will use their tablet as a replacement for a desktop or laptop when browsing sites and completing a purchase.
Either way, the odds of completing online bookings are in your favor when you have a mobile-friendly website available for smartphone and tablet users, making mobile bookings a viable revenue opportunity for any tour and activity operator.
A mobile-optimized website is typically a pared down version of your full website, spotlighting key services and travel packages, information about your company, and making the "Book It!" feature a prominent feature of each page. We shared some tips for creating a mobile-ready website specifically for your tours and activities in this post.
Missed Opportunity #4: Providing Add-Ons for Every Booking
You've done the hard work of attracting a customer and guided them through the booking process. They are ready to confirm their reservation and have completed their payment information. But the transaction shouldn't stop there—now it's time to up-sell. The experts at Groove point out: “Up-selling is easier than selling to new customers, and it helps you grow". In their blog post, they highlight findings from the book,Marketing Metrics, which finds that the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent versus a meager 5 to 20 percent to a new prospect.
Add-ons can be an easy up-sell when presented at an opportune moment—you don't want to push the traveler to buy more than they had planned, but you also want to make sure they are fully aware that more is available. For example, brewery tour operators might offer purchases of the visitor's favorite brew at a discount, biking tour operators might offer sport water bottles with the company logo, and a boat tour operator might offer guidebooks for sale at checkout.
When you use an online booking software program like ZOZI Advance, you can place add-on options at the checkout page at just the right time. ZOZI allows you to set up add-ons such as additional activities or tours at a discount, complementary gear, or souvenirs available for sale at the checkout page so travelers can simply drop a few more purchases into their cart and complete their purchase.
Missed Opportunity #5: Issuing Promo Codes and Discounts
Approximately 93 percent of shoppers use a coupon or discount code throughout the year, according toHotelMarketing.com. Budget-conscious or not, the average traveler will be seeking out a great deal, and anything you can do to make the deal an irresistible one could boost the likelihood of a sale. Make sure your marketing strategy includes issuing promo codes and discounts throughout the year, and make these deals readily available on your website, social media networking sites, and on all marketing materials.
Use an online booking software program that makes it easy to issue, redeem, and track promo codes and discounts. You need to be able to set up discounts for seasonal specials and random offers, run promo codes on certain tours and activities, track redemptions, and issue automated email with special offers or codes embedded within the email. Relying on an online booking software program to manage promo codes and discounts eliminates administrative tasks related to keeping track of offers and also presents opportunities to coordinate a variety of promotions and special offers throughout the season and throughout the year—and all within a few clicks.
Staying competitive in today's growing adventure travel market can be easier when you make full use of technology and online booking software programs that help to streamline many of your business processes. Increase bookings, maintain a high level of customer service, and keep your business running smoothly by taking full advantage of these five revenue opportunities.