Recently at an industry event I got chatting to a director of an escorted tour operator. We chatted about the business challenges his company face, the amazing trips they offer and of course, I had to ask how they were using technology within their travel business.
During the discussion he mentioned that he wasn’t convinced that they needed itinerary mobile apps as they had guides. Needless to say, it wasn’t the first time I had heard that from an escorted tour operator and I can completely see why he felt that way. However, fast forward to today and we’ve just entered discussions with his company about bringing Tineri into his business.
That’s certainly a nice turnaround but what caused him to reconsider?
First things first, escorted tours are an amazing way to travel in certain places. A knowledgeable and approachable guide can easily make a good trip great. They can provide travellers with rich travel experiences without the stress. Your guide looks after your tickets, takes you to your hotel, tells you what berries are poisonous and so much more. Being a travel guide is not an easy job. Far from it. There’s pressure, there’s questions, there’s safety but often there’s only one brain and one body to take it all on. This is where technology can help.
A guide’s ultimate goal is to keep their customers safe and ensure they have a fulfilling travel experience. By relieving some of the pressure and responsibility that is on them with some mobile technology they can be better guides and leave ensure their customers are satisfied.
Those joining a tour can benefit from Tineri app even before they have left home. Chat features link them up with their fellow travellers as well as their future guide. Questions can be answered and friends can be made.
Then they can familiarise themselves with the full itinerary via the app, no need to open emails and print several documents to stay informed. The tour operator has already uploaded what they need to know. And this app remains an easy to access point of reference throughout the tour. For example, travellers can bring up descriptions and images of their next hotel in a matter of seconds. That’s one less question their guide needs to contend with. And, if something goes wrong guides can rest assured that important phone numbers including their own are saved and accessible on the app.
Documents including flight tickets, vouchers and visa docs can also be stored on Tineri. So, rather than rifling through printed boarding passes to get their group on a flight a tour guide could simply swipe through scannable mobile passes on their phone. Save the environment and save time simultaneously! Add Tineri’s inbuilt currency converter, translator and weather forecast features into the mix and you’ve got something that helps the travellers as much as the tour guides themselves.
Aside from this Tineri, which can be customised with any tour operator’s branding, brings an array of benefits to the escorted tour operator’s business. Social sharing features will get your business out there and simple daily feedback surveys allow you to respond to problems as they happen. And, if it’s not something you can fix straight away you’ll be armed with knowledge that will help you improve tours in the future.
I could go on forever but I’ll spare you that. I hope I’ve said enough here to give the sceptical escorted tour operators reading this some food for thought at least.
If you’d like to talk more about introducing a mobile itinerary app into your business, we’d love to hear from you.
Marcos Isaac is Senior VP Sales & Marketing for Open Destinations