Are you looking for a complete guide on how to manage a tour? Look no further! In this article, we will provide you with all the information a tour manager needs to know in order to make your tour a success.
It doesn't matter if you are running a concert tour or a hop-on-hop-off city tour, taking care of day-to-day operations can quickly consume too much time without efficient management.
From planning and organizing to training tour guides and marketing and promoting, we will cover it all! So read on and get ready to take your tour business to the next level!
A Guide for Tour Operators
Running a successful tour requires effective management. Your tour needs to kick off without a hitch if you want it to be successful.
Aspects such as planning, organizing, marketing, and promoting the tour, as well as handling any issues that may arise, are all included in what a tour operator handles.
By managing your tour business effectively, you can ensure that your customers have a pleasant experience and that your business is profitable.
In this post, we will cover tour management:
- What are the basics of tour business management?
- How can a tour manager effectively plan and organize a tour?
- What is the most effective way to market and promote a tour?
Let's begin with the basics.
What are the basics of tour business management?
Tours run smoothly when they are managed efficiently. Managing a tour involves a lot more than just herding people from one place to another.
Tour managers are responsible for both the administrative side, such as booking hotels and transportation, as well as the operational side, like keeping the tour on schedule.
But a tour manager also needs to be a people person, able to manage both tour guides and anyone working for your tour company. After all, it's the tour manager's job to make sure everyone has a great time.
Here are the areas of management that every tour manager and all touring professionals need to know:
To achieve a truly outstanding customer experience, you need to ensure that your tours and activities do not get overbooked so that you can deliver a fantastic guest experience.
A packed tour can make you feel like you are part of a cattle call, and you don't want your guests to feel that way!
What can you do to prevent overbooking?
Use a booking system with resource manager functionality. This way, you can limit your trips to available resources if one or more of your tours or activities rely on the same resources - like bikes, guides, or boats. You can also block off a resource for routine maintenance for a few days.
No overbooking means happy customers...and that's good for your tour company business!
Distribution Channel Management
A channel management tool can simplify your management if you're using online travel agencies and marketplaces, like Viator and Expedia.
Using channel management tools, you can connect all of your booking channels to one central system, making it easy to update your listings, availability, and pricing.
Not only will this save you time, but you'll also avoid double bookings and overbookings. Plus, you can make sure your customers see the most up-to-date info with real-time updates.
Managing Tour Guides and Staff
As a tour operator, you have a variety of responsibilities every day. The job description can be long, which includes juggling day-to-day operations, helping guests, hiring local guides and managing them. Your tour guides are one of the most helpful resources you'll have. You can tell a good tour guide by the quality of their service.
As your business grows, you'll need more staff or tour guides to handle the growth. More staff means more onboarding and tour guide training.
But don't just copy your current operations and management processes.
Consider simplifying and streamlining your systems instead.
Consider switching to a booking system that gives your tour guides rough idea to clear details about upcoming trips. By doing this, tour guides will always know how many guests to expect, the age group to host, and what special requirements they need to be aware of.
How do I plan and organize a tour?
Everything from managing your calendar to tracking bookings to connecting with guests to invoicing and payments requires management.
What can you do to make sure you're doing it right?
To begin with, know what each area of administration needs.
Is your tour and activity booking process efficient? You could be losing out on potential bookings if you use a contact form or email address for booking inquiries.
Consider using an online booking system instead.
Need help managing refunds and cancellations?: 5 Tips On How To Manage Tour Cancellation Policy In 2022
Booking systems make it easy for customers to see available times and dates, choose the one that fits their needs, and make a booking right away. You can automate key tasks like sending confirmation emails and reminders, so you can focus on providing a great experience.
We've got a magic link feature to help activity operators deal with guest booking changes. Guests can manage their bookings, change dates, or convert them into vouchers.
Find out more about the magic link here.
Receiving and Managing Payments
When it comes to payments, you want to give your customers as many options as possible. That's why you need a payment gateway for your online bookings on your website, like Stripe, SumUp, Adyen, and PayPal- so you can accept online payments.
