While travelling through California recently, I met some small-business owners in the tourism industry who reinforced some valuable marketing lessons.
Tourism is very competitive there, so I knew that by signing up for a few walking tours I’d not only learn about the city, but I’d also glean some valuable business tips. Here’s what I observed:
- Every single tour guide asked where I’d heard about them, and wrote down the answer. Over time, all that customer feedback will help guide their marketing efforts
- They also asked me what other tours I’d been on, and again took note of my answers. Obviously, monitoring their competitors gives them important insights
- Before the tours began, each guide told me what I would see and learn in glowing terms – priming me to be excited about what lay ahead
Then, at the end of each tour, three things invariably happened.
First, the guide asked everyone to make sure they headed to the tourism review sites like tripadvisor.com to rate and review the experience. Often they’d mention something like, ‘We’re currently ranked No.7 for San Francisco, and we’d love your help to get to No.1’. Many people whipped out their phones immediately and did just that.
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Next, without me prompting them, the guide asked for my email address so they could send me more info on a specific aspect of the tour I’d been most interested in. Every single one of them followed up, and I doubt it’s coincidental that their emails again urged me to head to TripAdvisor. I suspect I’ll receive their email newsletters from now on too.
Finally, the last thing every tour guide did was give a little speech asking for a tip. Most Australians would rather die than ask strangers for money, but American tour guides have it down to a fine art, including just enough emotion to make you want to give them your hard-earned, without being too manipulative or seeming too desperate. It was masterful to watch, and I’m sure that after spending a few hours pounding the pavements talking history and culture, those few seconds of patter were the ones that made them the most money.
You’d think guiding a walking tour would be small bikkies, but based on this consistent approach to customer relationships and marketing, it has created some growing, thriving businesses for people who are passionate about what they do.
What tips can you take from these tour guides to help grow your business?