Next year, Paris will host the 2024 Summer Olympics. From 26 July to 11 August, the city will be full of visitors eager to watch their favorite Olympic sports and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of this special time. For many of these visitors, the Olympic Games will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience an event of this scale. Similarly, for tour operators and activity providers, they represent a unique opportunity to increase bookings in the short term and brand awareness in the long run.
The Impact of the Summer Olympics on a Destination
The economic impact that the Olympics can have on a destination is almost unfathomable for small business owners. For example, the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, received more than 1.7 million tourists in just two weeks, including 410,000 foreigners, according to a report published by Marca. Hotel occupancy during the event averaged 94%, and foreign tourists spent an estimated average of €116 per day during their stay in the city. The bar and restaurant industry in some areas of Rio grew by 70%, and attractions such as Rio’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue were visited by 30% of these foreign visitors.
Meanwhile, London welcomed 31 million tourists in 2012, largely due to the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Tourism spending during the month of August, when the Games were held, was up 9% on the previous year, with each visitor spending around £1,300 during their stay. This is almost double what tourists usually spend while visiting the capital of the United Kingdom. In other words, during such events, travelers tend to stay longer and spend more than they normally do, which is extremely beneficial for tour operators and activity providers.
Beyond the increase in visitor arrivals and visitor spending, there is another important factor that cannot be put a dollar value on: the so-called “Barcelona effect”. Named after the phenomenal success of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, this “effect” refers to the change in the way a destination is perceived on the global stage as a result of hosting the Olympic Games. In the 1980s, Barcelona was seen as a boring, industrial city in northern Spain. After the Games, people learned to appreciate its many beauties and started adding it to their travel bucket lists. Today, Barcelona receives around 32 million visitors a year.
The impact of the Olympic Games on a destination’s economy and tourism is enormous, both in the short and long term. As a small tourism business, it is imperative to take advantage of this increased interest in a destination.
Tips for Leveraging the 2024 Summer Olympics
Many visitors who attend a major international event such as the 2024 Summer Olympics are also interested in experiencing the different attractions and activities that a destination has to offer. This represents a huge opportunity for small and medium-sized tour and activity providers. We’re confident that if you adopt the right marketing, distribution, and sales strategy, you could have a record year. With the right approach, you’ll reap the benefits for years to come: the more bookings you get during the Olympics, the more reviews you’ll get, which in turn will increase your visibility and lead to even more bookings in the future!
Take advantage of online and mobile bookings
Online and mobile bookings have become the most popular way for most travelers to book tours and activities. If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to optimize the experience for those customers who visit your website from their smartphones. Your main goal is to provide clear, easy-to-navigate content that gives potential guests all the information they need to decide whether or not to book with you. You should also ensure that you include compelling calls to action that guide guests through the booking process.
Finally, make sure your website is responsive, meaning it can be used on both mobile and desktop devices without losing functionality or usability. If possible, test the user experience on a variety of devices to make sure everything is intuitive and works correctly.
Work with OTAs to get more reservations during the 2024 Summer Olympics
Understandably, many tour operators and activity providers prefer to receive bookings directly rather than working with third parties such as OTAs and resellers due to the high commission costs. However, there is a very important benefit to working with OTAs such as GetYourGuide and Viator. They can help you gain international exposure for your business that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to achieve. Most of the major OTAs are translated into multiple languages, and these sites spend a huge amount of money advertising on travel-related keywords. This means you get a huge boost in visibility without wasting your precious budget.
Accept multiple payment methods
When you have people from all over the world visiting your destination, it is important to accept a wide variety of payment methods. While Visa and Mastercard are still the most commonly used, PayPal and eWallets are becoming increasingly popular. For this reason, accepting as many different payment options as possible can help increase your conversion rate.
Offer flexible booking options
We all know that even the best-laid plans can go awry, and one thing the past few years have taught us is the importance of being flexible. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many tourism businesses adopted flexible booking policies. This is something that consumers have come to appreciate and even expect from tour operators and activity providers. Offering more flexible booking options will help to appeal to different types of travelers and can help them feel more confident about making a reservation with your company.
Run targeted advertising campaigns
Targeted advertising campaigns can be executed on search engines such as Google, on OTAs, or on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. As the name suggests, these types of campaigns can be targeted to a specific demographic or location: you could even target people who have already arrived at your destination, which is a great way to increase last-minute bookings.
Collaborate with influencers and bloggers interested in the 2024 Summer Olympics
Social media has become one of the most popular ways for travelers to find attractions, restaurants, and activities in a given destination. People all over the world follow Facebook pages and profiles to learn more about the different things they can do while on holiday. As a result, travel influencers and bloggers have become an important marketing “tool” for businesses to leverage when trying to reach new audiences. When choosing an influencer to work with, consider whether their followers match your target audience. As a rule of thumb, it’s usually better to work with someone who has a high level of engagement rather than simply choosing them based on the number of followers they have.
Develop new products
The 2024 Summer Olympics can also be a great opportunity to launch new sports-themed products. Tour operators based in a host city such as Paris can include various sporting venues in their tours, or even bundle tickets to Olympic events with longer, full-day tours. This could be an easy way to generate additional revenue for your business while offering an all-inclusive option for guests.
Expand your language selection in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics
When it comes to major international events, it is important to offer multiple languages for your tours and activities if you really want to capitalize on the huge increase in demand. Tour operators in Paris are probably already offering tours in English and Spanish and would certainly want to consider adding German and Italian to their repertoire. Offering additional languages will increase your chances of securing these bookings, especially if a visitor feels uncomfortable taking the whole tour in English. This could mean hiring additional guides who are fluent in additional languages on a freelance basis and then listing these languages on your website to see if there is demand.
You could also consider adding additional languages to your website itself. Whilst it is tempting to simply use Google Translate to do this, it is imperative that you employ someone to translate the information. Not only will it look much more professional, but it can also help reduce costly misunderstandings caused by translation issues in the future.
If you are still using pen and paper to run your business, this could be your chance to automate certain aspects of it. Partnering with an all-in-one booking software like Regiondo allows you to sell tickets online, manage bookings and connect with the world’s leading OTAs. This could end up saving you a lot of time that you would normally spend on administrative tasks. This time could then be spent meeting guests, leading tours, or growing your business.
The Olympic Games represent a huge opportunity for tour operators and activity providers, but to make the most of it, you may need to make some changes. Fortunately, there are companies like Regiondo that can help you! To find out more about how Regiondo can support your business, book your demo today. Our team will be happy to show you how we can streamline your operations through seamless bookings, real-time availability, and powerful reporting tools.