Working in the travel and tourism industry allows us to get to know organizations that rely on visitors to their communities to help grow their businesses. One way to reach those visitors and increase foot traffic is by marketing to the motorcoach industry. Motorcoaches bring groups of people to the businesses they visit. The COVID 19 pandemic caused a shift in this industry. Although there is still a demand for full large groups (50 people or more), there is a higher than ever demand for smaller groups (10 – 35 people) who want a more customized experience.
Motorcoaches are a great way to increase foot traffic for your business. Imagine each person on the bus is a unique marketing opportunity you may not have reached otherwise. An enjoyable experience spreads quickly, and people still trust word-of-mouth of friends and family the most. Here are 11 tips to ensure you are ready to host a tour group.
Before the Visit
- Spell out what you are offering and price the package per person, inclusive of all taxes and fees. Tour operators price trips by the person. The easier it is for them to package a trip, the more likely they are to book a group.
- Be inclusive. Ask the tour operator if there are any travelers that need special accommodations or, if there is food involved, any dietary needs that need to be addressed.
- Offer a complimentary ticket/meal to the tour director and driver. This is the industry standard.
- If needed, 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.
- You should have 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. If needed, the tour operators can plan stops with ample restrooms before and after your location.
During the Visit
- Motorcoach groups could bring 40-50 people. For small establishments, that is a lot of people at one time! Bring in extra staff if you are able, to greet, serve, and work registers.
- A little attention goes a long way. Step outside to greet the group- welcome everyone to your place. Making guests feel welcome before they walk through the door sets the right tone for the visit.
- Clear a path. 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 into 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 may travel slower than individual visitors.
- Always remember-the experience a group has at your attraction or destination 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 an unpleasant experience, the tour operator’s reputation can suffer. Don’t forget to say thank you!
Learn more about Break The Ice Media’s Capabilities in Travel Trade Marketing.