Top tips for planning a busy tour season

23/01/2020 | Event Connect

Top tips for planning a busy tour season

You’re a busy Tour Operator planning for the season ahead.  You’re already booked to attend a number of key industry events and exhibitions, most of which are at the start of the year and your diary is crammed with appointments. Things are looking good and this year you’re going to get prepared early and smash the season ahead!

We’ve heard it before and we’ve seen it time and again, you know what you’re doing so you revert back to the tried and tested formula for your seasonal prep, then at the last minute, you need to make changes!  Even for those of you who have been in the industry for years, change always creates issues, either from a resource or budget perspective of simply added stress.

We can’t solve all your problems, but here’s our top tips on making sure transport isn’t one of them as well as some thoughts on how to make the most of your prep time:

Select event attendance on supplier availability

Plan your show attendance based on being able to connect with the right suppliers. What was your biggest headache last year? Take this into consideration and review which trade shows you attend based on how you can get in front of as many suppliers in this area as possible. Variety is key, as the more you know about the products available the better chance you have of connecting with the right teams, especially when you’re looking for last minute resource when things don’t go according to plan. In tourism we tend to stick to the same “circuit” of trade events, but sometimes it’s good to change things up. Try new events to increase your network of suppliers and contacts.

Research

Research, research, research! If you’re booked to attend a trade fair do your homework on the suppliers you want to meet beforehand. It sounds easy, but there are lots of people who don’t do this. No doubt you’ve learned lots of lessons over the years based on difficult scenarios you’ve been faced with, take these into consideration and be sure to raise them during your appointments. This way you really get an understanding of how the supplier would deal with the situation to support you. They say lightening doesn’t strike twice, but don’t take the chance. If you’re not going to any trade events, reach out to your network of colleagues, figure out which suppliers worked well for them and get them to share recommendations. From here you can review their credentials and decide if they’re the right fit. This will help you build a top quality supplier portfolio.

Compare

Check out how your current suppliers compare alongside their competitors.  We have a habit of being complacent when things go well, but the more you’re aware of what’s available in the wider market place the better chance you have of creating new opportunities for your business and, of course, save money. Trade shows are great for this, but if a supplier you want to connect with isn’t at a show, don’t worry. Ask them to send you their credentials and testimonials from other work they’ve done, alongside comparison quotes. The information from this should give you some good insight.

Don’t make assumptions in terms of what you think a supplier is going to charge or the types of products they have to offer, ask the questions do the comparisons as you could be missing out on some great opportunities.

For example, lots of people within the industry assume Event Connect are brokers, most likely because when you work with us you do get broker benefits, however we offer so much more. Don’t let assumptions put you off, always do a thorough comparison and you never know it could be the one thing you’ve been missing.

Budgets and added value

The big one! Everyone always wants to get the biggest bang for their buck. Supplier quotes are essential and don’t be afraid to negotiate, even with your current suppliers. Sometimes the cheapest supplier doesn’t represent the best value for money for your business. Look at what extras they can provide. Where are the pinch points in your business? Take this into consideration when making your decision. If resource is an issue look for suppliers who have the experience and expertise to help you with the ground work.  Never underestimate the value of time and experience. 

On average, customers who book their transport with Event Connect save around 20% across their tour season! 

Planning

Even for the most straight forward mundane parts of your seasonal planning, don’t leave it until the last minute. Transport is something we know usually gets pushed to the bottom of the list. Yes, there are lots of transport providers out there, but getting the right one is so important. Bringing your transport provider on board during the planning process brings along a whole host of benefits from contingency planning, crisis strategy development and of course, budget saving. At Event Connect we have access to 1000’s of regional operators throughout the UK, which means we can provide a localised transport solution at a fraction of the cost of working with central suppliers. With suppliers across the country from London, Inverness, Invergordon and Ullapool you’ll never have to pay for dead mileage again! 

We don’t want to “teach Granny how to suck eggs”, but sometimes re-addressing even the most basic tried and tested approaches to planning your season, is enough to ensure you stay on track when things don’t go according to plan.

To find out more about our products and services including details on our fleet of vehicles across the UK, our 24-hour transport control centre or simply more information how we can provide you with competitive bespoke transport solution.

Contact Us for More info


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