The following is an excerpt from the FCCA’s Cruising Magazine about Aquila’s “Revitalizing your Shore Excursions” Workshop at the 20th FCCA Conference in Colombia, which was presented to a packed room of Tour Operators and Destinations looking for tips to revitalize their product offerings and delivery.

Shore experiences play such a significant role in a cruise line’s decision to call on a port that it is critical to pay attention to our shore excursion programs – whether a destination, an attraction or a tour operator. So how do we maximize opportunities and deliver what the cruise lines are looking for?

Often today in destinations, several of the shore excursions have been the same since they were introduced many years ago, and many feature just one product or service provider. Finding ways to innovate, add value, and differentiate our tours can make us stand out from the crowd. There are important questions to ask from our own destination’s perspective to give us a good starting point for developing shore excursions that work.

  • Where are the gaps in the shore excursion program in your destination?
  • Where are the opportunities for new tours?
  • How can we refresh an “old favorite” to increase sales?
  • Should we stop operating a tour? How do we know?
  • Would forming a profitable partnership give us new opportunities?
  • And where does customer service and risk management come into the equation?

To start off, ask who your customer is and what they are looking for. Not all cruise lines are the same or interested in the same products. As an example, the niche cruise market does not always want the same experiences as the mega ships – but sometimes, programs will cross over all cruise types.