Personalized tours: how tour operators can sell unique experiences

Personalized tours: how tour operators can sell unique experiences

Mar 9, 2023
5 min read

Personalized tours are customized travel experiences tailored to an individual's preferences, interests, and budget. They are designed to create an itinerary unique to each traveler, offering a more intimate and authentic travel experience.

According to data from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report, before the coronavirus pandemic, travel and tourism (including its direct and indirect impacts) represented one in four new jobs created worldwide, i.e., 10.3% of all jobs. So, it is undeniable: tourism is essential for the world economy.

Now, with the steady return of travel, encouraged by the end of periods of social isolation, the positive economic scenario is again part of the sector.

To learn more about the trends, read post pandemic travel trends: how travelers choose tours in 2022.

Recent indicators from the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) reinforce that, in 2023, there is a general feeling of returning to travel, and this leverages some types of business that seemed not to have so much demand previously, such as personalized tours, that increasingly appear as a request from some travelers.

In this article, you will find tips to sell tours and personalized experiences.

Benefits of a personalized tour for tourists and operators

In the case of travelers, personalized tours, especially with a tour guide, are a great way to travel and reduce the language barriers that are always present when traveling to destinations where the official language is not the native language of tourists. In addition, personalized tours bring tourists closer to the cultural differences of the places they visit in an exclusive way, making the experience more attractive and memorable, which any traveler seeks when touristing around.

Thinking of logistics, everything also becomes more manageable. Although trips always carry an atmosphere of adventure, some destinations require prior knowledge from tourists about routes, transport, accommodation, and leisure facilities. Otherwise, the dream trip can become an absolute nightmare. With personalized tours, however, this can be avoided since travelers gain time with the prior organization proposed by tour operators or guides.

In the case of tour operators, offering personalized tours, in addition to a differential in services, is certainly also a way to increase revenue, considering that personalized tours have particular travel, accommodation, and leisure requirements.

Another benefit for operators is loyalty. Those who work in sales know that acquiring a new customer is much more expensive than retaining one. In this way, when the personalized services offered work as expected by the consumer, the chance of repurchasing is much greater, guaranteeing future revenue and resources savings for attracting new customers.

Diversification is also very positive in a competitive scenario because companies cannot be hostage to just one type of service, considering that the drop in sales can directly affect revenue. It is very important to diversify the offers. In this way, think about offering alternatives to services with more output.

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How to advertise personalized tours

Nowadays, before selling something , a product, or a service, companies need to know: buying online via mobile devices is a profitable reality. We've already mentioned in another article that customers are comfortable researching, booking and planning their entire trip to a new travel destination on a mobile device, which means that investing in online ads targeted at customers who tend to like personalized services is something that can guarantee more success when it comes to marketing this specific service.

However, it is not enough just to create advertisements or produce social media content, the personalizations needs to be worked on strategically, that's why you should know the customers (or potential customers) very well and understand who they are, what their travel preferences are and, more than that, how they buy.

An additional report from 2020 showed that, with the advancement of digital processes involving websites and apps, some operators already report that 2 out of 5 reservations made online originate from a mobile device.

And, in addition, the numbers also revealed that customers who shop online tend to spend 50% more on tours and other activities during their travels, which categorizes them as a promising market.

Here are a few examples of award-winning personalized tour providers:

  1. Context Travel - Context Travel offers walking tours in more than 20 cities worldwide. They focus on providing deep, insider knowledge of a destination and have won multiple awards for their personalized approach to travel.
  2. TCS World Travel - TCS World Travel provides luxury travel experiences focusing on personalized service. They have won numerous awards for their exceptional itineraries and customized approach to travel.
  3. Indagare - Indagare is a luxury travel company that provides customized trips to destinations worldwide. They have won awards for their personalized travel experiences, attention to detail, and commitment to sustainability.
  4. MIR Corporation - MIR Corporation specializes in travel to the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, offering personalized tours and small-group journeys to these unique destinations. They have won awards for their expertise and customized approach to travel.

These are just a few examples of the many companies that offer personalized tours, take a look at what they’re doing and get inspired by them.

Other tips for selling custom tours online

First, invest in visuals. Social media are extremely visual platforms, which give more space to images than to long texts, for example. Therefore, investing in graphic ads, photos, or video.

However, creating content on social media profiles is not enough, you need to present promotions, send emails with newsletters, and establish a flow of information that is related to the moment of each customer.

You can also work with digital influencers. Just as tourists prefer personalized tours, influencers produce personalized content and, in this way, it may be easier to reach your future customers.

Probably you've had the experience of entering social media and finding an ad about something you were researching on the internet, right? This is increasingly common and has a name: remarketing. The main idea of this strategy is to "follow" users who search for a certain term or have visited a certain website. For example: if a user is looking for a trip to Greece and your operator has a personalized tour there, your ad may appear for that consumer and this is very valuable!

When someone is already interested in what you offer and comes across your ad, conversion is much closer to happening.

Another thing that operators must do is to seek more and more reviews and comments from their customers. In general, the testimonials generate credibility and attest to the quality of the service, functioning as social proof and influencing (for better or for worse) the purchase intention of potential customers. Therefore, highlight the positive comments, place them on the website, on social media and encourage your customers to rate the company and personalized tours on travel sites and also on Google

Some operators even invest in advantages for travelers who leave comments and ratings on their services. You can even create a benefits program to reward customers who regularly review their experiences.

For custom tours, custom booking

The personalization of the experience is an important factor not only for the trip itself but also for the purchase of the trip. Information from Think With Google states that 57% of travelers believe that companies should personalize the shopping experience, creating offers according to travelers' behavior, preferences, and past choices. And all this is very possible thanks to the tools of the online sales platforms of social networks, which already have segmentations and tracking of helpful information that can collaborate with sales.

Finally, remember to research the competition to recognize the differential of your services and to have a good parameter of the values practiced in the market, in order not to position your offers too much above or below what they charge around, guaranteeing competitive prices, but at the same time not decreasing your profits.

After all these tips, it will be much easier to market the personalized tours your operator offers, but don't forget to pay attention to your sales channels. Whether you’re making your sales directly or indirectly, working with a booking systems helps you increase revenue and provide an greater experience to your customers. With TrekkSoft, for example, you can:

  • Turn your website into your most effective sales channel.
  • Upseel bookings with add-ons or package your tours to create unique and attractive experiences.
  • Take credit card payments online and in-store.
  • And more.

If you're a tour or activity company and want to increase your customer experiences with personalized tours, we have the solution for you.

Schedule a call with our team!

Gabriela Cofre Torres
Posted by Gabriela Cofre Torres
Content writer with a background in customer success and sales, Gabriela enjoys exploring Latin America, reading, and DIY projects.
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