How To Improve Customer Experience Online: A Tour Operator’s Guide
Customers are the lifeline of your business. And, good customer experiences can strengthen this lifeline. Research shows that 86% of people will pay better for a product/service if they receive better customer service. That’s not all when you improve customer experience you can increase chances of repeat purchases and turn loyal customers into advocates for your business.
But, a single negative customer experience may cost you revenue even before a new one has set foot into your online tour store. A bad experience can range from a snail-paced tour website to a substandard meal offered in your tour package. 66% of customers are known to leave a service provider, like tour operators mainly due to bad service. Business consultancy firm Walker claims that by 2020, customers will expect personalised experiences. It also states that by then, customer experience will prompt purchases even more than price and products.
You could be the best water sports tour operator, bicycle tour operator, nature tour operator or city tour operator. What counts is your ability offer the best possible tour experience from start to finish. Let’s have a look at what you need to improve your customer’s’ tour experience.
Customer Experience Improvement Guide For Tour Operators
The tour website experience
Travellers find it far easier to research tours online. It helps them plan their vacation time down to the second. This makes an online presence almost mandatory. A highly functional tour website design is just as essential. In case you are already online your tour website design should support certain travel website efficiencies that customers crave, like:
- Quick loading images
- Informative descriptions
- Easy to use options
If your website does not allow this, you need to get a tour website builder that can help you achieve the same. You should be able to showcase your tours through exciting images of the activities, places and cultures your guests will be experiencing. The written content should also reflect this. Include as much information as possible to keep your customers informed. But, make sure to section it well with bullet points or images, to keep customers interested. Again, this is all part of your tour website design.
Tip #1 – You can include links to your YouTube channel to highlight the unique attractions of your tours. Show images and videos of previous customers enjoying your tours too. Try adding short videos with tour reviews by customers as well!
Tip #2 – Browse through your tour website design daily. Check how long it takes to load. Too long and this could be due to heavy images/ media on your site. Check this blog post to correct your image sizes, quality and appearances.
Tip #3 – Read through your website content. Update old information with new facts about the locations you plan on taking guests to. Look out for text formatting errors and broken links as well when reading through your tour website content.
Tip #4 – Don’t forget to check out the mobile version of your website to make sure it is compatible with cellular devices, especially after making backend changes, in case you use the services of a website developer and not a website builder software.
The tour booking experience
How easy is it for customers to book your tours? Most people are looking for quick and easy steps. So, if your booking process takes too long, it’s time to inspect why and get rid of unnecessary steps. Try to maintain 3 to 4 steps, like:
1- Tour date selection
2 – Tour participant + Add-on requirement selection
3 – Participant details
4 – Payment option selection
Tip#1 – Through a booking system, based on your requirements delete unnecessary booking fields and steps. For example, if you are a water sports tour operator, you wouldn’t need to know if your customer is vegetarian or not unless you are providing the option of food/ snacks.
Tip #2 – Not all travellers are pros at booking tours online, so, you can simplify the booking process further. Simply include a section on the booking page with your contact details. This way, you can book spots for them in no time at all and send them payment links via email or SMS.
Tip #3 – Another thing you can test out is your speed at using your own system. Practice using your booking system’s backend so you can increase the speed at which you book tours for customers. Test out the front end booking option as well to guide customers, should they need any assistance while booking.
Tip #4 – A smart booking engine can improve customer experience more by delivering the correct information on time. Tour software providers like Vacation Labs offer a tour reservation system that keeps track of seats booked so far and how many are left. Accordingly, tour dates on your website will display tour and tour seat information. like in the following –
The tour payment experience
Customers want to know their bank details are secure. So, besides focusing on your tour website design, you also need to concentrate on customer safety. To do this you will need to integrate with a trustworthy payment gateway that allows payment in different currency. The latter is essential because your customers may be from various parts of the world. And, do you really want to lose multiple international customers to a small payment inconvenience?
Besides currency options, customers may also have specific preferences when it comes to the mode of payment. For example, credit card, debit card or net banking. Your tour reservation system needs to offer them a variety of options.
Tip #1 – Test how your payment links work. This will help you understand the system yourself help customers better.
Tip #2 – If you do not have an account with a particular payment gateway, travel technology experts like Vacation Labs have a tour reservation system that allows you to still collect payment minus the hassle of setting up a personal account with multiple payment gateways.
The tour review experience
Travellers love to read reviews before booking tours. And, the better the reviews and ratings the higher are your chances of scoring additional bookings. But, all that glitters is not gold. In case all you have are positive reviews, your customers may be suspicious. So, avoid deleting negative reviews posted on your site. In fact, respond to them with a solution or apologize for mistakes from your end, or inform the customer as to why you couldn’t fulfil their requests.
Tip #1 – Try to acquire reviews on TripAdvisor for your tours. Travellers are known to check out tour operator reviews there before picking one. Also, it is an unbiased platform that prioritises all reviews equally.
Tip #2 – Always take some time to look at the reviews you have received on TripAdvisor, social media platforms, email or over call. Use them as feedback to improve your services. Always respond to them in a polite manner, even if one of those negative reviews is by a rude customer, who happens to be wrong. Remember, people are reading these reviews, so leave a good impression.
The tour experience
This is where your tour expertise comes in! Show customers the best time on your tour. Talk to your customers and be informative. Try creating a unique experience that customers won’t forget.
Tip #1 – Send pre-tour reminders. Include a ‘what to carry list’ in these so your guests come prepared. For example, you provide walking tours, remind your customers to wear comfortable shoes and clothing, bring sunscreen and a shady hat (if your tour is during the day) and other essential requirements. Also, you can provide free water and snacks to keep customers happy.
Tip #2 – Once the tour ends, make it a point to ask all your guests for feedback and request them to review you online. This can be done through your tour software- via emails and SMS. Or, use other review collection methods like these. It will ensure customers you are concerned about their thoughts and feelings, not only their money.
As simple as these tips may appear, they are bound to make your customers happy. They should also help you maintain loyal customers. Customer experience greatly influences purchase decisions. Improve it for your tours today to guarantee the best experience in the future. Because, why else would they want to book your tours if not for the experience?
If you’d like to know more about customer experience when it comes to tours and activities, feel free to reach out to us. We are the best at travel technology and we’d like to help you!