When it comes to group tours and activities, offering group discounts can help attract the right customers. But group pricing is more complex than individual pricing. There are many factors to consider to make sure that your pricing strategy makes sense in your market and keeps your company profitable.
In this detailed guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of group pricing strategy for tours and attractions.
What kinds of tours and attractions benefit from a group pricing strategy?
Group bookings help you attract a wider audience and help fill your tour capacity quicker than with private bookings.
For one, groups often plan special occasions, such as birthdays or corporate events, allowing operators to target a diverse audience beyond individual day-to-day customers.
The word-of-mouth marketing will also enhance your company’s visibility. A group of five people will make a bigger splash about their experience on social media than a party of two. When multiple people are talking about the same tour or attraction, they’re bound to gather more attention from potential customers.
Tour operators and attractions can benefit from hosting big private parties, family events, and corporate gatherings, including:
- Museums and art galleries: These attractions often have a lot of information to take in and may require more time than an individual visitor can spend. Group tours can provide a more comprehensive experience and allow visitors to share their thoughts and observations with one another.
- Amusement parks: Amusement parks usually have a wide range of attractions, such as roller coasters, water rides, and arcade games. Offering group pricing can encourage families and friends to visit together and enjoy the park’s various offerings.
- Zoos and aquariums: Zoos and aquariums often have special shows and events that are designed for larger groups, and group pricing can make it more affordable for families and friends to attend together.
- Tours of historical sites and walking tours: Tours of historical sites — think battlefields, forts, and historic homes — and city walking tours are great group tour activities. These tours can be enhanced in a group, where visitors can bond and interact over shared experiences.
- Sporting events: Group tickets can provide a cost-effective way for families and friends to enjoy a game together.
What to consider when setting your group pricing strategy
Let’s say you run a scuba diving company in Maui and you’re trying to figure out your group pricing strategy. You must consider each of the following before setting the right price:
Tour operating costs
Your operating costs will determine the absolute minimum you should be pricing your tours. This includes your labor costs, transportation,, marketing expenses, insurance, and any other costs that are directly or indirectly related to running your business.
As a scuba diving tour operator, your fixed costs will likely include rent, business software, dive boats, and oxygen tanks. Then, you must also calculate your variable costs like wages for instructors and guides, oxygen to fill your tanks, meals during tours, fuel for your boats, etc.
Number of participants
As the number of participants increases, you may be able to offer a lower per-person rate because you can spread the fixed costs over a larger group. On the other hand, there may be limitations on group sizes depending on the nature of the tour or attraction.
For example, if your company focuses on intimate, more personalized dives, you’ll want to keep the group size small.
Length of tour
Longer tours may have higher operating costs. A scuba diving tour operator might be out on the water for half a day, especially if each excursion features more than one dive. In this case, welcoming a larger group can spread the fixed costs over a larger group. You can encourage big group bookings for longer tours by offering a special discount. Meanwhile, shorter tours may have a lower cost structure, but you may not be able to offer significant discounts.
Inclusions and exclusions
Consider what is included in the tour when setting group pricing. Are meals, transportation, or additional experiences included?
Within our scuba diving example, the operator would need to consider boat transportation and oxygen tanks. You can then adjust the price based on what is included or excluded from the tour.
How much to discount
Discounts should be enough to entice groups to book, but not so much that it significantly impacts your profits. Consider offering a tiered discount structure based on the number of participants, or offering discounts during off-peak times to fill empty slots.
Tour operators should also consider how often they want to offer discounts, as they can impact the perceived value of your tours.
Common mistakes that tour operators make when setting group pricing
Setting the right pricing strategy for group bookings can be a challenging task for tour operators. Pricing too high may deter potential customers, while pricing too low may result in lower profits.
Let’s dive into a few common mistakes you should avoid when setting yours.
1. Unclear terms and conditions
One of the most common mistakes tour operators make when setting group pricing is having unclear terms and conditions.
The terms and conditions of your group pricing should be simple enough to skim over and understand. You should be clear about the number of people required to make up a group, payment options — such as split pay — and cancellation policies.
2. Not offering a variety of group sizes to accommodate different needs
Not every group will be the same size. You may welcome large family gatherings, wedding parties, and corporate events, all of which will have different needs. When you allow different group sizes, you open your business to more customers.
3. Failing to promote the group pricing offers effectively
You need to have a good marketing strategy to communicate your group pricing. For example, your website may have a section called “Group bookings,” where customers can learn all about your group offerings and discounts.
Here are a few elements that should be included in your group bookings page:
- Outline the different group packages and discounts offered, such as corporate group rates or school fied trip ideas.
- Specify the minimum and maximum number of people required for the group pricing to kick in.
- List what’s included. Especially highlight special perks, such as group photos or exclusive access to certain areas.
- Provide a simple step-by-step guide on how to successfully create a group booking.
- Feature testimonials and photos from past groups.
4. Promoting it to the wrong channels or subset of customers
If you’re promoting your group offerings to the wrong customers — for example, solo travelers — then you won’t be making many sales. Before creating a marketing strategy, consider who you want to attract and then promote your experiences to them through the appropriate channels. For example, promoting group pricing offers for large family reunions on LinkedIn may not be as effective as promoting them on Instagram.
5. Not adjusting pricing based on demand and seasonality
Don’t forget to adjust pricing based on demand and seasonality. Factors such as the time of year, peak travel periods, and the popularity of your destination will impact your group pricing. For example, you may raise prices when demand is at its highest and your customers are less price sensitive.
6. Not taking into account the cost of additional services and amenities offered to groups
Remember that your operating costs will determine how steep of a discount you can offer. It’s important to consider all costs when setting group pricing, including transportation, equipment rentals, activities, and any other expenses.
