How to Create a Booking Loyalty Program for Your Guests

By Erick Tomaliwan

Marketing StrategiesMarketing Strategies

A person holding their hand to their heart

One of the biggest challenges you may face as a tour operator or activity provider is generating new business and attracting more customers. The fact is, it’s much easier to figure out how to encourage repeat business than it is to sell to someone new.

Developing a strategy to increase repeat bookings from your past guests is a cost-effective way to experience growth in your tour/activity business. Customer loyalty programs offer a huge opportunity to not only reward existing customers, while increasing repeat bookings, but also to gain new customers as well. These programs are relatively easy to implement, and are a win-win for your tourism-based business.

Creating a booking loyalty program that works for you

Set your goals

Before you start creating your customer loyalty program, it’s important to decide what your ultimate goals are. For example, if you run an activity business that offers both parasailing and zip lining, your ultimate goal may be to have your customers book both of the different activities. If you offer both ghost walking tours and historical walking tours, you may want to increase the number of visitors who take both tours.

Consider your ideal customer

You should be able to tailor your incentives program to appeal to your ideal guest’s wants and needs. For example, if your dream customer is searching for an adrenaline-filled adventure, then you may reward them with the same by offering a free zip line when they book a bungee jump, for example. If your perfect guest wants something to commemorate their adventures, you may reward them with a t-shirt or some other memorabilia.

Choose the perfect reward

There are various rewards you can offer to clients who purchase a tour or activity. These range from group discounts, to contests, to multi-purchase rewards and more. For example, if you own an Escape Game with multiple rooms, you may offer guests a t-shirt, or another commemorative item, if they complete every Escape Room. Alternatively, if you sell surfing adventures, you may offer customers a discount on booking a surfboard again.

Finally, as a smaller tour operator or activity provider, you may try to improve your cash flow management by offering a reward for upfront payment. This usually takes the form of a discount.

Communicate the reward

Once you’ve built the perfect loyalty program, it’s time to market it. It’s important to leverage every marketing channel you currently use in your tour or activity business. Make sure to email your current customer base and alert them to the new incentives.

Don’t forget to go social. Take to your social media channels and let your followers know the new perks you are offering to your most loyal guests.

How to drive more repeat bookings

Still not convinced? There are other benefits to setting up a loyalty program besides encouraging repeat business. Your incentives program can also bring the following benefits to your tourism-based business:

Keep your tour company top-of-mind

When a past guest opens their wallet, they may catch a glimpse of your rewards card. This keeps your adventure brand top-of-mind.

Keeping your loyalty program entirely online? Well, the program gives you another excuse to email your past customers. You want to remind them of the incentives available to them, or send them an update on how close they are to achieving their reward.

Show your current guests that they are valued

Make your customers feel special for doing business with you. Rather than just saying “thank you”, you can show them how grateful you are for their business by creating perks and special offers.

Gather information

Want to learn more about your current customer base? An incentives program gives you the perfect avenue to learn more about your guests. Members of a loyalty program are more likely to continue to give you information. They are often more willing to complete customer surveys, or leave online reviews for your tour or activity business.

Bottom line? If you don’t have a strategy in place to drive more repeat bookings, then you’re missing out on improving customer retention and boosting your sales. The question remains: what are you waiting for?

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