tips for tours activities and attractions

Top Pre-Season Get-Ready-for-Business Tips for Tours, Activities, and Attractions

Memorial Day Weekend and the end of May is nearly upon us and with these benchmark dates, tours, activities and attractions worldwide will be in peak season. If you operate a tour or attraction business, by now you’ll likely have greased the machinery, run safety checks, staffed-up, initiated training, updated your website, and planned and activated your marketing campaigns — all necessary steps to getting off to a strong start. But because there’s always room for learning, new growth, and improvement, Redeam decided to ask operators themselves to supply us with some of their best pre-season get-ready-for-business tips and ideas so we could share them with all of you. Here’s what we’ve assembled. In the first question, you’ll see some duplication across the rankings. We left them in because we feel the duplication might make an impact on you, especially if you’re not already doing those things yourself.

It’s our core focus here at Redeam to empower the growth of tours, attractions and activities so that more people can enjoy the world. We hope you can put some of these nuggets to good use!

1st Question: Thinking back to last year’s pre-season, what were the top 1 – 3 best things you did marketing or operations-wise to get your tour, attraction or activity business ready for the peak season?

#1 Best Thing:

  • Signing on new partners
  • Revamped our mobile site
  • Reconnected with hotel concierges and sales managers
  • Running Facebook advertising campaigns and increasing social media posts
  • Building a massive calendar of local and national events so we could see which influenced our seasonality
  • Streamlined social media platforms to reach a wider audience
  • Submitting all our festivals to free online calendar listings in January, including to our state office of tourism
  • Made sure our content and images were consistent and up to date with all ticket reseller partners
  • Front line training dealing with non-English speaking guests
  • We reviewed all the traveler reviews about us

#2 Best Thing:

  • Attending shows to meet with other operators
  • Streamlined our online checkout process
  • Ensured staff has the availability needed for this year
  • Updated our regional event calendars
  • Ramped-up hiring and onboarding of seasonal staff
  • Hired more social media-savvy staff
  • Utilized our Google My Business listings more effectively, including posting weekly to listings
  • Running Google AdWords campaigns
  • Planning promotional discount strategies before the season begins
  • Better branding of our product
  • We created formal training for our guides 

#3 Best Thing:

  • Pushing-out eblast newsletters and mass mailings
  • Shifting our pricing structure to accommodate higher-end customers
  • Holding a refresher meeting with staff on our standards of excellence
  • Double-checking the accuracy of our information and photos on OTA and trade partner pages
  • Developed and followed a social media schedule
  • Running Facebook targeted advertising
  • Using an agency to consult and bounce ideas off of
  • Audited and consequently streamlined specific operational portions of our business
  • We purchased new vehicles for our tours
  • Put our physical location address in the footer of every page of our website to improve our SEO and made it easier for visitors to find us

2nd Question: What was the best one NEW thing you did last year versus the year before?

  • Signing on new partners and having them sell more than just general tickets
  • Deep-dive into the lag between when our customers buy tickets and when they actually redeem them, and use that data to build out a dynamic pricing model
  • Added more staff
  • Created Events on Facebook
  • Created limited black-out dates for groups and trade
  • Instagram
  • Last year we started paying more attention to our Google listings, and began to update hours and post there weekly, resulting in increased use of it as a tool (for directions, information, and more)
  • Being more organized with our marketing strategies: We now have a clear plan for the year ahead and now know our ‘brand voice’ and ‘brand path’ that, as a team, we must follow
  • We opened!
  • Created a better team spirit
  • Took control of our social media accounts

3rd Question: What new things are you trying/adding/doing THIS year versus last year? (It can be marketing, technology, operations, etc.)

  • Offering tourism packages with other venues for tour operators and receptives
  • Focusing on working with fewer OTAs and funneling more customers towards booking directly with us
  • Scheduling more events on Facebook
  • Testing a new restaurant partner, hiring a new tour guide, doing monthly email marketing blasts 
  • Creating short videos for social media; streamlined tour registrations using Google forms
  • We are buying a drone and having a staff member licensed to operate it
  • Apart from a more structured marketing strategy, we are integrating our booking systems with a more robust CRM to aid in marketing automation and customer relations
  • We are discussing creating an entire new state-of-the-art tour
  • Using technology

Did you find this information helpful? Did you do something to amp-up your business that you want to add to our list? Please post your comments and ideas on our Redeam LinkedIn page .

A special thank you and shout-out to the following contributing participants for sharing their tips with us and who gave us permission to share their names:

Jason Sullivan, Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum in New York City

Tracy Johns, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in Historic St. Michaels, MD

Alan Rust, America Tour Company in Nebraska

Ann Vaughan, Taste Kennett Food Tours in Kennett Square, PA

David Filipiak, National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey in New York City

Shawn Herne, Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore, MD

Myron Baer, Grand Central Terminal/Orpheo USA in New York City 

Chris Torres, Tourism Marketing Agency 

Shane Whaley, Tourpreneur 

Interested in joining Redeam’s Tours, Activities, and Attractions Advisory Panel to beta-test new product ideas and give us feedback on your experiences in the industry? Submit your name today!

To learn more about how tour, attraction, and activity operators rely on Redeam to easily automate their businesses so that they can sell more tickets around the world, contact us today!