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Upselling to tourists

Generating long-term repeat business is essential for growing a taxi firm. However, not all customers will come back. You may have very happy customers, but there will always be some who only require your services for a single journey. Tourists are likely to be among this group of people, vising for a short period of time and using your services only a few times at best. However, there are opportunities for you to ethically maximise their value to your business through upselling.

Upselling is not about ripping off your customers, it’s about increasing their value to your business by encouraging them to spend more. If done correctly, it will mean that you will generate more income for the time you spend servicing them and it will improve their experience as a customer. Given that tourists are, by definition, visiting an area, there are lots of opportunities to add value and increase returns.

There are two main ways in which you can upsell to tourists. The first is to encourage them to use your services again, rather than simply dropping them off and never hearing from them again. By doing this you reduce the wasted unpaid time in-between jobs because less time is spent finding customers. The second is to sell them complementary products and services. Given that they are in your car, you have a unique opportunity to advertise or sell to them. This does not have to be intrusive or devalue your brand, it could simply be a partnership with a restaurant offering a discount to the customer in return for a commission from the restaurant.

Encouraging tourists to repeat their custom requires that you provide a means for them to contact you again, and that your service quality is sufficient that they want to use you again. For example, you could hand them your business card and offer an exclusive discount on additional trips. Perhaps you could even suggest some local landmarks you could take them to. Building rapport is important so they know you are the best person to contact to be shown around. Incidentally, building rapport has been shown to improve prospects of tips and online reviews, both of which are value-adding.

However, many customers will not come back, so another option is to explore selling complementary items. For example, if you’re driving to an airport, you could offer small travel kits containing the essentials for a flight. Likewise, when picking customers up from an airport, you could offer tourist guides and exclusive discounts. In fact, deals with local shops and restaurants may be of interest to regulars, not just the tourists, so it’s well worth exploring partnerships with other local businesses. Some taxi firms have also started offering refreshments, including bottles of water and light snacks, though it’s worth avoiding anything messy or sticky. Selling does not have to be intrusive. By leaving a flier in the back of the car with an inventory and price list, you don’t have to become a salesperson, which can intimidate customers. However, if you engage your customers in friendly conversation they are more likely to buy.


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