Where Opportunities Lie in Tours & Activities

Frida Kops   ● 7 min read
This article forms part of a weekly newsletter series that’s sent directly to travel industry professionals every Friday.
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There are some opportunities and tactics that have arisen recently which tour operators could implement to help generate bookings. I’ll delve into a few of the most noteworthy.

Let’s get started.

Here's this week's roundup:

Comment: Trade Needs to Lead Recovery From the Front

new opportunities for tour operators be the change

There is a well-known quote by Mahatma Gandhi “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Giles Hawke, Cosmos chief executive delivers a similar message. He encourages travel professionals to lead by example and become travel advocates. In short, Hawke decides to travel again by going ahead with his own holiday to France.

He reminds us that tourism is important not only from an economic perspective but also from a mental wellbeing perspective. New opportunities for tour operators can and will arise after they start leading from the front.

“How can I encourage people to book holidays with my business if I’m not prepared to go out and travel myself?”

– Giles Hawke, Cosmos chief executive

Travelling yourself and sharing those experiences with your customers. Can you imagine a more powerful endorsement than that? It is a perfect chance for tour operators to show confidence in the products they are offering.

Hawke states that “travel is a force for good”. Despite all the economic uncertainty, and deficient government measures our industry will survive. Let’s not forget how strong and resilient it is.

I’m curious, how soon do you plan to travel? 

Read the full article here.

Honeymoon Enquiries ‘hit Post-lockdown High’

new opportunities for tour operators honeymoon

Luxury UK tour operator, Kuoni, “hit their highest level” of honeymoon enquiries since lockdown. Surprisingly, people are ready to take “mini-moons” even this year.

Could this be a new opportunity for tour operators? According to this data, I’d say yes.

Even for those couples who aren’t in a hurry to “mini-moon” right away, they’re already planning their long-haul honeymoons for 2021 and 2022 which opens up fresh opportunities for tour operators. Couples with more time to plan ahead and save money, are choosing to “upgrade” these trips in various ways.

For example, extending their stay, upgrading to luxury accommodation, visiting multiple destinations and booking a variety of tours and experiences. This is where tour operators can reap the benefits by offering a personalised customer service experience.

Greece, Spain, and Italy are top honeymoon destinations for this year. The Maldives are a top long-haul spot for the next year. Likewise, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa are also among popular destinations. It seems like the trend for isolation and minimal interaction I discussed a few months ago still applies.

Read the full article here.

Interested to learn about post-pandemic customer trends?

I discuss them in detail in this article.

ITB Virtual Convention Addresses Burning Post COVID-19 Questions

new opportunities for tour operators covid19

The recent ITB webinar titled “Planning for what will come, not for what was” outlined “the big picture of global post corona tourism”. Prof. Dr. Roland Conrady hosted this online event emphasising that “there will be no quick return to normality”

PhoCusWright founder Philip C. Wolf suggests travel companies should “tear up the old budgets and roadmaps”. I couldn’t agree more. Just look at how much the landscape has changed already over the past 6 months. Even now, we are only in the initial phase of a tentative recovery.

What this means for travel professionals is that many missteps and more change is still to come. There’s no point clinging to what worked in the past, but instead, be ready to adapt as things unfold in the present.

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”

– Peter Drucker, business consultant

Revenge Travel

PhoCusWright founder refers to the concept of “revenge travel”. It describes the behaviour of people who look forward to catching up on missed travel opportunities. Consequently, attacking their bucket lists with ferocity.

He confirms that although leisure travel has a lot of pent-up demand, regional differences will affect the speed of tourism recovery. 

For example, the lack of American tourists in Europe will have a serious impact on the economic recovery of European tourism.

However, other destinations that can leverage their isolated locations and low population density, such as Alaska, Iceland and New Zealand, may thrive bringing new opportunities for tour operators.

Overall, Wolf stresses that the winners of tomorrow will be travel professionals making travel not just safer, but better. Focusing on sustainability and automation is a crucial step in that direction. 

You can watch the full webinar here.

Interested to know how to make your tour offers not just safer, but better? This article provides detailed information.

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Here's my top-tip articles:

How to Sell Escorted Tours to Solo Travellers

new opportunities for tour operators solo traveller

According to an ABTA report, 15% of respondents chose to travel alone in 2018. In a recent survey by Intrepid Travel, this has risen to 40% now preferring to travel solo. 

Do you agree that this is a strong indicator solo travellers will lead the way in travel again?

There’s a general consensus that solo travellers don’t use tour operators, but this may change given the current climate. Travelling with a reputable tour operator can help to ease their mind if feeling nervous. 