For example, you might offer a birthday package that includes meals or beverages. The cost of these services should be factored into the overall price of the package to ensure the tour remains profitable.
7. Failing to properly train and educate staff on group pricing and its benefits
If you fail to properly train and educate your staff on group pricing, they won’t be able to effectively communicate the offer to potential customers. Hosting a large group is more complex than a single customer. When everyone on your team is on the same page, they’ll be able to provide the group with the personalized customer service they’re expecting.
8. Not considering the competition
Research what other operators are charging for their tours to ensure your rates remain competitive. For example, pricing your group tours too high compared to the competition may lead to fewer bookings.
How to promote your group discounts
Let’s dissect how you can use social media marketing, referral partners, and FOMO marketing strategies to reach a wider audience and successfully promote your group discounts.
Having a strong social media presence is key to every operator’s marketing strategy. But first, you need to find out what platforms your customers are hanging out on. Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are all interesting platforms to consider.
A Facebook business page allows you to share your location, hours of operation, and information about your services with visitors. Potential customers can also read reviews and look through photos and videos of your tours on Facebook.
Meanwhile, Instagram and TikTok allow you to appeal to your audience through photos and videos that transport them to your tour.
In the example shown above, a UK-based escape room facility, Escape Hunt, promotes its game as a family-friendly activity through a post on Instagram. In the caption, the escape room operator emphasized that the games are “perfect for the whole family,” making it clear that group bookings are accepted.
Personalization is key in email marketing. As soon as a guest joins your email list, you should follow up with a friendly greeting thanking them for subscribing and making them feel excited to be a part of your community.
In the following emails, you can further introduce the guest to your tours and activities — and highlight the fact that you offer group bookings. You can then create an email campaign that specifically markets your group tour discounts, such as a limited-time deal to get 10% off a group booking.
Here’s what an example email might look like:
Subject Line: “Unleash Adventure with Exclusive Group Discounts!”
Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure that you can share with your friends, family, or colleagues? At [Company Name], we believe that the more, the merrier! That’s why we’re thrilled to introduce our exclusive group booking offers, designed to make your next outing an extraordinary experience for everyone involved.
- Savings for Your Group: Gather your group of adventurers and enjoy significant discounts on our thrilling experiences.
- Tailored Experiences: We understand that every group is unique, so we offer customizable packages to suit your preferences.
- Complimentary Perks: Receive special perks, such as group photos or exclusive access to additional attractions.
Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to bond with your favorite people while embarking on an adrenaline-pumping adventure.
Button: Inquire Now!
Hear from some of our previous group customers who had an unforgettable time with us:
- “Booking a private tour for our team-building event was the best decision! We had a blast and bonded like never before.” – [Customer Name], [Company Name]
Get in touch with our dedicated team today to discover how we can create an exceptional event tailored to your group’s needs.
We hope to see you soon, [Your Company Name]
Promoting your group discounts through referral partners can also be an effective way to reach a wider audience and boost your group bookings.
There are a few different ways you can do this. You can look for local businesses like travel agents or travel bloggers that are likely to refer customers to your group discounts. It’s also a good idea to reach out to your local tourism bureau, which is always working on new marketing campaigns to attract visitors to your city.
Above, you’ll see that Shores & Islands Ohio, the Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) that promotes a pair of islands on the coast of Lake Eerie, highlights group bookings on its website. The DMO has partnered with local businesses like the ferry, an open-air train, and tour operators to offer custom itineraries for groups.
The Ohio organization does a great job presenting unique group experiences that visitors might not have known about otherwise. And if you’re one of their referral partners, you’ll reap the benefits. Partnering with a local tourism bureau can increase your business’ visibility to a slew of new visitors.
FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, marketing uses urgency and scarcity tactics to encourage customers to make a booking before they miss out on a great discount.
For example, you can create a sense of urgency by offering guests a limited-time discount for group bookings. This will make customers feel like they need to act quickly to take advantage of the discount before it’s too late.
FOMO campaigns also use specific language that can elicit an emotional response from customers. The Instagram post above is a perfect example.
Avital Tours, which specializes in local food and walking tours in San Francisco, LA, and NYC, uses FOMO tactics to sell its tours to corporations during the holiday season. The message in the post is clear: This is the last chance to close a group booking with the tour operator. The phrases used — “last call” and a holiday party your team “won’t forget” — make all the difference in a FOMO campaign like this.
Pair the campaign with social proof like customer reviews, testimonials, or photos of previous group events, all of which can help instill FOMO in potential customers.
How to measure the success of your group discount strategy
Here are some key metrics you can use to measure the success of your group discount strategy.
General Financial Performance & Viability
- Monitor overall revenue generated from group bookings
- Compare the revenue generated before and after implementing the discount
- Track changes in profit margins and overall business growth
- Analyze the impact of the group discount strategy on the company’s long-term financial stability
- Calculate the profit generated from group bookings before and after the discount strategy is implemented
- Analyze the cost-effectiveness of the discount strategy in terms of customer acquisition and retention
- Compare the profitability of group bookings during both your high and low seasons
Number of Group Bookings
- Track the number of group bookings made before and after the discount is in place
- Analyze the volume of group bookings and compare it with the previous year
- Monitor the conversion rate of potential group customers who show interest in the discount offer
Customer feedback from groups
- Send feedback emails to groups who booked with the discount to gauge their satisfaction level
- Use this feedback to improve the group discount strategy and overall customer experience
Developing a group pricing strategy can be a complex task — but it’s a crucial component of a successful business model.
By implementing the strategies and tips outlined in this guide, you’ll be on your way to creating a pricing model that attracts the right customers.