Are you offering a payment plan for your group trips? You should be! Payment plans are a great way to increase sales, accessibility, and customer satisfaction. Having a payment plan allows your customers to book the trip they want sooner, with a lesser payment upfront, and pay it off as the trip approaches. For some people, this can be the difference between being able to book your tour or not!
However, payment plans can be tricky if you don’t implement them well. They could lead to a lot of extra work, or you could find that your customers are missing their payments. To benefit your business by having a payment plan, you need to implement it in a simple and effective way. Also importantly, you need to keep your customers engaged and excited about the trip, rather than dreading the email telling them their next payment is due. But how do you do that?
These are our top tips for keeping group travelers on a payment schedule engaged:
Make the payment schedule clear from the get-go
Before you implement a payment plan, think about what terms you want to associate with it. Be clear about exactly what payments will be required and when, as well as what will happen if your customer is late with a payment, or unable to make it at all. Think about what is acceptable to you and your business, and if there is any room for movement or exceptions in certain circumstances. It helps to do this from the beginning rather than having to quickly come up with an answer when problems actually arise.
Now you have the terms and want to implement the payment plan as part of your travel business. The next key element is ensuring that you outline the terms of your payment plan clearly to customers from the get-go. They need to have all the information to make a decision about whether the payment plan works for them too, and they will be able to meet the terms. This information should be clear before they make their deposit, to avoid people signing up for something they weren’t prepared for.
Once you’ve had people sign up for your group trip through a payment plan, your next step is sticking to it! Send invoices or payment reminders on a regular basis so that customers know when to expect them.
Be polite with your language
It might seem like a small thing, but adding lines like “We can’t wait to see you on the trip!” or “We appreciate your timely payment for your upcoming trip” can work as a positive influence on your relationship with the customer and encourage them to make the payment.
If you do have to deal with late or missed payments then send a friendly reminder. Don’t think you’re being rude by asking for the payment again, given that you’ve laid out the payment terms from the beginning. If you do have penalties, you can list these underneath the reminder, or add them to a second reminder if the first doesn’t work. Encourage your customer to get in touch to discuss the payment if they need to.
Penalize late payments
While you may not like to do it, and you may feel like it’s a bit harsh, you should make clear from the beginning that there will be a penalty for late payments. You may add a certain percentage for a late payment, or even a penalty like loss of deposit, although this may be after several late payments.
Send friendly but exciting reminders
Payment reminders don’t have to be boring! Travelling and group trips are exciting, so remind your customers why they signed up to be making these payments in the first place. Give them extra little bits of information about the upcoming trip, have a countdown calendar, send a packing list, or include some photos of the exciting places they’ll be going and the activities on offer. Make them feel like they want to sign up all over again!
Make paying the installments easy for you and your customers
Are your customers avoiding payments because your payment method is difficult for them to use, it has a lot of fees, or you don’t have their preferred payment method? Maybe it’s time to rethink how you accept payments for your group trip.
WeTravel is a payment platform designed specifically for travel planners and tour companies. It allows you to set up a payment page for your customers to book their trip with you, and even have a “book now” button on your website that enables a pop-up box for customers to book through (known as the “embeddable checkout option”). All of these features are aimed at making the payment process easier for both the tour operator and the customer, and as such, WeTravel also offers the ability to set up payment plans for your customers.
WeTravel’s payment plan system allows you to choose the number of installments and the payment dates. Each customer is sent a personalized link to go in and make their payment, making it easy for them as well. WeTravel will take care of sending reminders and collecting the payments, and will also chase up late payments.
Setting up a payment plan for your group trip is a great way to gain customers and improve accessibility to your tours, but the key is in keeping your customers on a payment plan paying and engaged in the process. These tips should get you started on improving your travel business, and you can check out our free resources for more great ideas!