How Event and Tour Operators Can Work Together to Deliver a Better Experience

What is the recipe for a successful event? The most obvious answers are meticulous planning, flawless execution, and an adequate budget. However, as any professional knows, while these pillars are essential, there’s something more that makes an occasion unforgettable. The secret lies in creating something that cannot be copied.

But what exactly is a unique experience? How can event organisers stand out in a market where ideas often appear copied or recycled? The best strategy is also the simplest: joining forces with tour operators.

Why Event and Tour Operators Should Join Forces

Both event organisers and tour operators have much to gain by joining forces to offer a unique service to their clients.

Travel companies have the local knowledge and logistical capabilities to enhance the whole experience, offering attendees convenient transportation, accommodation options, and guided tours. Conversely, events can serve as a unique selling point for tours, providing visitors exclusive opportunities to participate in local festivities, conferences, or sports competitions.

Moreover, event and tour operators can leverage each other’s marketing channels and customer bases, leading to increased visibility and a broader target audience. Events can attract visitors from beyond the usual tourist demographic, while tour operators can introduce their existing customers to new and unique event-based experiences.

A factor that should not be underestimated is the potential gain in operational efficiency. Events can benefit from the logistics and knowledge of tour operators – including transportation management, group bookings, and accommodation arrangements – without allocating significant resources. Tour operators, in turn, can explore the occasion’s infrastructure to improve the services offered.

It’s also important to remember that by exploring the host city, the organisers of meetings, symposiums, seminars, or conferences allow these events to go beyond the walls of the hotels and convention centres where they are held. Adventures like the Beatles Tour, for example, provide an immersive experience for visitors, transforming the event into a portal that opens to a unique culture and setting which cannot be replicated anywhere else.

How a Collaborative Approach Can Improve the Experience

Now that you know the importance of collaboration, it’s time to get to work. The first step is to define common goals. This could be increasing event attendance, expanding tour offerings, or enhancing the visitor experience.

Collaborate on marketing campaigns that highlight both the events and the tours. You may want to use social media campaigns, email marketing, and advertising in local and international travel publications. Produce blog posts, videos, and social media posts highlighting the extraordinary activities available. To reach a wider audience, engage in joint social media initiatives such as Instagram takeovers, live Q&A sessions, and co-hosted webinars.

Creating bundled packages that include event tickets and tours is also a good idea. Develop co-branded promotional materials and merchandise such as brochures, flyers, T-shirts, and tote bags. Additionally, set up information booths where tourists can learn about local tours.

Implement a referral program where each party rewards the other for referring customers. This could be through commissions, discounts, or special offers. Consider creating a joint website or online platform, simplifying the process for customers and leading to increased sales.

Organise regular meetings to share insights and explore new opportunities for collaboration. If possible, attend industry events together, such as travel expos and tourism conferences, to network and promote your collaborative offerings.

Lastly, establish a system for collecting and sharing feedback between parties. In this way, you can identify areas for improvement and ensure that the collaboration continues to meet the needs of your audience.

Eurovision: A Success Story in Liverpool

The tourism industry has many success stories showcasing the symbiosis between events and tourism operations. One of the most prominent examples is Eurovision, the famous music festival. In 2023, the competition was held in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

About 50,000 tickets were sold for the shows. Nevertheless, the city welcomed around 300,000 visitors who came specifically for the Eurovision atmosphere despite being unable to access the competition arena. About 175,000 hotel rooms were booked throughout the occasion, resulting in the industry’s best performance since 2018.

As you can see, the collaboration between events and tourism operators can be very fruitful, both financially and in terms of brand recognition. This partnership not only expands the range and diversity of experiences for visitors but also strengthens the position of both in the competitive tourism market.