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Fun & Interesting Watersport Tour Ideas for Operators [w/ Info & Examples]

04/21/2021

We have already discussed 10 most usual watersport activities, and what water-based activities you should try offering in winter. In this article, let’s take a look at seemingly regular watersports activities that can bring an unusual experience to your customers. To make sure it happens, all you need to do is understand why you should care, what can be done, and what ROI you can expect from these suggestions.

Table of Contents


Why Tour Operators Need to Distinguish Themselves (3 Established Techniques)

As the pandemic unfolded, the tourism industry along with tour operators was the one to take the biggest hit in operations. Travel Industry Research results show that travel spending shrunk by almost 50%. However, on the plus side, the hunger for domestic tourism in the U.S. has increased by 90%. Additionally, most states are continuing to ease the restrictions with some states like Florida and Texas to lift them completely. With many vacationers seeing traveling during the COVID pandemic as an opportunity, why not take advantage of this trend? Let’s figure out the instances in which it is critical to demonstrate what you are truly worth in your customers’ eyes. Consider the recommendations listed here an addition to the ones we have previously discussed.

1) Standing Out From Your Competitors

Although we have already discussed the social nature of the watersport industry and that we would not encourage you to be involved in price wars, doing things differently can be safe. Keep an eye on your competition because it is one of the price-setting strategy’s factors. On top of that, you need to understand that even pontoon boat and SUP rentals can still be your competitors even though you run a jet ski rental business. For that reason, you can lose your customers simply because your competitors just do things differently compared to you.

2) Developing a Value Proposition

Many U.S. watersport operators either do not have a value proposition, or they fail to formulate it properly. First of all, let’s refer to the Wikipedia definition of value proposition. “A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered, communicated, and acknowledged. It is also a belief from the customer about how value will be delivered, experienced and acquired.”. Let’s pause here and see how tour operators can improve their value proposition.

Stop Falsifying your Promise of Value

Many tour operators have to deal with customer complaints, which quite often have to do with the following 3 reasons.

  1. Saying on your website that you have new boats when you don’t.
  2. Using stock photos of the equipment, which are not an actual depiction of the product you are renting.
  3. Advertising being at one location, when in actuality it is the next city over.

If at least one of these reasons is true for you, it can potentially result in your losing returning customers.

Communicate your Value Properly

Some tour operators would say that they offer dolphin tours, but they would not convey what is unique about the service. Should your customers do anything to prepare for a dolphin tour to get the most experience out of it? If you offer multiple variations of it, such as dolphin cruises and glass bottom boat tours, do you specify on your website how these services differ? If you need assistance with communicating your value effectively, our friends at TripShock! can help your business stand out while avoiding bad customer reviews.

Clearly Explain how Value will be Delivered

Are you running your business mobile to save money while delivering your equipment to your customers at the boat ramp? If this is the case, this needs to be explicitly communicated to your customers to avoid a misunderstanding. As long as we are on this topic, a quick word of caution. Running your business mobile might be ideal for the first year of operations, but many operators will tell you that this business model is hardly sustainable.

If you are looking to get more bookings to grow your business, don’t mislead your customers. We always recommend putting yourself in their shoes whenever you are in doubt. Your best bet is to outline each detail as specific as possible on your marketing channels, focusing on the experiential turn.

Storytelling as a Marketing Tool

Your business can easily grow if you include customer stories. Storytelling is a fantastic technique. Customizing your rentals and tours in a way others don’t will let you go above and beyond with your offerings. Here are some ideas to inspire you.

Rentals & Tour Customization Ideas

Having dealt with the reasons why tour operators need to distinguish themselves and ways to do it, let’s connect the dots to see how this can be done when running watersport operations through the tour and rental customization. We encourage you to use such ideas as an inspiration point without copying them and calling it a day because you can risk missing your value proposition. All of the water-based activities listed below came via our company’s social listening, which is another amazing technique to use when you want to ensure you are up-to-date on industry trends and insights.

BBQ Pontoon Boat Rentals

Located in Australia, this company claims that it is boring to rent regular pontoon boats, so they came up with the idea of adding a bbq station to it! On their website they effectively used the storytelling technique by sharing how they came up with a bbq houseboat. They also have a strong value proposition, in which they claim that “The Redback is the first in a planned fleet of boats that will all be named after famous Murray River plants and animals.”

