I need your advice on how to get more inquiries generated by recommendations from past guests.
For the first time in at least a decade Costa Rica Expeditions needs more inquiries from travelers who want us to plan their vacations.
The reason that we have not needed more inquiries for so many years is that we’ve been terrible at selecting and training new trip planners. This meant that as of a few months ago we only had five trip planners who had an average of over 8 years of experience with Costa Rica Expeditions. It also meant that the bar for new trip planers was set very high and we had all the inquiries that we could effectively handle.
The reason we now need more inquiries is that recently we completely revamped the process for selecting and training new trip planners and it worked.
Without having to lower the bar, we now have three additional excellent trip planners. That’s a 60% increase in capacity.
Recommendations Best Source of Inquiries
Our best source of inquiries is recommendations from past guests. There are two main reasons for this:
1. People who contact us because their friends recommended us have a much higher conversion percentage than prospects from other sources.
2. Friends of out past guests are even more likely to be delighted with their experience than prospects from other sources.
Since we have long recognized this to be the case, we are already doing everything we can think of deserve and prompt reservations.
- We do everything we can to learn as much about each of our guests as we can and use that knowledge to craft the ideal vacation for each guests.
- We reach out to all returning guests, ask for feedback on how we can improve.
- Whenever possible we act on suggestions and reward the people who made them.
- We specifically ask past guests to recommend us to their friend if they feel we deserve recommendations
- We promise to give priority treatment to prospects who contact us by way of a friend’s recommendation.
These measures have worked. Over the past 12 months we have gotten 146 bookings from friends of past guests. Ironically, this is what makes getting even more inquiries from friend’s recommendations so difficult. If we could have thought of more ways to get more referrals we’d already be doing it.
And that’s why we need your advice.
I will gratefully send a bag of coffee to the person who I feel has made the best suggestion. I’ll also update you on what we try and how it works.