The tips described below will help you to approach solo travellers efficiently.

  • Highlight the benefits. Explain why travelling with a small group might be better for them. Clarify how they can avoid the frustrating process of researching safe destinations. Play up the security level of booking through a professional tour operator. It is also worth mentioning the H&S measures you are putting in place.
  • Intensify the sociability factor. There are people out there who are eager to travel, while their partners and friends are not. This is an opportunity for your travel company to convince determined travellers to book solo.

“For those who may have spent months self‑isolating alone, there’s likely to be a strong appeal in the prospect of getting out and meeting people.

  • Widen the net. Solo travellers are not necessarily only young people. In fact, female travellers over the age of 50 shape a new market worth tapping into. They have money and time on their side, but might have never travelled alone before. Therefore, some reassurance may be needed.

How much consideration do you give to targeting solo travellers?

Read the full article here.

6 Facebook Ad Mistakes That Can Sink Your Marketing Budget (and How to Avoid Them)

new opportunities for tour operators fb ads

Are you running Facebook ads but not getting the desired results? These 6 Facebook advertising mistakes might be the cause of the problem.

  1. Running ads all the time. By doing that, you risk exhausting your target audience with your messaging. Conduct research before scheduling the ads so that they run only on the most relevant days and times to your customers.
  2. Irrelevant landing pages. This is one of the most common mistakes marketers make. When potential customers click on your ad, they expect to see the tour/offer and information described in the ad. Even the finest ad can go to waste if you fail to connect the right landing page.
  3. Tinkering with your campaign. To deliver the best results, your ads need time to measure users’ responses. Most of the campaigns take 24-48 hours to collect the necessary data. Be patient and optimise your Facebook campaigns to ensure productive results.
  4. Not activating Facebook automated rules. It is all about automation. To save you from missing out on key issues and wasting your marketing budget, activate Facebook automated rules. They enable you to adjust or stop the campaign based on certain conditions.
  5. Continuing to market to converted customers. Make sure to exclude your existing customers from your target ad audience.
  6. Not experimenting with ads. You are leaving money on the table if you don’t experiment with different ad types. A recent case study shared by Facebook indicates that one company saw tremendous growth in return on ad spend. How? By using 6-second videos instead of 30 seconds. That proves that even a small adjustment can lead to significant changes.

Read the full article here.

Don’t Let Micro-stresses Burn You Out

new opportunities for tour operators micro-stress

The impact of COVID-19 is one gigantic stressor to everyone in the travel industry. But did you realise that we’re getting hit with 20-30 micro-stressors every day? These are small stresses that are routinely part of our day. Individually they may not seem like a big deal, but when a battery of micro-stresses builds up over time, it leads to burnout. Curious to know what’s driving your stress? 

Here are 12 common micro-stressors and the relationships from which they emanate.

  • Misalignment of roles or priorities
  • When others don’t deliver reliably
  • Unpredictable behaviour from a person in a position of authority
  • Poor communication norms
  • Surge in responsibilities at work or home
  • Managing others and feeling responsible for their success and well-being
  • Confrontational conversations
  • Mistrust in your network
  • People who spread a contagion of stress
  • Pressure to pursue goals out of synch with your personal values
  • When someone underlines your sense of self-confidence, worth or control
  • Disruptions to your network

Below I highlight 3 approaches you can use to mitigate the above micro-stressors.

  1. Isolate and act on two-three micro-stresses. Hit the pause button. Get away from the noise and opt for an activity that calms you down. Detect 2 or 3 micro-stressors from the above list and handle them first. When you focus your attention and energy on a few, it is easier to find time to deal with them.
  2. Invest in relationships and activities that can help reduce micro-stresses in the future. Whether it’s yoga, meditation or hitting the gym, the key is to choose the activity that helps you. Authentic connections with people and communities are key to keeping a positive outlook.. They tend to minimise the risk of stress and allow us to keep things in perspective.
  3. Distance or disconnect from stress-creating people or activities. With all the pressure tour operators have these days, you want to avoid those relationships that cause you more stress. Maybe it is worth evaluating the relationships in your life and setting up some boundaries. 

Read the full article here.

A statistic I found interesting:

60% of LGBTQ travellers will fly on their first post-COVID trip, and particularly young adults (64%). (Travel Daily News)

A question for you:

Which opportunities are you working on right now to move the needle?

Share your thoughts and comments on our Facebook and Linkedin page or drop me an email at [email protected] – I’d love to hear from you.

The 10xpress is a weekly series curated exclusively for travel companies like you

Every week, I provide you with:

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