Travel Customer Loyalty: Strategies for Multi-Day Tour Operators to Encourage Unity and Friendship Within Groups
Many multi-day tour operators will agree that seeing lasting friendships form within travel groups is one of the most rewarding parts of the job. Though it can often be overlooked, driving travel customer loyalty through key strategies for multi-day tour operators to encourage unity and friendship within groups can be beneficial foir a variety of reasons. Because for many travelers, going on a trip with other people they don’t know is not just a way to visit a new destination: it’s a way to connect with other people. In fact, 9 out of 10 solo travelers say they prefer to travel via tour all or most of the time! Whether it’s a single person looking to do solo travel with others, a couple looking to feel more included, or just a group of family or friends hoping to have the time of their life and meet new people, tour operators can shape once-in-a-lifetime experiences for those that travel with them.
Millennials and younger generations are increasingly looking to guided tours to help them travel with ease and companionship. Tour operators have a special responsibility to create environments in which passengters can find unity and camaraderie so that everyone can feel included, amenable, and engaged. By fostering feelings of community in the world’s most sought-after destinations, tour operators can ensure that they are leaving their travelers with unforgettable memories, new friends, raving reviews, and future planned trips before the current one is even over! And since repeat customers spend 67% more than first time customers on tours, it’s a good idea to implement strategies that will leave passengers excited to see their new friends in new places.
The good news is that there are simple ways to make people feel more at ease, familiar, and eager to share time together. It all starts with making passengers feel welcome, comfortable, and acknowledged. With a few strategies and encouragements, your travelers will become lifelong travel partners and loyal customers in no time. After all, 77% of Americans say that they have made great friendships while traveling! On your next trip, consider implementing some of these relationship-building activities.
Facilitate Introductions with Ice Breakers
Multi-day tour operators can set the tone for unity from the very beginning by incorporating ice-breaking activities. These can range from simple introductions to more interactive team-building exercises. Breaking down initial barriers encourages participants to engage with each other, fostering a sense of openness and camaraderie from the start. Some ideas to get started: have everyone share their favorite past vacation spots, what inspired them to choose the current trip, or have everyone name their favorite filming location from a movie they’ve seen.
Schedule Group Dining Options
Shared meals provide an excellent opportunity for travelers to connect on a personal level. Multi-day tour operators can organize group dining experiences, whether it’s a local culinary tour, a communal picnic, or themed dinners. Sharing food is a universal bonding experience, and it creates a relaxed environment for participants to socialize and build connections. To make it more interactive, have travelers sit next to someone they don’t know!
Plan Cultural Immersion Activities
Multi-day tour operators can enhance unity by incorporating cultural immersion activities into the itinerary. This could include participating in local traditions, attending cultural events, or engaging in community service. Shared experiences within the local culture create a sense of connection among participants and deepen their understanding of each other. Try pairing people up with new faces to encourage more communication between travelers.
Create Opportunities For Reflection
Building unity and friendship requires moments of reflection. Tour operators can organize group discussions or reflective sessions where participants can share their thoughts and experiences. This provides a platform for individuals to express themselves, fostering a deeper understanding of each other and creating a supportive atmosphere within the group. It can be lighthearted and fun, too – start by sharing your own funny story from previous trips to get people laughing and engaged.
Provide Flexibility & Free Time
While structured activities are essential, allowing for some free time and flexibility in the itinerary encourages organic interactions among participants. Whether it’s exploring a local market together or taking an impromptu hike, providing space for spontaneity allows friendships to develop naturally. Making a few suggestions for what to do will help prompt some common interests between travelers.
Facilitate Communication Channels
Multi-day tour operators can leverage technology to create communication channels among participants. Setting up group chats or forums allows travelers to share tips, make plans, and coordinate activities. Establishing a platform for communication before and during the tour enhances the sense of community and enables participants to connect more easily. Try using apps like GroupMe or shared photo albums and encourage travelers to follow along and post on social media together.
Bonus: Consider adding affinity tours to your product offerings!
Travel groups formed on affinity or niche are on the rise: according to a recent study by Virtuoso for YouGov, 80% of travelers express a willingness to spend more on brands that tailor products to their individual tastes, including tour operators! Take women’s travel groups, for example: sales for those are up 230% in the past six years. As travelers seek more personalized trips that are catered to their interests and allow them to connect with like-minded people, tour operators have a special opportunity to offer products. The sky’s the limit: niche or affinity travel groups can be anything from adventure-seekers to farming and organic foodies to history buffs. This is a built-in way to get your passengers to form connections.
Remember that these are suggestions for encouragement, not demands! Everyone has different and personal travel preferences. It’s a good idea to get a sense of what your passengers are looking for before departing on a trip. However, as a multi-day tour operator, you can bring a lot of help to form bonds for a more wholistic travel experience for everyone. Don’t forget to keep the connections going post-trip, through social media connections, email reminders, and group chats. Keeping up with your passengers and creating stronger travel customer loyalty is made much easier with the right travel CRM & Marketing software solution, as well! When you stay organized and on top of your overall tour experiences, there’s no doubt that the new friends will be eager to sign up for a new destination the next year.