Retro Boat Rentals

Some people enjoy classic trucks, like our sales representative, Luke Schulze, who can give you an overview of our software risk-free if you schedule a demo with him. Others go retro on the water. Take, for example, a company in Austin, TX. Retro Boat Rentals ATX decided to take an extra step and bring the late 50’s – the beginning of 60’s to the water. Their fleet includes vintage boats like “A Lone Star Meteor,” Glastron boats. Their promise of value includes the following message on their site: “We pride ourselves on the environmental aspect of our company. Not only have we replaced motors that used to be heavy polluters, but these classic boats have been saved from being junk in someone’s back yard or trash in a landfill.” It shows that they support environmental causes, which is an important aspect when attracting senior citizens and elusive customers in general.

Fishing Charter with Pigs

If you are running a fishing charter, then you should find this and the next idea interesting. “What da wybe is?” is a greeting you would usually hear from your colleagues located in the Bahamas. Pig Beach serves as an attraction alone, but when you add fishing charter activities to it, it turns into fishing with pigs! These watersport enthusiasts indeed communicated their value properly when they state, “Our captains have the most knowledge and experience with the area. We will ensure your adventure exceeds expectations!”

Fishing Jet Ski Tours

When regular WaveRunner activities are not perceived as engaging anymore, and you don’t have dolphins around to cover you for dolphin jet ski tours, consider customizing your equipment the way Sunshine Coast Jetski Fishing did. By adding extra parts that could hold fishing rods, they created “FishSki”!  Now they can stand against rivalry for both fishing charters and jet ski rentals in the area of their operations.

SUP Surf Lessons with Dogs

Dog SUP Adventures are surely well aware that more than 30% of the San Diego, CA population owns dos. Where would these people leave their beloved pets when their owners want to go out to enjoy the watersports? They found the answer, which is bringing the dogs along to enjoy the Stand-Up Paddle Board Lesson. What this watersport operator does is very relatable to the customer story, and it also seems that user-generated content on their social media creates solid brand awareness.

What is in it for Watersport Tour Operators?

Lastly, now that we covered the techniques for improving the watersport operations, the reasons to use them, and the ways tour operators can utilize them through the tour and rental customization, let’s figure out the return on investment. At the end of the day, we always want to know how things can benefit business owners, not just customers.

Boost Your Bookings

One of the best KPI’s for tour operators to refer to is seeing how things are with the number of bookings coming in. To make sure you can easily track them, consider getting a reservation system like WaveRez, if you have not done so already. It will let you see which activities are an easy sell and which are not. We hope you will use the aforementioned customization ideas as a starting point for your inspiration to come up with your own offerings. Additionally, as we have mentioned before, one of the most effective practices to ensure that you are in good shape with your bookings flow is experimenting with different pricing strategies to see which one works the best.

Ensure Your Customers Come Back

It has always been one of the biggest challenges for tour operators to retain customers. To make sure your sales are increasing, one way to do that is to retain customers and their loyalty to you, so they will want to book with you again

It might be even more important to retain customers vs. constantly trying to find new ones on some occasions. Think about the following reasons next time you decide between customer retention and acquisition:

  1. It’s cheaper: cost-wise, you will spend less on retaining existing customers than finding new ones.
  2. You have the information: you know their preferences and how to accommodate them, whereas new customers can be sometimes difficult.
  3. It’s long-term with existing customers, and you will know that they will return at some point or another because you studied your market and know how to promote your business.
  4. Your customer will become your salesperson: because of the tremendous unusual experiences that you come up with through the customization process, your retaining customers will get the new customers for you.

Moreover, happy customers will also leave positive reviews of your business, the importance of which we discuss further.

Get More Positive Business Reviews

Getting more reviews has always been important for businesses, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, we have already emphasized the importance of reviews and how to get them in our separate blog. Follow our recommendations on established techniques tour operators leverage to get more positive reviews.

Ultimate Purpose of Running Watersport Business

To conclude, every watersport tour operator has to decide for themselves what they want to achieve. Whether your goal is to retain your customers or get more positive reviews, bear in mind that watersports are a seasonal business for many. By addressing the challenges mentioned above, you can avoid failure and successfully run your business for many seasons to come!

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