Let's state the obvious: If you own an outdoor activity business, you know what you're doing. You're like the Indiana Jones of your trade—people trust you to lead them safely through the adventure. You do what you do because you're passionate about it, and you found a way to do the thing you love every day.
But while you know your business inside and out, your customers don’t—which is why it's so important to set clear expectations right off the bat. Whether running a treetops ropes course, a whitewater rafting company, or a skydiving outfit, follow these five tips to help your guests know exactly what to expect when they book your experience.
1. Give Details Their Due Diligence
Having clear product descriptions and a detailed itinerary on your website is crucial for customers who are considering making a reservation with your business, as well as those who have already booked. In addition to a chronological itinerary, consider everything else you'd want them to know, and anticipate questions they might not even think to ask.
Be mindful of the questions people browsing your website might have, such as possible safety risks, age and weight restrictions, how much the experience demands physically, whether preliminary training is required, what customers can expect to see or do, etc. Approach it like this: What types of information will make your guest's experience even better if they knew it ahead of time? Giving customers a clear idea of what's in store falls under the "best business practices 101," so don't neglect the details!
2. Terms & Conditions Should Be Clear And Easy To Find
For outdoor activity businesses, terms and conditions should clearly specify that customers will be required to sign a liability waiver prior to the experience. The fine print should also cover cancellation agreements, refund policies, weather caveats, age/height/weight restrictions and other legal disclaimers. Your terms and conditions should be included in the booking flow if you have an online reservation system, and made visible to customers when they're checking out. It's also smart to make your terms and conditions highly visible on your website. Being as transparent as possible with these details is essential for the safety of your customers and your business.
3. Make Sure You Have All the Necessary Information
Get as much of the important stuff out of the way when the customer first books with you. That means asking questions about height, weight, and any medical conditions the person might have so you can better serve them. Collecting the important details ahead of time also gives you a chance to personally contact guests regarding workarounds and alternative options. A zip-line operator, for example, could suggest a milder experience for someone with anxiety or a heart condition. We love that our friends at Sunburst Stables have a "Tally Ho" option that allows guests to enjoy and observe the farm, without committing to partaking in zip line activities.
Proactively addressing these issues, rather than scrambling for solutions on the day of the activity, ensures a smoother experience for the customers as well as your staff. With an online booking system like ZOZI Advance, you can customize the checkout flow to include whatever questions you want.
4. Send Comprehensive Confirmation And Reminder Emails
Even if you’re reiterating information from your website and booking flow, it never hurts to send tips on things like parking instructions, directions, clothing requirements and weather conditions one more time before the experience. Use an online booking system with automatic confirmation and reminder emails that can be customized to include whatever information you want. To enhance the anticipation, consider adding a video or a few images to your reminder email, and invite guests to follow you on social media. These little extras are a great way to show off your personal brand of customer service.
5. Lastly, Be Prepared To Handle Guests Who Arrive Unprepared
Even if you follow every step above, a visitor may still come unprepared, overly anxious, not wearing the appropriate attire or not meeting height/weight/age/health requirements. Equip your employees with all the training needed to handle a delicate situation with sensitivity and professionalism. If a guest is unable to participate for any reason, going the extra mile to make that person feel at ease can make all the difference. One simple suggestion? Have snacks, refreshments, a comfortable place to wait, and entertainment (books, magazines) readily available in case an unprepared guest needs to wait while their group completes the experience.
Adventure shouldn’t hit a snag because of unrealistic customer expectations. Use these tips to help deliver a top-notch experience and keep the good times rolling...or flying...or zipping...or floating...or free-falling!
User Spotlight: Treehouse Island Zip Line Adventures