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The Tourpreneur Travel Community conducted a survey among travel technology companies to better understand the challenges tour operators encounter. Here we explore the top three identified challenges faced by operators and discuss effective solutions to address them.

 

Challenge 1: Marketing and Sales

One of the most common challenges for tour operators is navigating the complexities of marketing and sales. Finding the right sales channels, standing out among competitors, and building brand awareness can seem like a formidable task. However, operators often overlook the potential of their current customer base as a profitable sales channel.

Leveraging the Current Customer Base

Your existing customer base can serve as a powerful source of referrals and repeat bookings for two main reasons. First, recommendations from satisfied customers act as a strong endorsement, leading to new customers without significant marketing costs. Second, encouraging repeat bookings from contented customers boosts profitability, as these customers already know and trust your services. By providing excellent experiences and maintaining strong relationships, you can nurture customer loyalty, resulting in increased revenue over time.

Increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%.

Harvard Business School


According to a Harvard Business School study, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%. This underscores the importance of focusing on repeat business as a substantial growth strategy.

Fotaflo's Role

Fotaflo acts as a “Referral and Remarketing Platform for Tour and Activity Operators.” By helping operators capture and automatically deliver memories of customers enjoying their experiences, Fotaflo enables operators to create a visual story that showcases the value and excitement of their offerings. This engaging content can be easily shared by customers through their social channels, increasing the likelihood of referrals and word-of-mouth marketing.

By strategically resending guest memories at time-stamped future intervals, i.e. the 1, 2, and 3-year anniversary of their experience, Fotaflo strengthens brand awareness and stimulates ongoing social sharing and discovery for both customers and their networks, creating a stable revenue stream for operators.

 

Challenge 2: Finding Customers

The second significant challenge for tour operators is locating and securing the right customers. Converting engagements into sales and identifying a target audience or niche market can be a daunting task.

The Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is proven to be the #1 driver of bookings for almost all operators. If you do not have a stable flow of referral customers, you need to ask yourself why. Your current customers provide the most direct link to your next best customer. Their friends and family are likely to have similar interests and the ability to book an experience with you. Instead of trying to find them yourself, let your customers lead you to them with a personal endorsement.

Fotaflo's Solution

Fotaflo’s album widget enables customers to view and share their memories directly on the operator's website. When guests share photos with their friends and family socially, it drives referral leads directly to the operator's website. This seamless customer journey amplifies marketing efforts, strengthens customer engagement, enhances brand visibility, and allows for a seamless transition from guest memories to bookings.

The most popular accounts for travel content are those of personal acquaintances – friends and family. More than half of social users who converted on their recent trip were following the accounts that influenced their decisions."

© 2024 Phocuswright Inc. All Rights Reserved.


A 2024 study by Phocuswright supports this approach, stating: "Social media users place high trust in content and recommendations from people who they know personally. The most popular accounts for travel content are those of personal acquaintances – friends and family. More than half of social users who converted on their recent trip were following the accounts that influenced their decisions."

 

Challenge 3: Digital Presence and Tech Issues

The third major challenge for tour operators involves managing digital presence and tech-related tasks, including website development, SEO management, social media content creation, and understanding booking systems.

Effortless Social Media Content Creation

Social media content creation can be time-consuming for operators who, let’s be honest, didn't get into business to become social media experts. By encouraging guests to share their authentic memories across their own personal channels, operators can achieve organic reach beyond their own finite social media following. This genuine content, shared by guests with personal connections, acts as a potent endorsement and exponentially expands the brand's reach.

Fotaflo's Solution

Fotaflo’s platform revolves around the power of earned media. The software allows guests to seamlessly share their memories via direct links with commonly used social apps. Every guest who receives their memories becomes a micro-influencer, stimulating a compounding effect of brand awareness throughout their social networks. This is achieved without any incentive other than the desire to share the amazing experience provided by the operator.

 

"Images are the most common format shared on social media, by an overwhelming margin."

73% of travellers share images vs. 42% short-form video.

© 2024 Phocuswright Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

Privy to recent industry hype over the necessity for “short-form vertical video”?

Turns out “Images are the most common format shared on social media, by an overwhelming margin." 73% of travelers share images/photos, vs. 42% short-form video.

Although Fotaflo supports photo and video files, we’ve always promoted sharing photos of guests, which are so easy to capture and using video to send personal “thank you messages” from your guides which are included with their photos and mean so much more to your guests.

Conclusion

Tour operators face various challenges in the highly competitive travel industry, including marketing and sales, finding the right customers, and managing digital presence and tech-related issues. By leveraging their current customer base for referrals and repeat bookings and utilizing Fotaflo's platform for engaging visual content and earned media, operators can effectively overcome these challenges. With innovative solutions like Fotaflo, tour operators can build stronger brand awareness, increase customer engagement, and ultimately drive more bookings, securing their position in the travel market.

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