Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

5 Strategies To Reduce Tour and Activity Staff Turnover

Last updated on November 16, 2022
7 minute read
Key Takeaways

  • Put your best efforts into hiring and training employees.
  • Staff are the face of your business and directly affect the guest experience.
  • Offer incentives and continued support to reduce staff turnover.

Skill Level

Beginner, Intermediate

When you put a lot of time and energy into hiring the right staff for your tour or activity business, you really want them to stick around. Of course, with highly seasonal businesses and changes in the job market such as worker shortages, it can sometimes be challenging to avoid employee turnover.  

That’s why it’s so important to focus your efforts not only on hiring, but on retaining your staff as well. Here are some tips for retaining the right employees and accomplishing your company-wide goals.

1. Incentivize Returning Employees

For businesses that operate seasonally, there’s always the question of whether your employees will return for your next season. Whether you offer ski lessons or whale watching tours, many of your tour guides seek other employment during your off season – leaving you to wonder if they’ll return next year.

One strategy for retaining staff at your seasonal business is to offer a wage increase for returning employees. You can do this on a scale so that more senior employees are eligible or receive a better increase than newer employees. 

If you experience regular seasonal turnover, consider incentivizing your current employees by offering a referral bonus for any new hires they refer to the business. 

2. Cover Equipment and Certification Costs

From whitewater rafting guides to scuba instructors, many businesses hire for positions that require additional equipment and training. For young outdoor industry workers, oftentimes the required equipment or cost of mandatory certifications can feel like a barrier to entry. 

If you’re able, offer a stipend (or cover the cost) for your tour guides’ required equipment or training. For example, if you require new hires to be CPR-certified, covering the cost of the class and certification is an excellent way to show your employees you have their best interests at heart – and they will hopefully return the favor by choosing to stay with a business that looks after their needs. 

3. Extend Your Season

a group of people on a boat in the water

While workers in the tour and activity industry are no strangers to seasonal work, they certainly appreciate longer employment opportunities. Extending your season is not only great for your employees, but it’s a big bonus to your bottom line.

Consider staying open during the tourism shoulder seasons and exploring ways to continue attracting customers during that time. This could involve special discounts, new activities, and local partnerships.

Fortunately, you have access to a webinar and additional Compass guide full of tips on extending your season into the shoulder months. 

4. Improve the Employee Experience

Employee retention can be achieved by ensuring your staff members have everything they need to be successful at their jobs. Here are just a few ways to improve the overall experience working at your business.

  • Support employees in receiving tips for a job well done! You can do this by including signage at your front desk, letting staff post their Venmo or Cash App information, and a few other methods (check them out here). 
  • Host company-wide events and/or team-building experiences that let employees take a break and do something fun together.
  • Use a staff scheduling software to allow employees to easily request time off, switch shifts, and view their schedules on the go. 
  • Help staff stay organized by setting up custom calendars in your FareHarbor Dashboard and enabling notifications so your team knows where they need to be at any point.
  • Help employees deal with difficult customers. Be ready to back them up if a situation escalates to management.

5. Express Interest in Your Employees

Make your employees feel appreciated by actively taking an interest in their hobbies, backgrounds, interests outside of work, and how they are doing at their job. Understanding their ambitions will help you get to know them better and identify what opportunities you can create for them at your business.

Taking an active interest in your employees also helps you notice when they are feeling burnt out. For example, when they start to show up late or seem uninterested, you should have enough of a relationship with them to intervene and come to a solution together. 

When you get an inkling that an employee might be planning to leave your business, it’s up to you to do everything you can – like adjusting their role or talking about incentives and promotion opportunities. 

Remember, your business depends on employees to create an incredible guest experience. Friendly check-in staff, knowledgeable local experts and excellent tour guides can make the difference between a 5-star review and an average or bad rating. 

Need help finding the right candidates? Read up on what makes a great tour guide.

Related Guides