But you don't want to stop there.
You also want a Point-of-Sale solution for your business, so you can accept payments in person, too.
With a payment gateway and Point-of-Sale solution, you'll be able to take down payments and deposits, so you can make sure that your business is always running smoothly. And the cool part is that your customers will have more options to pay, which means convenience for them.
It's easy to overbook or make mistakes when you're keeping track and managing your calendar manually. Additionally, you might not utilize your capacity because you are concerned about overbooking guides or resources.
Live inventory booking systems ensure that your bookings are updated across all channels.
Additionally, you can sync your Google Calendar. This allows you to easily see upcoming tours and activities and avoid overbooking. Moreover, its a key part to maximize your business capacity.
Keeping in touch with customers
Pre- and post-trip notifications are an excellent way to streamline your business and improve customer satisfaction.
Your customers will receive email and SMS reminders to bring the things they need to complete a great tour experience. In addition, you can inform them of any changes to an upcoming trip.
By sending them an email after the trip, guests can also provide more feedback about their recent tour. With this system, you can save time and money while providing customers with a better experience.
How do you price a tour?
Tour operators' business plans depend heavily on pricing. Choosing the right price for your tour will influence the tone of your entire business and help you stand out from your competitors.
When planning a fee structure for tours, factor in your target market and the types of tours your business will offer.
Consider these questions when pricing your tour:
- How are competitors targeting their tours?
- Organizing a tour can be expensive, so how do you balance customer interest with costs?
You can price your tour business using two main strategies: raising the price and lowering it. As with any strategy, there are advantages and disadvantages.
The most common strategy for tour businesses is to mark up their prices. By setting your prices higher, you are able to generate a larger profit.
One drawback of this strategy is that it can sometimes make it difficult to attract customers as it prices your tours out of the market.
Instead of raising your prices, you'll lower them to generate a smaller profit by marking them down.
You can use this strategy if you're trying to attract a large customer base since lower prices are usually more attractive.
The downside is that you won't make as much profit per tour.
What is the best way to market and promote a tour?
Marketing and promoting a tour can be a tricky task. With a dash of creativity and effort, it can be a great way to boost sales. The most effective way to market a tour is through a combination of traditional methods and digital media.
Reaching Local Audiences with Traditional Marketing
Traditional marketing techniques, such as flyers and brochures, can be effective at reaching local audiences. Displaying marketing materials in high-traffic areas, such as airports or hotels, is a cost-effective way to reach potential customers.
Attracting International Guests with Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is also essential for reaching a wider audience, including international guests. Utilizing social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is a great way to promote a tour.
"83% of US adults want to book their trips online"- Over 60 Online Travel Booking Statistics (2022) by StratosJets
Tour Reviews Matter
Additionally, leveraging customer reviews is an excellent way to generate word-of-mouth marketing. After every great tour, be sure to ask guests to leave reviews on your own website or on popular travel review sites, such as TripAdvisor, TrustPilot, or Google Reviews.
Start thinking by figuring out which platform people prefer. When you ask for reviews, add a little personal touch. It'll get you far in the long run. Popular tour operators can prove this tested method of marketing. You'll get more bookings with more positive reviews.
By using a combination of traditional and digital marketing techniques, you can effectively promote your tour and attract more guests. Spend time keeping tracking of your marketing strategy's growth, then tweak it if necessary.
Get started with digital growth hacking with our free guide: SEO For Tour Operators: 4 Tactics To Generate More Leads
Use the Right Online Booking System for Your Tours
Ultimately, it all comes down to how effectively you manage your tours and activities.
Choose the right online booking solution!
An effective booking system will streamline all your administrative tasks, and improve regular communication between you and your guests and with your team. It also helps you plan and organize your tours more efficiently.
Whether you are running a grand cruise tour or smaller tours, tour managers of all sizes and touring professionals in the tourism industry all need the right tools to maximize time management.
An online booking system is definitely worth considering if you wish to improve tour management.