Tourism is booming.
In the United States alone, the travel and tourism industry brought in over $1.5 trillion. Over 7.6 million jobs are in the tourism industry as well, making it incredibly important for the economy. Globally, this value jumps to $7.6 trillion annually and supplies jobs to 292 million people.
Tourism, in short, is big business.
It is also very competitive. You need to do all you can to prepare for peak season as a tour company to stay successful. Peak season is a hectic time, but don’t let it sneak up on you. Instead, take advantage of it. With these top tips, you can easily prepare for peak season.
Solidify Your Business Model
The first step for preparing for peak season is to ensure that your company is primed. You need to:
- Improve your business model
- Improve marketing efforts
- Improve your facilities
- Improve your management
To do this, you will need to audit your company. How you process data should be fast and instantaneous, especially if you accept online bookings. This way you can quickly fill tour slots without overbooking or losing a reservation.
You will also need to improve your website. Your website needs to be new, attractive, and easy to use. It is your main portal to accepting new guests. You can do this efficiently using an e-commerce platform. Offer discounts to those who book in advance, and you will be able to enjoy a successful season before it starts. In fact, discounts are often a great way to get people to buy. People love a deal.
To improve the back house operations of your company you might need to reinvest. Get business loans as necessary, because a great tour company is one that always grows. If you need new computers, invest in them. If you need to redo your tour’s lobby, do it. Appearance is incredibly essential, but the organization is key.
Tips for Hiring and Training
Peak season means plenty of tourists. You will need to have trained staff on hand that can handle the influx of tourists. You also need them to provide your customers with an excellent experience.
How to Hire Great Talent for Peak Season
Most tour guides are likely to be seasonal workers like college students. They have the summer off and want to make money doing something fun and different. It’s a great option for both of you. To find these students, try to use social media. Get your current employees to share it and encourage others to share it from there. This way you can get free advertising and avoid the limits on Facebook’s marketing.
You can improve training amongst your staff by creating packages, videos, and even using external programs.
Create Guide Packages
Create booklets or packages that contain all the information that they need to know. This should include how to answer specific questions, what their tour routes will be, what information they need to know, and so on.
Create Training Videos
You can alternatively create videos to provide this information. Simply upload them to a site like YouTube and set them to private. You can then share the link to new employees before they start so that they can learn what they need to in advance.
Choose External Programs
You should also consider sponsoring them for external programs. Having them certified in first aid is a good option. You can use this fact to bring in more customers, and even reduce your insurance costs.
Offer Incentives to Return
If you can convince the same students to return year after year to cover peak season, you reduce the cost of training. They will also be more knowledgeable and able to provide better service to your customers. Some incentives to offer include:
- Higher wages each year
- Discounts for friends and family
To get them to come back, however, you have to provide an excellent working culture. This means having a zero tolerance policy on violence. If a customer hurts your employee intentionally, then they have to go. This will make your employees feel safe and happy to return.
Get Your Seasonal Equipment Up and Ready
Great staff are essential for any tour company. Equipment that isn’t falling apart is another. You might want to consider getting equipment loans to cover the cost of buying new boats or scooters for your guests. Another option is to get a commercial loan to redo your facilities.
You should also bring in a safety inspector to certify your equipment. Doing so can again lower your insurance rates and be used to advertise your services. If your tour includes the use of a bus or car, it needs to be in full working order. Customers won’t be happy if it looks like it is falling apart, and might want their money back.
Better equipment can also be useful in increasing pricing. People who want a budget experience aren’t likely to book a tour in the first place. By improving your equipment and offering new, shiny tour vehicles, you can bring in customers with bigger budgets. By providing early bird discounts, you can fill in the rest of your bookings with those who love a deal.
To run a successful tour company you need to be on top of orders, have well-trained staff, and working equipment. It can all cost a lot. If you don’t have money left over from last season, consider getting a small business loan. That way you can reinvest your money into your tour company and pay it off throughout the peak seasons.
Tourism is booming and will continue to boom as cheap travel tickets become the norm. Don’t let your competition get the better of you and instead reinvest and prepare in advance. Get the right data management system to handle bookings. Redo your website. Offer incentives to book early, and so much more. An organized tour company is critical, so ensure everyone involved knows what they are doing, and you will see great success.