Tailoring Experiences: How Custom Tours Can Transform Your Business
As a tour or activity operator, you’re always looking for ways to attract more customers or improve the guest experience. One idea you could consider is offering a custom or semi-customizable tour.
A custom tour is a type of private tour experience that allows your customers to pick and choose elements of your tour or activity. The degree of customization depends on what you’re offering and how much flexibility you want to allow.
Take a food tour, for example. You could allow customers to choose which 3-5 locations they go to (out of a predetermined list) so they can make their tour more personalized.
Travelers are looking for more meaningful experiences and custom tours are a step in the right direction. If you already offer private tours or want to further diversify your business, read on to discover how custom tours can set your business apart from the competition.
Benefits of Custom Tours
Customers and tour operators alike can see many advantages to personalized tours. Here are a few of the major ones!
- Gain more repeat customers. When your customers can customize part of their experience, they may be likely to return to your business to try new activities. More importantly, 69% of travelers say they will be more loyal to a provider that personalizes their experiences (We Are Marketing).
- Increase revenue. Since there is a high demand for private, customized tours, you can charge a premium rate that customers will be willing to pay.
- Differentiate your business. Custom tours can help you beat the competition by having more to offer than other companies in your area.
- New way to market your business. Even if someone can’t afford a custom experience or can’t book one right now, you can market your custom tour to showcase everything your business has to offer. Customers may be enticed to book your regular activities too!
For Your Customers:
- Personalized to each group’s interests. Your customers can pick and choose which aspects of the tour are most important to them, which will enhance their time at your business. Bonus! This can also lead to higher tips.
- More memorable. When customers get to choose their own adventure with their preferred small group, it will make for a better overall experience.
- Logistically easier. Custom tour groups will typically feature smaller groups of people which means the logistics are more manageable for the tour guide and the group does not get held up as much. This is especially true because the small group will all know one another.
- More Inclusive. If you have staff that speaks several languages — use this to your advantage! You can offer custom tours in many languages to increase inclusivity.
Things to Consider Before Launching Your Custom Tour
Before you add any new offering to your lineup, it is important to do your research and due diligence to make sure it will run as smoothly as possible. Of course, this is no different for a custom tour!
Understand Your Customers and What They Expect
A great way to see what your customers love or what they think needs improving is by reading your reviews. These can be reviews for your regular tours or, better yet, your private tours if you already have that as an offering.
Pro Tip: Look at reviews of competitors that already offer a custom tour. This can help shape what you end up offering or at least give you a good jumping off point.
You can also look at surveys you have run in the past to see what your customers want more or less of. If you haven’t conducted a survey before, consider sending one before you launch to gain some added insight.
Think Outside The Box to Create an Experience that Stands Out
Once you have done your initial research, consider what can set you apart from other custom tours. For instance, if you run a multi-day bike tour excursion, you can decide to add high-end or electric bikes as an added perk for every custom tour booked.
Custom Experiences Will be Different for Each Business
With any new strategy or offering you implement, there is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution. If you are feeling a little lost on how to create your custom tour, perhaps start small with only the option to customize your most popular offering.
Lean On (and Market!) Your Local Knowledge and Connections
If you have a well established business, use the strong relationship you have with the local area and other operators to your benefit! With a great reputation and reviews, your customers will want to try your custom tour and get excited about the new personalization options.
Be Responsive to All Interested Customers
Make sure to answer all inquiries about your custom tour as quickly as possible. This will help to build trust with your customers who are trying out your new offering. And it will keep them from booking elsewhere!
Logistical Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting this Tour
It’s important to think of the following details before diving head first into launch. Note that these answers may differ from tour to tour!
- What ages can book or go on the tour?
- What will the custom tour cost? Will there be different pricing tiers?
- Will you provide accommodation for a multi-day trip?
- Will there be a limit to the number of spots to visit or activities?
- Anything else pertinent to your specific business!
Pro Tip: What you charge for your custom tour is up to you and based on your fixed and variable costs, but many operators charge around 30% more for a custom tour.
Custom tours may not work for every business, but if you’re looking for a new way to expand your revenue, this could be the ticket! See below for more types of offerings that can help you reach a new customer type.