18 October 2016
Some people think that if a tourism business is successful, its success can be attributed to its location. Others think that if a tourism business is successful, its success is down to sheer luck. Whether location or luck are factors in the success of your tourism business or not, one thing is certain: you can increase your chances of running a successful business if you focus on becoming more customer-centric.
The first step in this process is understanding the mindset of your customer and what motivates them to make a booking for a holiday. How well do you really know your customers? Do you have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management system) for your business, to capture those touchpoints where interaction occurs between your staff and your customers? If you do, how are you using that information to grow your business?
If your CRM records show you that a customer’s birthday is occurring during their visit with you, why not take the opportunity to do something special for them and offer them a little birthday treat on the house? The goodwill that you generate could lead to the customer tweeting about your tourism business to their friends, or posting about your business on Facebook. This could be a low cost way of generating free publicity for your business as well as generating goodwill with the customer concerned.
Capture data in Excel
If your business is on a smaller scale and you don’t have the resources to invest in a CRM, you could still try keeping a record of customer interactions in an Excel spreadsheet/Google Sheets workbook. Set up a new worksheet for each month of the calendar year and capture information under such headings as: Date; Customer Name; Customer Email; Customer Phone No.; Customer Address; Customer Date of Birth; Interaction. You can then use filters on the worksheet to call up details of all the interactions with one particular customer a month at a time.
Building customer personas (detailed profiles of your customers) will help you to gain insights into how your customers think and act – particularly in relation to making purchasing decisions.
Your customer personas should include demographic information, for example:
It should also include ‘psychographic characteristics’ such as:
Marketers often find it helpful to give their customer personas an actual name to help them get ‘under the skin’ of the customer even more.
It can be useful to draw up your customer personas for overseas visitors taking into account the profiles of the main overseas market segments which Fáilte Ireland has identified for Ireland.
Some of the market segments worth considering in relation to overseas visitors to Ireland include:
Independent Active Sightseers looking to visit new places, and expand their experience by exploring landscapes, history and culture. Find out more about the Culturally Curious segment.
This demographic can be identified as young couples and adult groups looking for excitement, new experiences, and a fun, social holiday in somewhere different. Find out more about the Social Energisers segment.
They are often couples, approximately 30 years old, some with babies or quite young children. Most are in serious need of time out from busy lives and careers. Find out more about the Great Escapers segment.
By understanding your customers’ mindsets as well as the specific market segments you are targeting, you will improve the focus of your marketing efforts and enhance your customer relationships.