Tour Guide Booking Software How-To: VIPs


Kept almost in secret, big theme parks offer high-end VIP guided tour experiences that can be adapted to your tour. It all starts with your choice in tour guide booking software. Here's how...

Learn From The Big Parks

In the competitive guided tour market, tour operators are always on the lookout for that something extra that will get them more bookings. Offering exclusive VIP guided tours, like the ones offered by the giant theme parks, may just be that "something extra."

Disney World, Universal Studios and Six Flags Adventures all offer VIP guided tours of of their parks at an ultra premium price. The high-tour tours are little known, lost among national advertising campaigns for the regular admission, but a peek behind the curtain shows the big profit margins VIP tours generate, make up for the low volume.

When the Daily Herald spotlighted the various VIP tours, it was in the context of helping families on vacation get a better experience. By recommending the theme park VIP guided tours, the Herald emphasized no waiting in line, fewer crowds and relishing the time spent on family vacation. The Herald aptly notes that some parks, namely Disney, have had VIP services for some time, but they were reserved for celebrities and visiting dignitaries. It was only recently that the VIP tours were opened up for all - all who can afford it that is.

Gone are the days when everyone pays the same price for a theme park ticket and waits in the same lines...What [VIPs] get is a personal concierge who can monitor wait times across the parks, make dining reservations, arrange for the best seats at shows and make sure everyone in the group can get autographs and photos of Cinderella, Mickey Mouse, Mary Poppins and all their other favorites. Guides tailor the tours to whatever the guests want to see, whether it's the princesses or the big ticket rides.

The premium experience comes at a premium price. Typically starting at $400 per person and going up from there. After mixing in on-site luxury hotel accommodations and side-excursions, the price can exceed $2,000 per person.

What is of note to the guided tour operator is how the experience is segmented into its component parts and offered up à la carte, on an inmate one-on-one basis. VIP guided tours of Disney World are based upon all the same rides and attractions as the regular general admission experience, but it is the presentation that's different. The tour guide takes VIP guests off-hours or to a normally off-limits areas of the park, and personalizes the tour - that is how they justify the high prices. To see what each park offers VIPs, and to learn from their business practices, here are the respective VIP tour links:

Disney World

Universal Studios

Cedar Point

Six Flags Great Adventure

If your tour usually welcomes a big crowd, and follows a set route, you already have the raw ingredients for a VIP tour package:

  • Starting with the tour guide booking software, just create a new booking process for VIPs.
  • Present your tour in segments, each one having a unique description and/or "in-depth" highlight.
  • Make it clear to your exclusive guests you'll be spending extra time with them, one-on-one and "in-depth", no others will be in attendance.

If, for example, your regular walking tour moves through the city streets in an hours time, then your VIP tour can travel along the same route but at a slower pace. You can embellish the entertaining narrative you always provide with more in-depth information at certain stops, as chosen by the VIPs. Letting your VIP guest choose which tour stop will be the "in-depth" highlight gives a sense of control, and thus value. Be sure to choose a creative name for the segments and make them prominent during the booking process.

Taking yet another cue from the VIP experience at the big parks, offer exclusive merchandise that is unavailable on the regular, non-VIP, tour. Just like adding special "in-depth" VIP tour stops is a function of the booking software, so too is the selling of VIP merchandise. Since this will be for VIPs, and the booking prices will be considerably higher than your regular tour, make the merchandise match. A simple t-shirt is a great souvenir, but may not meet the expectations of your high-end clientele.

Small businesses taking cues from the giants in their respective industries is a smart practice. The tricky part is offering up the big park's VIP experience without having the big park's BIG budgets.

Offer VIP Experiences With ThunderTix Tour Guide Booking Software

If your current tour guide booking software doesn't have the tools to create special VIP packages or the ability to make selling merchandise a smooth part of the booking process, now is the time to switch to one that does.

Tour guide booking software from ThunderTix has both of the important tools you'll need to create VIP experiences for your tour.

Starting with the special bookings, our technology helps you create a custom version of your tour, in its entirety or "in-depth" segments, that get assigned special pricing. With ThunderTix, your guests are presented with a special VIP tour option, that has its own unique visuals and rich descriptive text. We make creating the special VIP tours easy too.

Also, when it comes to selling VIP merchandise, our new Products feature is just what you need. When your VIP customers are progressing through the booking process, credit card in hand, there is no more lucrative and appropriate time to sell products along with tour reservations.

Switching to ThunderTix is just a matter of contacting us at your convenience, and we have your tour up and running - including VIP bookings - in as little as 24 hours.