When you work in travel and tourism, you’ve heard it all: The luggage was lost. The bed was hard. The adventure wasn’t as amazing as they thought it would be. More often, feedback skews toward the problems, no matter how rare.

But when you survey your customers, you discover that experiences are much more diverse than the random disappointed ones you may hear. Beyond just satisfaction, survey answers can offer you an insider’s look at the psychology, expectations, and behavior of those who likely fit in your target audience. 

Effective and strategic marketing campaigns are built on a clear understanding of your brand persona, and that’s true of travel and tourism businesses as well. With the right travel survey questions, you’ll be able to make better decisions by analyzing data. That’s always better than just guessing.

Here are nine tips for travel surveys that will benefit your business:

1. Organize questions by topic and keep it simple

When you craft a survey, you should always keep the people taking the survey — your valued customers — in mind. Never use terms or abbreviations they won’t completely understand. Keep the wording of your questions simple and straightforward. 

You should also organize your survey so they know what topics they can expect for the next questions. It helps them complete the survey faster, which they’ll appreciate. They’re doing you a favor by answering these questions, so you should return the favor by having a good reason for asking each one. 

2. Get demographics out of the way quickly

Knowing your customer base demographically is vital, but it’s boring for participants to share. Make it easy for them to checkboxes quickly to identify their age, geographic region, or other personal characteristics that could help you target your future digital advertising campaigns

Be careful when asking about gender, race, or other potentially sensitive questions. You want to make sure everyone feels included as customers of your business. You also don’t want to ask more than the necessary information — few people will complete the survey if it’s too long.

3. Ask about satisfaction on all fronts

The key to a successful survey is simplicity. Focus on essential questions, like whether they’re pleased with their interactions with your team.

Ask customers to rank their satisfaction in these areas, from poor to excellent: 

  • Greeting or initial impression
  • Staff
  • Cleanliness
  • Communication before or after the booked experience
  • Value of the service
  • Your website or social media
  • Meeting or exceeding overall expectations

4. Find out about their travel behaviors

You want to dig into the way they travel so you can create new packages and services to match their needs. Are your customers more DIY-style travel, or do they prefer organized tours? Some possible questions:

Whom do you usually travel with?

Give your customer multiple-choice options for answers, like family, friends, partners, or others (with a blank space).

How long are/were your travel plans?  

Knowing the length of a customer’s vacation or excursion can be valuable information when retargeting them with packages they’ll be interested in. 

How far in advance do you plan your travel?

Some people are extremely spontaneous, and that can be effective information for a social media campaign that includes last-minute discounts and deals on packages. When launching new announcements about your services, don’t forget to add a sense of urgency.

5. How did they hear about you? 

This is one of the most important questions to ask your customers. What if you put a lot of money toward a social media campaign, but no one said they saw it? If that’s the case, you should readjust your marketing strategy

While you’re likely doing some sort of marketing to get the word out about your travel and tourism business, in order to grow your business, it’s important to try out other methods of reaching your target market. And the only way to know if any marketing method is working is to track your success with metrics and data analysis. While marketing metrics can be challenging, an email marketing system with back-end analysis, like Constant Contact, can make it easier.

6. Ask about your customers’ social media habits

They may have seen an ad on Facebook, but are your customers following you on your social media platforms? This is a way to develop a relationship with the people who have already found and appreciated your services or packages. You want to stay top of mind when it’s time to book a new destination — or when their friends ask on social media for recommendations.

What social media platforms do your customers use?

This can help you determine how to focus your time effectively with social media marketing.

Have they connected with you on social media?

This should be a list of all the social media channels that your own with the option to checkboxes next to each one. This will not only allow you to see where your customers are connecting with you, socially, it will also provide them with a list of other social channels where they can connect with you and reinforce the relationship you’re building. 

Do they take lots of pictures? 

This is a question to include if you are searching for digital ambassadors to help you reach a new target audience. Or perhaps they can share photography that you can use in your next content marketing campaign

7. What are your customers’ challenges?

You can better understand common issues facing your customers through your survey. Ask them about how they plan their vacations, or whether they need extra help navigating new places. Create open-ended questions so they can share their concerns — and you can meet their needs.

While you can ask the open-ended question, “What challenges do you frequently face when traveling?” Depending on your business’s specialty, you can certainly be more specific by asking about “traveling abroad,” “traveling in-country,” “traveling with pets/children,” “traveling by car, plane, etc.” 

There are many different variants of this one question, to come up with the best one for you think about what your travel and tourism business specializes in, who your target audience is, and what information you need to know.

8. Learn how you can help find solutions

Customers love good service that meets their needs — it’s rare these days. You can make your travel and tourism business stand apart from the competition by offering solutions to problems before there’s anything to complain about. Questions that can figure this out could include:

  • Do you use paper maps or apps while traveling?
  • Do you prefer online downloads or flyers and brochures?
  • What kind of souvenirs do you like?
  • What are your transportation preferences?

9. Switch up the question type to keep their attention

Fit the question type to what information you need to gather. Remember: Your goal is to get your customers’ feedback so you can improve the services and packages you offer.

To make the process of taking the survey go faster, offer different types of questions based on what you want to know. Have a variety of answering options:

  • Yes/no
  • Scale from 1 to 5 or poor to excellent
  • Open-ended with space to fill in as much as they want

You should always end the survey with perhaps the most telling question of all: What else would you like to share about your experience?

Give your customer the opportunity to get whatever they really think off their chest. They’ll appreciate that you want to listen, whether they’re upset or 100% satisfied.