The following tips were presented by Director of Australian Luxury Escapes, Grant Charlesworth at the Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference in December 2020.
Due to COVID-19, the Eco and Luxury tourism sectors will be subject to significant change over the coming 12 months. Businesses should be focussed on their viability and profitability, with small changes key to capturing the unique opportunity that is on offer. Customers may be looking for more meaningful tourism experiences over the coming years, presenting an environment for small tour operators to thrive.
1. Upgrade your product offering to a more upmarket experience
This will fuel the ongoing demand for luxury, boutique experiences whilst creating potential for an additional revenue stream. Review your product offering and see what opportunities exist for upgrade, value add or collaboration. This enables you to charge more, cross promote with other suppliers/operators, and provide your guests with a richer experience.
- Offering premium transfers to and from your tour or main product offering.
- Collaborating with a local restaurant to provide lunch/meal services to package into your main product offering.
2. Review your distribution
Work out where your niche is and do some research into who can best assist you in distributing or selling your product. Price your rates accordingly and then target domestic or international travel wholesalers. Sometimes your margins may be less but there are big advantages involved in engaging with wholesalers and travel agents.
3. System Development
The number one system development never used is customer retention. There are so many simple and cost-effective ways in which you can engage your customers on an ongoing basis.
Unfortunately, most people spend the majority of their time chasing new customers and fail to look after their existing client base. If you are not looking after your clients someone else will be.
If you haven’t already, consider creating an engaging and relevant newsletter to send to your existing customer database. Facebook and Instagram are two proven platforms for engaging with existing and returning customers.
4. Customer Service
This really should be a no brainer but too many tour operators fail to spend the time or have the right attitude for premium customer service. We are in the service industry after all, so we are here to serve. Engaging with your clients meaningfully will improve their experience, promote customer retention, and increases your chances of upsell and word of mouth promotion.
The pandemic has created a lot of disruption in our sector, but with disruption comes opportunity! Potential customers are going to be looking at more meaningful experiences moving forward, and ecotourism operators are poised to deliver this. Now is the time to take action to fully capitalise on these opportunities.
Grant Charlesworth is Owner/Operator of Advanced Ecotourism certified Australian Luxury Escapes. Australian Luxury Escapes has been established for over 27 years, specialising in luxury small group and private touring throughout the whole of Australia. For more information visit their website, here
[Cover image courtesy of: Alice Springs Desert Park / Facebook]