Working in the travel and tourism industry allows us to get to know many small businesses that rely on visitors to their communities in order to meet their annual revenue goals. One way to reach those visitors in mass is by marketing to the motorcoach industry. Motorcoaches bring up to 50 people at one-time to the businesses that they visit. One small business owner recently told me that the sales realized from a bus she received on a Wednesday in November helped support her staffing for the entire week.
Before marketing to groups, there are several things that a business needs to consider in order to be group ready. Here are ten tips to ensure you are ready to host a tour group:
- Spell out what you are offering and price the package per person, inclusive of taxes and all fees. Tour operators price trips by the person. The easier you make it for them to package a trip, the more likely they are to book a group.
- The industry standard is to offer a complimentary ticket/meal to the tour director and driver.
- Can a motorcoach access your property? Motorcoaches are BIG. They need ample room to make turns and sufficient height to navigate parking lots and driveways.
- The bathroom on the bus is for “emergency use only.” You need at least one bathroom for guests to use while visiting. A port-a-potty is generally not acceptable. Always be honest with tour operators about your restroom facilities BEFORE they book. Good tour operators will plan stops with ample restrooms before and after your attraction.
- Staff up. Motorcoach groups bring 40-55 people. For small establishments, that is a lot of people at one time! Bring in extra staff to greet, serve, and work registers.
- A little attention goes a long way. Step outside to greet the bus. Hop on and welcome everyone to your place. This is their vacation and they want to feel special! Making them feel welcome before they walk through the door sets the right tone for the visit.
- Clear a path. Many groups are senior travelers. It is essential that there is a clear, even path from the bus to the entrance and throughout the facility. Shift tables and merchandise inside to make sure people can easily maneuver once they come inside.
- If you are an outdoor attraction, have a Plan B. This could mean giving everyone rain ponchos or being flexible with rescheduling. Have a plan!
- Figure out logistics. Will the entire group fit in one area? Will you split the group up? Do you need a microphone to be heard? Have you allowed ample time to experience your site? They will need time for the restrooms and shopping. Groups of 50 travel much slower than individual visitors.
- Always remember—the experience a group has at your attraction directly impacts the reputation of the tour operator that brings the group. If group members have an amazing experience, the tour operator will become your regular customer. Likewise, if group members have a bad experience, the tour operator’s reputation can suffer. Don’t forget to say thank you!
Learn more about Break The Ice Media’s Groups Marketing Program Approach.
Have a tip to add to our list? Leave a comment!