The One Thing You Need to Sell More Tours

by Julia Barrero

Why you need a unique value proposition…now

Earlier this month, I attended a marketing talk hosted by Strategic Adventures. Amidst dozens of other tour operators craving the latest marketing advice, the presentation grazed over the more traditional tactics of tour and activity businesses.

Instead, the presenter spoke at length about something so important in today’s marketing: a unique value proposition (UVP).

A UVP may sound jargon-y but it really boils down to is what makes you different. What do you promise to deliver, and why should someone buy your tour and not your competitor’s?

These questions are so core to our businesses that we frequently overlook them. But until we answer them, we stand to lose many valuable customers.

Shape the business landscape in your favor

You know that your tour is awesome, but what would an outsider say? Could a potential customer land on your website and immediately tell you apart from one of your competitors down the road?

A unique value proposition creates a teaching opportunity between you and your potential customer. By having a clear and strongly formulated UVP, you can nudge the customer to start benchmarking your competitors’ tours based on your winning traits.

Maybe your bread and butter is delivering an all-inclusive sunset boat tour. Put this “all-inclusive” value at the center of your marketing materials and customers will begin to notice when others can’t match your offer. Now, the boat tour on Pier 12 that doesn’t offer drinks and appetizers looks like a bad deal to your informed buyer.

In short, a UVP helps mold the competitive landscape so your tour business can stay ahead of the curve.

unique value proposition

How to craft a UVP

Now, you’re going to single out the most important, identifying trait that sets your activity apart from all the rest. Ready? Go!

…Easier said than done, right?

Start with this template from Strategic Adventure’s Stephanie Sibille to get your creative juices flowing:

  • We provide…
  • so that you…
  • and you walk away with…

Write down 5-10 different versions of this template to really flesh out all the different values that you offer customers. Is your unique value proposition primarily emotional? Is it intellectual? Is it physical? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Also ask yourself, who is your target audience? Does it make sense to weave them into your UVP?

What it’s not

Make sure that your UVP sets you apart by communicating value. That seems self-explanatory but it’s important to emphasize. Here’s what your UVP shouldn’t look like:

  • It’s not a positioning statement: If you claim to be the “#1 Food Tour in Philadelphia,” what gives you that authority? Are you the highest-reviewed tour on TripAdvisor? Are you the biggest food tour? Once you’ve pinpointed what makes you #1, ask yourself why that fact would be important to your customers. Does it add value for them? If so, you’re on your way to actually identifying your UVP.
  • It’s not a tagline: Apple’s “Think Different” motto is catchy, but it doesn’t distinguish its product or value.

If you need additional clarity to help you get started, check out this post. Hurry back though, I’m waiting…

Working examples of a UVP

Now that we know what a UVP is and what it’s not, let’s see one in action:

Supercuts

supercuts-uvp

This unique value proposition almost nailed it.

In my opinion, there are parts that are too long or superfluous to actually communicate value.

Here’s how I would edit it:

“With more than 2,400 no-appointment-required salons across the country, Supercuts offers consistent, quality haircuts at a moment’s notice that will leave you feeling clean and ready to get on with your day.”

If you notice, I barely changed anything about the actual words themselves–I simply cut out the middle sentences of Supercuts’ first paragraph. Now, the UVP reads clearly and firmly.

Now for the final test: does it follow Sibille’s template that we mentioned earlier?

  • We provide…”2,400 no-appointment salons across the country”
  • so that you…can get a “consistent, quality, haircut at a moment’s notice”
  • and you walk away…”feeling clean and ready to get on with your day”

Not too shabby, huh?

Final reflections

Your unique value proposition is your trump card. It should highlight the value that you bring to customers above and beyond what any competitor could offer.

Despite the power of a UVP, however, it’s shockingly challenging to find one on a company’s website or marketing materials. Test this out. Check out the websites of your tours’ competitors and see if you can find a strong UVP. This could also help you brainstorm your own unique value propositions.

By definition, a UVP distinguishes you from other tour operators. But having one now, when so many others do not, will give you an even bigger leg up on your competition.

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