6 Tips to Enhance Guest Experience and Increase Referrals

The adventure tourism industry continues to grow, and more businesses are opening to offer zip lining, ropes courses, climbing challenges, or other adventure activities. Whatever activities you offer, you are competing for the free time of your visitors, and the customer experience is one piece you can't forget about if you want to get more people through the doors. This post will cover six tips for businesses to enhance the guest experience and gain more return visitors and referrals because of it.

1. Create a Memorable Guest Experience

It's important to remember that people are paying for more than an adventure experience. The adventure may be the draw, but the experience is what will have them coming back again and again or referring you to their friends and family. The memory that stands out the most may not be the most exciting activity of the day. The most memorable moments may be the laughs they had, the challenge they overcame, or the look on someone else's face as they completed a new activity. They are paying for more than just an adventure; they are paying for memories. What can you and your staff do to make it a memorable day?

2. Make it Shareable

Yes, make it shareable in the sense that your guests have the opportunity to get a great Facebook profile picture or an awesome Instagram shot. Think of ways to create a great photo opportunity before, during, or after the main attraction. Maybe you're a canopy zip line tour, and there is a particular tree platform with exceptional views. It might be beneficial to have guides point out and encourage the photo opportunity. If it isn't easy to take photos during the activity, consider adding a photo backdrop (with your name and location, of course) at the beginning or end of the experience and have staff encourage group photos. People love showing off the fun things they've done or the places they've been, and these social shares also encourage other people to visit.

Also, consider how to make your adventure experience feel shared in the moment, and include elements that your guests can experience together. If you offer zip lining, include a dual zip line so guests can race each other down the lines. Add elements like a free fall jump that may challenge guests while also creating opportunities for them to encourage and cheer each other on. This creates shared experiences that are also very shareable via social media.

3. A Great Guest Experience is Personalized

Small touches of personalization can create an immediate positive effect, and this is where technology can really help you shine. For guests who book online, ask whether it is a birthday, other special occasion, family outing, etc. so you can welcome them appropriately. A simple personalized greeting like, "Hi, you must be the Smith family!" or a "Happy birthday!" to the special guest can make an immediate positive impression.

If you have regulars who visit often, use a customer relationship management tool so you can make them feel unique and special during their visit. This will go a long way towards increasing their loyalty and improving their overall experience.

4. Offering Something Unique, Something Extra

This is a basic business principal, but it applies to the guest experience as well. What can you do that your competitors can't match? What do you do that is above and beyond the average experience? This could be a wide range of things based on your specialties and abilities.

Maybe you have a passion for local foods and want to offer fresh foods on site or host a farmers market. Maybe you're tech savvy and can develop an app for your ropes course that tracks which elements visitors have completed so they can return to attempt to finish every element or improve their course times. Maybe you are developing an eco-adventure experience where guests can learn about their natural surroundings while they adventure. Whatever it is, find your niche and then do it well.

5. Follow-Up with a Guest Experience Survey

Opportunities to build a relationship with your visitors don't end when they leave, and it's a great idea to send a follow-up message to thank them for their visit. This also provides a great opportunity for a guest experience survey. This survey should be short enough to not annoy your visitors while also offering you useful information that you can use to make improvements.

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one option for a simple, easy survey that can be used to track your business' progress over time. To start, your survey will ask guests how likely they are to recommend your business to a friend or colleague on a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 is "not at all likely" and 10 is "extremely likely". Those who respond 9-10 are promoters, those who respond 7-8 are passive, and those who respond 0-6 are detractors. Take the percentage of promoters minus to the percentage of detractors to find out your Net Promoter Score. Additional survey questions can ask promoters what made their experience exceptional, and ask passive and detractor respondents what your business could do to improve their experience.

Use the guest experience survey responses and your NPS to learn from mistakes and improve the customer experience. Hopefully, over time you'll see your NPS go up, more return visitors, and more referral business roll in.

6. Ask for that Referral

If you take all of the above steps, you will increase the likelihood that your guests will refer your business to their friends, families, and colleagues without prompting. But that doesn't mean asking for a referral is inappropriate. For example, if a guest responds with a 9 or 10 on the NPS survey, you could offer a shareable link after the survey for them to send a referral. Or at the end of each visit you could offer a "bring a friend" incentive where the guest can come back for half off if they bring a friend. A simple "please tell your friends" is also better than nothing. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, so don't be afraid to ask.

These six tips offer a starting point for enhancing the guest experience and building visitor loyalty over time. There are many ways to customize each tip based on your business, so get out there and create amazing adventure experiences with even better customer experiences!

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