Focus on Your “A-List”

Outdoor Recreation Businesses Rely on Repeat Guests

Owners and operators of travel and outdoor recreation businesses understand the beginning of every new year is the most important sales cycle of all. The drivers behind this annual surge in booking activity are numerous. And often the results can be the difference between missing or making the budget. This is especially true right now. After two years of interrupted travel plans, people are highly motivated to confirm their favorite vacation destinations for 2022.

The bookings in this season can come from all channels. As they pour in, it’s critical to maintain a high level of service to the customers on your “A-list”. Every business has A-listers and these are typically your most loyal repeat clients. But they can also be first-time guests, who come by word-of-mouth referral. You will find that many of these referrals come from your A-list clients.

In a practical sense, the revenue of an average booking simply equates to the price of the package booked. But bookings from your A-list customers should be looked at as recurring revenue. As your team provides the service these high-value customers have come to expect, one can reasonably count on their business many times over deep into the future. So, in essence, a routine booking of $5K for an “A” list customer, could easily represent just 5 to 10% of what that customer will spend over a 10-to-20-year period.

The value of your A-list customers is immeasurable. While we are at the height of the sales season, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Have All the Tools

Give your A-listers all the options you can for how and when they book. Many look forward to receiving your confirmation, and they will happily put their deposit check in the mail. Others will send an email or give you a call, but more and more people wish to book online. So if your property has not yet added an online booking tool, this year could be the ideal time.

Never Assume What They Want

It is easy to fall into a pattern of being confident that you know what your repeat guests want. If they always come for salmonflies, you may be doing what you always do, holding their favorite cabin and guide for late June. But be sure to keep up the conversation and find what is new in their life. You may learn this is the year they want to host a company retreat or wish to bring the whole family together for a reunion.

Pick Up the Phone

Obviously if your phone rings, you are going to answer. And this time of year you’re probably of the mind to do it after hours and on weekends. Your A-list customers are likely just as happy to take your call as they are to call you. If you have not heard from someone yet, give them a ring and let them know you are happy to hold their space.

Give Them the VIP Treatment

If your standard is to treat every customer as a VIP, as it should be, then make certain to deliver more to your A-list customers. They appreciate that you have always gone the extra mile. This is the reason they trust and depend on you. The more they patronize your business, the better you get to know them, giving you more and more opportunities to personalize their experience and go beyond expectations. This is part of the fun in running your business, and the masters of this realm generate so many word-of-mouth referrals, they are able to rein in out-sized marketing budgets and drive more profit into the bottom line.

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