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Get started by reading these top tips to deliver group trips that encourage customers to come back for more. Here are eight basic considerations to help you plan, organise and market a great trip:
1 – Select an appropriate destination
How can you select destinations that will excite your customers? It’s easy – just ask them, both informally when they come into store and through surveys and newsletters. Their answers are very important. Knowing what destinations customers are contemplating will help decide whether to book more premium, exotic destinations or whether to keep your trip budget-friendly.
Seasonality is also a vital factor as it will dictate dive conditions, water temperatures and marine life encounters. If you’re not sure, use the PADI Travel destination guides that provides a variety of information to ensure you make an informed decision.
2 – Book the trip well in advance
Always book your group trips as far in advance as possible to allow plenty of time to fill the trips. Give yourself at least six months to a year as this will increase the likelihood of booking the resort or liveaboard of your choice before spaces fill up. This also gives your customers enough time to plan and you enough time to effectively market the trip.
3 – Choose accommodations to suit your divers
PADI Travel has a wide range of destinations and dive travel packages to suit all budgets. Don’t forget to check the deals page for any special deals. Depending on your survey results, select accommodations that fit your customers. It’s important to choose options that meet the needs of your customers both in terms of price and room availability based on if you have couples and single travellers. If you have non-divers on the trip, make sure you choose accommodation options that provide variety and entertainment for them.
4 – Manage your group size effectively
When you’re gauging interest from your customers about where they want to go, don’t forget to find out how many are interested in actually participating in a group trip. Use this information to estimate your group trip size so you don’t book too big or small a charter, both of which can impact your ability to deliver a incredible experience for your customers and one that’s also profitable for you.
5 – Ensure your pricing reflects all costs
Once your trip is booked you will need to price it for your customers. Consider all components of the package (such as meals, airfare, special excursions, additional extras, etc.) as well as your own costs. Remember the time you put into organising the trip is valuable so make sure you get paid for the work you do. Always highlight add-ons and extras so that your trip looks attractive compared to other options in the market.
6 – Promote your trip in a variety of ways
Once you’ve made a reservation, there are many ways to market it. First, offer it to those who initially showed an interest.
Then, you can:
- Speak to customers who come into your store and those taking dive courses
- Create take-home flyers about the trip
- Prominently advertise it in your dive centre
- Add details to the homepage of your website
- Include the trip in any newsletters you send
- Hold an event about the destination to inspire people
7 – Upsell relevant courses and equipment
In the three to six months prior to your trip, gather participants at your dive centre for a pre-event evening to discuss the trip. This is a perfect time to highlight beneficial PADI courses or any recommended equipment. This will increase your profitability and help you deliver the best possible advice and service so your customers get the most out of their booking. Consider offering package pricing for any courses your divers complete while on the trip.
8 – Keep customers up-to-date with key information
Once a customer books onto your trip, it’s important you provide them with written confirmation of their spot (including the trip price), outline when the deposit is due, confirm when the remaining balance is due and let them know the cancellation policy. At the same time, ask for relevant personal details such as their name as it appears on their passport, passport number and date of birth.
For help getting started or for more information, don’t hesitate to contact PADI Travel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Experienced dive travel experts are ready to help you organize successful group trips.
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