5 Reasons Why Every Tour Operator Should Sell Photos

 PicThrive - Photo Sales - 5 Reasons Why Every Tour Operator Should Sell Photos (1)

Photos Increases Tour Operators’ Revenue & Margins

Selling photos boost your business’ revenues and margins. Some tour operators report that photos out sell their other retail items like souvenirs and concessions, making it their top grossing in-store item. Photos are a valuable tool to increase your customers’ total spend and provide something valuable in return.


A photo operation is associated with relatively few costs, meaning photo are high margin goods and this incrementally increases your total margins. A photographer (hourly or commission based) and an optional, higher end DLSR camera ($500-$800) is all that is required.  If your photographer is your guide, you are able to reduce your costs even further. Tour photos generally sell for around $20-$50 on average. If only a quarter of your guests purchase photos for $30 for example, you have the potential to increase your total revenue by 8%. You would have the camera paid back in full after selling 16-32 photo albums. This makes photos a high margin endeavour, with a short payback period, translating into real returns on your top and bottom line.


Your Customers Want Tour Photos

A tour is an experience based good and your guests want a great way to remember their time. Nothing captures the peak of your guest’s excitement like a photo. You are truly capturing a special moment for your guest. While they are experiencing your tour, they are also building a deeper bond with their friends, family, significant other or even accomplishing a personal goal like overcoming a fear.


As a tour operator, you have the expertise to capture these special moments better than anyone else. You know your tour inside and out and how people react. This means you have the best understanding of when and where guests are going to experience the greatest experience. Capture these magical moments and you will see guests buy photos. No selfie, GoPro or smartphone can capture it like you can. You are creating something of value.


Tour operators have seen great success meeting the photo demands of their guests including West Coast Wild Zipline, AVA Rafting & Zipline, American Adventure Expedition, Sun Country Tours and many more.

Automatic Word of Mouth Marketing

Your guests are going to show off your tour and their experience via photos. They will instantly share with family and friends, sparking conversations across social media platforms. They are proud of what they just did and want to tell everyone.


This means that they are formally introducing you to 1000s of new potential customers. These referrals can be more important than TripAdvisor. 67% of people seek out recommendations from family and friends when making a purchase decision, which is higher than review sites (55%), blogs (35%) and ads (26%) (SocialMediaLink).


Tour photos are the new word of mouth marketing. Photos spark the conversation on social media and your guests are talking to their friends about you. When more people start liking and conversing around the photos, they go viral on social media and begin to show up on more people’s feeds. This starts even more conversation and gets you more impressions.


That one guest has now introduced and recommended you to thousands. Their photos are able to communicate to everyone the amazing time that was had and this can influence buying decisions. 81% of people say posts on social media from their family and friends directly impact their purchasing decisions (Forbes).  Organic word of mouth marketing on social media is an important marketing tool for tour operators.


This is because social media is the place where people hear about products first before any other source (SocialMediaLink). This means, you are able to get in front of the customer before any of your competitors and influence their purchasing decisions.  This is made possible by photo sharing.

Re-engage Your Guests After They Leave

Re-engaging your guests after they have left means you are more likely to get reviews on TripAdvisor, have brand ambassadors and repeat customers. However, it is very hard to reach out to all of your guests and have them engage with you. They are already onto their next adventure or the short window of opportunity, when they have high engagement, is missed.


Emails sent by your reservation system do help solve part of the problem. However, email from reservations system to guests are only delivered to the one person who made the booking and not the entire group that went on the tour. Sadly, that group leader isn’t going to forward your email over to other guests and you are probably lucky if the majority actually open and click on the email.


You could use digital waivers and the emails provided on them. However, your email and domain can run the risk of being marked as SPAM as you are sending unsolicted marketing emails. In some countries like Canada it is illegal to send unsolicited marketing email on mass and business could face fines in the millions.


Tour photos are unique because they are more engaging. Even if one person purchases photos, you are able to interact with the entire group.  This is because people willingly share photos and by making it easy, you are able to engage more of your guests. Photos also remind guests of the great time they had because of you and therefore they can be more likely to re-engage with you.


By re-engaging your guests more efficiently, not only does it save you time, it also gets you more reviews on TripAdvisor, followers on Facebook and Twitter and importantly, repeat customers.

This is relationship building at it’s finest. Staying in front of your customers helps you build stronger brand loyalty than your competitors. Tour photos via PicThrive’s platform are the conduit to beginning that relationship.

Photos Advertise the Tour Experience on Your Website

Tours are experience goods and as a result consumers require first hand insights on the product when making a purchase decision.  (What Motivates Consumers to Write Online Travel Reviews?, Information Technology & Tourism, 2008).  They want to know what they are going to experience when they book your tour and that is why photos increased booking conversion rates on sites like AirBnB and TripAdvisor.


What better way to show off your tours and the experience than with recent tour photos. Future customers are going to know exactly what the experience is like, which reduces the purchasing friction.


If you provide a link on your website for your guests to buy photos, you should allow potential customers to view these photos. If your photo store prevents people from freely viewing the photos you are potentially losing sales.


Having an open photo store, that still protects your photos via watermarking, helps increase your photo sales and advertises your tour. It is the best way to show exactly what the tour experience will be like for future guests. Photos are a great way to sell experience based goods.

About PicThrive

PicThrive is a photo sales, customer engagement and marketing platform for tour operators that is currently in private beta. Sign up now to get early access to a powerful customer engagement and marketing tool for your business.

PicThrive is on a mission to be the number one customer engagement and marketing platform for tour operators to connect with clients and their network of family and friends using multimedia. We believe it is important to always innovate in engagement and conversion tools that maximize the user experience and get the best results possible for your business.

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