In A Rut?
Get out of the doldrums and spice up your repertoire of tour offerings.
If you’re like many of us, you may literally be “stuck in a rut.” Ask yourself if you’re doing the same old trips over and over, taking the same group of folks you’ve been taking year after year but with no newcomers.
Maybe you’ve been doing motorcoach group tours forever. But have you ever tried a rail trip? A cruise? Or perhaps a combination of the two? What about trips with different types of focus such as a walking tour? An art tour? A cooking tour? Here are a few ideas to help you stir up a new venture:
- Price a short new trip with a “bring along a friend free of charge.”
- Take a travel/tourism class; many colleges are offering online courses nowadays.
- Plan a trip to a brand new destination. Read up on the area and talk to several operators who may be offering itineraries in this area.
- Research compatible organizations that might be interested in joining with yours to offer a joint trip to increase turnout.
- Next year plan a “Spring Break” tour or cruise and make it a family trip so Mom and Dad can go along with the spring-break students.
- Make plans to try a special-interest trip: Hiking? Camping? Shopping?
- Consider a here-at-home cruise down the Mississippi or along the New England coast.
- Investigate a travel company or companies you may have heard about for years but know nothing about.
- Do some marketing, looking for organizations that might like to sponsor a trip for their membership if someone like you came along and held their hand.
- Consider hiring a marketing person.
The above ideas all pertain to trips that would take Americans to other areas of the U.S. or to destinations fairly close to home or even overseas. But what if you were to reverse your thinking and look for business overseas? That is, for example, offer tours to groups of Europeans or others who may live overseas and wish to come here to tour our country. Many travel companies do that – operating as what we refer to as “inbound operators.”
True, this kind of endeavor is a major step. It requires a great deal of planning ahead, time, energy and some investment as well, but it can pay off for those willing to reverse their perspective and service inbound foreign travelers rather than U.S. travelers. It requires getting involved in your local city convention bureau, perhaps locating guides who speak foreign languages, and intimate knowledge of the U.S. areas you hope to showcase to potential inbound groups from other countries.
Interestingly, our U.S. “National Travel and Tourism Office” has been aware of the importance of foreign travelers to the U.S. economy for some time now. According to an April 13 report, international visitors are injecting, on average, nearly $715 million PER DAY into the U.S. economy. In February 2017, travel receipts, including food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertain-ment and local transportation, in the U.S. accounted for 62 percent of what they term “total U.S. travel and tourism receipts.” In addition are passenger receipts from U.S. airlines carrying international visitors – 16 percent. Medical tourism, education and short-term worker receipts accounted for 22 percent of total U.S. travel and tourism exports in February. Altogether a different perspective, a different clientele, a whole new way of looking at tourism. Try it, you may like it!