Small Fish Big Ocean

Helping specialist tour operators and activity providers with travel ecommerce

Travel engagement/tour operator customer engagement and loyalty

Hi everyone,

We've created a tool (Sujester - http://sujester.com/) that I think could really help customer loyalty for outbound tour operators.

Our core offering would be an app that would appear on your website/app that your potential customers would interact with. It would help them build a travel bucket list by swiping and choosing particular experiences in particular locations, and build trips by combining experiences, i.e. visiting the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Warriors. Customers then add these trips to a timeline. This timeline would be shared you.

We think this would help you understand your customer's future travel dreams and help build a long term relationship and proactively contact them when you know when/where they want their next trips.

I'd love to hear an outbound tour operator's thoughts on the above, both from their perspective and their customers.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Thanks!

Sahil

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Hi Sahil

There are two phases where itinerary suggestions are going to help

a) At point of initial destination choice - especially families - finding a destination that has the right balance of the kinds of things to do that will be of interest to a wide range of family children ages.

b) When you are planning your actual days 

I expect you may find that OUTBOUND tour operators already consider they are providing an itinerary that is already well rounded - and well PACED (i.e. not too many energetic things on the same day, and none the next) ....... hence you may find more interest from INCOMING day tour providers - who will be part of the itinerary - and don't themselves provide the complete itinerary

Hi Alex,

The key behind this is moments as inspirational tools as opposed to experiences from tour operators, as they're likely to be moments uploaded by other people, or professional ones from tourist boards. The value is that the tour operator then sees the next few trips that the individual/couple/family wants to do and when so it helps develop an ongoing relationship, and better engagement/retention. Does that make sense?

Do people need to be diverted by inspiration when on a transactional website?

Inspiration doesnt take place on the tour operator website.... [arguable, but a reasonable hypothesis] 

So for this tool to work, need to go where the inspiration takes place..... 

The inspiration can take place anywhere!

The aim would be to move the outbound tour operator website away from being purely transactional (similar to the Expedia National Park Campaign (https://usnationalparks.expedia.co.uk/) and it wouldn't focus on people just about to book a trip.

The tool could be used as post-trip engagement and for the TO's full customer database. It could also be a very effective outbound marketing tool, as it wouldn't have to focus on conversion, and people just about to book travel, but could appeal to a much wider audience

The other point is you mention "loyalty" - this area is challenging because a the more specialist the tour operator (i.e the less mainstream), the less loyalty matters, as a general rule

e.g you may only visit a certain destination once........  hence the tour operator doesn't need to turn you into a long term customer...... [Exceptions are: mainstream tour operators with multiple destinations - and thematic tour operators - e.g. cycling, walking, skiing, diving, sailing - where people will do their "annual" trip of that theme] 

Hence be careful using the phrase "loyalty" with specialist tour operators, its not fertile ground

I don't think the core demographic would be specialist tour operators but rather more general outbound tour operators and travel consultants.


Do you think it would appeal to this demographic?

Maybe!

Its interesting - there used to be a lot of companies who would have 50-100 staff (in the UK) but these have been destroyed recently as tech costs go up and digital competition intensifies...... so now you have a lot of smaller ones - and a few larger ones - but none in the middle.

Do you think the smaller ones or the larger ones would be 'the early adopters' of the tool? I think the larger ones may perhaps be more willing (as there may be some tech cost and integration cost involved).

Smaller ones will be more likely to want any tool, as they couldn't build a tool themselves.... however takes a lot of them, all getting value, for you to have a meaningful business...... 

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