In the modern era, digitalisation has become an essential part of almost every industry, transforming the way businesses operate and connect with their customers. The travel and tourism sectors are no exception, with bus tour companies embracing digital technologies to enhance their services and stay competitive in a rapidly evolving market. We will now explore why digital is so important for bus tour companies and how it can revolutionise their operations.
Broadening Reach and Attracting Customers
Digital platforms, such as websites, social media, and online travel agencies provide bus tour companies with a global reach, and by establishing a strong online presence, these companies can attract potential customers from various regions, targeting specific demographics and markets. Engaging websites with visually appealing content, detailed itineraries, and online booking capabilities make it convenient for travellers to discover and, most importantly, to book tours. This expanded reach increases the chances of capturing new customers and driving business growth.
Enhanced Customer Engagement
Digital tools enable bus tour companies to actively engage with their target audience. Social media platforms offer an avenue for sharing captivating visuals, customer testimonials, and informative content about the tours, creating excitement and generating interest. Engaging with customers in real-time through comments, messages, and chatbots helps address inquiries promptly, improve customer satisfaction, and build trust.
Streamline Operations and Efficiency
The introduction of digital options across the operational board offers bus companies the means to streamline their internal processes, leading to increased efficiency and cost savings. Integrated reservation systems, for example, enable real-time online bookings, eliminating the need for manual paperwork and reducing administrative tasks. Moreover, by utilising digital payment gateways, bus tour companies can provide customers with secure and convenient payment options, further improving the booking experience and eliminating the need to chase up any missed or late payments. Additionally, digital platforms allow for efficient tour scheduling, inventory management, and resource allocation, optimising the utilisation of vehicles and tour guides.
Data-Driven Decision Making
The digital revolution brings forth an abundance of data that bus tour companies can leverage to make informed business decisions. Through website analytics, social media insights, and customer feedback, companies can gain valuable insights into customer preferences, popular destinations, and emerging travel trends. This data-driven approach enables bus tour companies to tailor their offerings, improve tour experiences, and stay ahead of the competitions. By understanding customer behaviour, companies can optimise marketing strategies, personalise recommendations, and continuously refine their services to meet evolving customer demands.
Enhanced Customer Experience
Digital technologies play a crucial role in enhancing the overall customer experience offered by bus tour companies. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) allow potential customers to virtually experience the tour before making a booking, immersing themselves in the destination and gaining a taste of what they can expect. Mobile apps provide travellers with real-time updates, interactive maps, and audio guides, enriching their journey and providing a more personalised experience. Moreover, digital platforms facilitate the provision of additional services, such as personalised itineraries, curated recommendations, and post-tour feedback, ensuring customer satisfaction and building brand loyalty.
Real-World Case Study
Luckily, to summarise all of the above points, there is a real-world case which provides the full scale of the value of this type of application to a tour company. For Big Bus Tours, which operates across 20 major cities worldwide, we created a mobile app which would focus on ticket sales pre-trip. First use questions allow for customer profiling (type of traveller and interests), with the focus being on selling a ticket and gentle notifications with offers that help drive conversion. Once they’re booked on, the device GPS is used to predict when a customer is in a Big Bus city and likely to be taking a tour, in which case prominence is given to their closest bus stop and nearby attractions relevant to their interests. Live bus times and notifications about service disruption also help alleviate the most common customer complaints around delays, which simply wouldn’t have been possible without this app. Following a tour feedback is captured via a survey. This gives customers an opportunity to speak directly to Big Bus without venting any frustrations through app stores/Tripadvisor.
The outcome of this app being developed and deployed across the Big Bus Tour operation was that their sales increased by 100% in the first year, and the app itself was rated the best travel app in 2018 by UK App Awards. Still today the app holds 4.7* rating and has over 1.2 million downloads every year, making it a comprehensively positive outcome for Big Bus Tours as a company, and has helped insulate them somewhat from the drop in tourism witnessed during and since the COVID pandemic.
The digital revolution has become a game-changer for bus tour companies, providing them with endless opportunities to connect with customers, streamline operations, and deliver exceptional experiences. By embracing digital technologies, these companies can expand their reach, engage with their target audience, optimise operations, make data-driven decisions, and elevate the overall customer experience. In an increasingly competitive industry, bus tour companies must harness the power of digitalisation to stay relevant, adapt to changing customer preferences, and thrive in the digital age.