Choosing which tour to add to a vacation itinerary is a complicated decision. U.S. travelers have to weigh many factors including their schedule, what their travel companions want to do, price, weather, reviews and more when deciding which tour is a right fit for their trip. But what factors play the most important role in this choice?
The convenience of tour schedules is a top reason travelers chose a specific tour, followed by the ability to see famous, bucket-list-type sites. The price of the tour is also a big factor.
Travelers have different reasons for taking tours depending on the type of tour. For example, seeing famous sites such as the Grand Canyon, the Hollywood sign or the Alamo is especially important among U.S. travelers taking bus tours or having an experience with a local guide. Whereas, travelers taking an active adventure or eco/nature tour, or a more unique tour with a local, say the positive TripAdvisor reviews, online photos and captivating tour descriptions play an essential role in their decision-making process.
Operator Takeaway: Focus on Schedule & Content
Not unlike travelers, operators manage many factors to make their tour more appealing.
They must have enough availability to fit into busy traveler schedules and provide convenient and flexible departure times. They must ensure they have frequent and many positive online reviews to build trust with new customers who likely have never heard of your business. They must ensure the descriptions of their tours across all distribution platforms are accurate and engaging, and that their images and videos of tours are high quality and magnetic.
Operators should first identify scheduling that makes sense to them and their guests, and establish a competitive price to attract more U.S. travelers. Tour owners should then optimize their tours by focusing on clear, compelling content to build a strong digital presence. As reviews are vital to many operators, be sure to follow-up with your past guests to incentivize them to write a review, such as with discount codes and even small gifts like cool stickers with your tour logo.
Additionally, don’t get stuck on things that are important to you, but not to your guests. Travelers don’t seem to care about industry awards or certifications. So operators should be thoughtful about certifications to ensure the investment is justified.
And while everyone supposedly loves Instagram, it’s not that impactful for travelers in the actual tour selection process. It may drive brand awareness and inspire travelers generally, but when it comes to choosing and booking the specific tour, travelers need a lot more than a pretty picture.
For more insights on U.S. in-destination travelers, download Arival’s recent report, Why We Tour: Inside the Mind of the Modern Tour Taker.