As a tour or travel company, then you’ll know how exciting it can be every time someone new books an excursion with your group, or signs up for your next tour. With every new purchase, you unlock a new potential revenue stream from someone who’s clearly interested in whatever you have to offer. This not only validates your position in the market, but it also means that you could be tapping into new marketing segments too!

Of course, just because earning new customers is exciting, doesn’t mean that it should be the only focus in your marketing campaigns. While you do want to attract new people to your tour whenever you can, you also need to recognise that 40% of the revenue for most companies come from only 8% of their customers.

The most valuable people in your network, are the customers that keep coming back to you time and time again. In fact, some experts estimate that the average return client is worth up to ten times their original purchase. So, how do you turn those once-off interactions into relationships with loyal travellers?

1.     Demonstrate Your Value

The easiest way to convince your customers to keep coming back to you instead of shopping elsewhere is to show them what makes you special. There are countless ways that you can do this, from emailing newsletters to your followers with recent updates on new activities and excursions you’ve added to your tour destination, to simply connecting with clients through a phone call.

However, you choose to connect with your clients, make sure that you draw attention to the value you can offer them, without being too salesy. Remind them that you have plenty of great travel experiences for them to tap into and that you’re happy to help them make their next purchasing choice.

2.     Reward Loyalty

Today’s customers love getting freebies and discount codes. If you want to improve your chances that your customers will remain loyal to you, then you need to convince them that their loyalty pays off. Show them that you value their custom by giving them exclusive voucher codes for money off their next tour booking, or simply give them access to discounts and sales before they go on offer elsewhere.

According to one hotels.com survey, exclusive promotions are one of the main reasons why clients remain loyal to certain brands. In other words, this is a strategy you should think about when you want more return clients.

3.     Retarget Your Customers with Emails and Promotions

Sometimes, your customers just need a little extra push to convince them to act on the behalf of your business. Retargeting is a marketing strategy that involves connecting with customers that have already shown interest in your brand and using promotions or media to recapture their attention. You can retarget your customers in a range of different ways, from lead-nurturing emails complete with discount codes to paid display media that reminds them of the fun they had on their last tour with you.

Email retargeting messages can help companies to recover around 29% of abandoned carts. What’s more, it can be a great way to remind your customers of the incredible experience they had with your brand. Try timing your messages carefully to get the best impact. For instance, after a few months have passed, send an email asking your customer if it’s time to book a new tour.

4.     Give Your Customers Peace of Mind

Deciding to book a vacation can be a complicated choice for many customers. When you work in the travel and tourism industry, you’re not just trying to convince people that they should spend a few dollars on a product. Instead, you’re asking them to trust you to give them an incredible experience that can cost quite a bit of money.

Since it’s hard for most of us to know whether we can commit to a vacation, months in advance, it’s important to give your clients a way out if something goes wrong. Creating and enforcing a cancellation policy will help to minimise your revenue loss, and give your clients peace of mind too. Remind your customers that they won’t necessarily lose all their money if they cancel 7 days in advance for instance, and you could find that your travellers feel more comfortable working with you.

5.     Make the Most of Social Proof

Speaking of generating peace of mind for your audience, what better way to show your customers that they can trust you, then to provide them with social proof in the form of happy testimonials and reviews from previous customers? If you see that another 100 people have already been on a tour and loved the time they spent there, then you’ll be more likely to make the same booking. According to experts, there are genuine psychological factors that make social proof crucial when it comes to earning repeat sales.

The question is, how do you access social proof for your brand? Perhaps the simplest option is to request feedback from your clients whenever they go on a tour with you. About a week or so after their vacation, while the experience is still fresh in their mind, send out an email asking for a quick rating or review.

6.     Know How to Respond to Complaints

Finally, remember that even unhappy clients can become repeat customers if you learn how to handle problems effectively. If someone in your network has a problem with the experience that you provided, then make sure you respond to their concerns quickly and effectively. For instance, maybe you promised your group that a tour would start at a certain time, but you ended up being late. If this had a negative impact on your customer’s trip, then you should be prepared to deal with the fallout.

Remember that discounts, free gifts, and even simple apologies can be enough to make a customer reconsider their decision to avoid you in the future.

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Luke is the founder of Thrive Tourism with almost a decade of experience in Online Marketing, consulting and managing campaigns for brands big and small since 2012.

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