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10 Tips for Filling Trips

9. Follow Up

After the tour ends, you might think your marketing efforts on that tour have ended and that it’s time to move on to the next tour. Many group leaders consider following up after a tour an important part of marketing future trips, since it reinforces the travelers’ strong ties with their organizations before the euphoria from their latest tour has worn off.

Soon after a tour, send out an email filled with photos and travelers’ emails so participants can reminisce and connect with other group members. The stronger the travelers’ bonds with other travelers, the more likely they will want to travel together again. Group travel can lead to lifelong friendships, which you can encourage by creating opportunities for the travelers to reunite by email or other posttrip events.

Some group leaders send out photo souvenirs or a memory book of the trip, which not only trigger warm memories about the travel business but also allow customers to brag about the fun they had to their family and friends.

10. Encourage Word of Mouth

As your customers begin to share their enthusiasm about your tours, you may find that their recommendations are your best marketing tool. Many experienced group leaders report that though they send out some promotional materials, word of mouth from past travelers brings in most of the new customers.

Many studies show that customers believe personal recommendations from family and friends over all other forms of marketing. Rather than sit back and let the word spread, you can take steps to galvanize your travelers to vocally support your program rather than silently sign up for another tour.

Encourage endorsement from past travelers by asking them for photos or quotes about the tour to share with others in newsletters or social media. If your program runs a blog, ask if group members will volunteer to write a blog post about the trip. Information coming from a participant rather than a group leader can seem more authentic to prospective travelers. Another way to proactively urge travelers to share their experiences with your program is to offer a discount on a future trip to those who successfully refer a friend.

If you consistently deliver great travel experiences, your devoted customers will eventually market the travel program for you.

Eliza Myers

Eliza Myers has worked for The Group Travel Leader since 2007. She is the online editor and associate editor for Select Traveler.

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