There's a whole segment of the travel market beginning to ripen: business travel. This segment of the market is expected to increase by 1.7 percent in volume within the United States by the end of 2015, which is more than previously expected, reports the Global Business Travel Association. The GBTA also reports business travel spending will increase 3.1 percent in 2015, which means more business travelers may be interested in adding tours and activities to their itinerary. This provides tour and activity operators a larger market—that's looking to spend money—to which they can offer everything from corporate events and team-building activities to custom packages for local business groups.
Here are some ways tour and activity operators can cater to the growing business traveler market.
Offer Corporate Rates and Discounts
Subtle discounts can help entice larger groups of corporate groups who need to rent out more than 10 units at a time. For example, Adventure Kayak Outfitters breaks down group pricing with 10 percent off current rates for kayak tours for 20 or more people and discounts on daily rate rentals of 10 or more kayaks year round. Set up tiered pricing for group travelers through an online booking software program. Create different pricing schedules based on the number of travelers, type of rental, and even the season to make the booking process as seamless as possible.
Run Corporate Specials Throughout the Year
If you've hit a slower season or know that you have large gaps in your calendar coming up, offer corporate specials to encourage group bookings. Get the word out by sending out invitations to human resource departments and corporate travel agencies in the area to promote your business, in addition to sharing corporate discounts and specials on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
The goal is to promote the options for booking group travel at your location and targeting businesses, corporations, and groups that are busy planning corporate retreats and other adventures. Make sure any listings on local sites, such as the chamber of commerce or other directories, include information about your group rates for corporate travelers.
Ask Customers for Referrals
If you're hosting a corporate retreat or any type of group events, make sure your visitors know they can earn a discount for referring their coworkers. Following up with an email within a week of their visit could encourage guests to share their experience by referring coworkers and business contacts. Schedule all follow-up emails and send customized referral request emails with online booking software, such as ZOZI Advance. A follow-up email is the perfect way to say thank you for their business and can help you connect with more business travelers looking for something to do on their next visit to the area.
Invite Business Groups on Meetup
Meetup can actually be a powerful tool in this arena. Reach out to local business networking groups and small business workshop organizers that may be looking for some new ideas for group activities. Many of these groups are listed on Meetup and are always posting activities that group members can sign up for together. You could encourage the group organizer to host an event at your location as one of the get-togethers of the year. For example, the Women Global Leadership Initiative Meetup group in San Francisco, C.A., brings together business leaders for speaking events, yoga retreats, art walks, and other activities throughout the year.
Whether you offer canoe tours, stand up paddleboarding adventures, surf lessons, or foodie tours, contact a Meetup group organizer to introduce your business and extend an invitation to schedule an event. Another option is to sponsor a Meetup group to promote your business and generate some interest in what you have to offer to all group members.
Host Wellness Events for Corporate Travelers
The Travel Market Report predicted wellness travel among both business and leisure travelers would be a leading travel trend in 2014 and beyond. They predict that more people will begin to schedule wellness vacations every year, "for the betterment of body, mind, and soul."
Many corporate travelers are interested in work-life balance while on the road, or may be simply looking for a new way to spend their time off. If you offer outdoor adventures and activities, such as bike tours, kayaking adventures, or even boating excursions, considering hosting wellness retreats at your location where busy and stressed-out travelers can enjoy a new experience and relax in the great outdoors. You might even consider partnering up with a local company that specializes in wellness activities, such as a yoga instructor, massage therapist, or other alternative medicine healthcare provider to offer services at your location or their clinic or office as part of a complete wellness package.
From setting up special pricing for group business travelers to hosting special events throughout the year, there are several ways to cater to the growing business traveler market. Use these tips and marketing strategies to book more business travelers this season.