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How to run effective customer research

How to run effective customer research

Carrying out research can be hard and complex for many of us even if it's for writing an assignment or business purposes or any other personal purposes.  The most annoying part of conducting research is when you have to collect data from different sources. 

Gathering data from the internet or social media is somewhat tolerable but gathering data from people is a pain as you have to adjust to their schedules when collecting a  questionnaire, constantly remind them to fill the questionnaire and sometimes deal with their attitudes as well.

Whatever said and done, businesses need to do client research to stay on top of their game, which includes tourism businesses as well.  It's a must for tourism businesses to do client research frequently as this industry changes very often.

Why is research so important?

Yes, research is not easy and it's time consuming but at the same time the findings gained from the research can be very interesting and an eye-opener for most businesses. So now you must be wondering why client research is so important for tourism businesses, here are few of the reasons:

  • Client research helps to understand your overall performance. Also, it provides a breakdown of your performance according to different criteria. For an example: research helps to understand how you have performed in different parts of the country, how you have performed on a monthly basis and your performance against other predefined metrics as well.
  • Client research helps you to get in touch with the latest trends. This helps you to get to know things which you may not have been aware about. By getting to know the latest trends you can stay a few or many steps ahead of your competitors.
  • Proper client research helps to narrow down your scope. After carrying out effective research you will get a precise idea where you need your business to focus on.

How do you find the information?

Do not worry about ways of finding information because there are plenty of methods which you can use to gather data. All of these methods will not be discussed in this forum instead a few of the most effective methods will be discussed.


It is obvious that a survey is the most commonly used method to gather information. It's better if you can stick to google forms when creating surveys because you get to create the survey the way you want it and also it can be effortlessly distributed among many people via a link.

The next best thing which you can do is to post your survey on all / relevant social media platforms. This speeds up your data collection as more people are frequently active on social media, therefore, they are more likely to fill your survey. 

Another way to spice up data collection for your survey is to run small competitions on your social media platforms. Who doesn't like a small gift, hamper, discount or a voucher just for filling for a survey. Many will be drawn to such things and you will be able to gather information much faster.

By now social media is in your mind right now but you may be wondering which one is the most effective to run a survey. Facebook is the most effective social platform to use for your survey as it has more than 3.8 billion active users. 

If you are going ahead with Facebook then you can use Facebook ads to promote your survey among a large crowd and gather more data.

Participating in social groups and pages:

Another way to gather information is to join highly active pages and groups in either of the social media platforms.  This way you will be able to get the latest buzz about the tourism industry and about travellers as well.

Where to store all these data?

Google spreadsheets are also a good tool to store information apart from  transforming raw data into something much more useful. This is a preferred tool by many users. Another common tool that can be used to store data would be Microsoft Excel although it is mainly used for converting data into meaningful information.

Many of us prefer google spreadsheets over Microsoft Excel because it is free,  you can define what sort of user permission (edit / comment/ read)  you need to provide to other users and anyone can access it from anywhere when permission is provided. 

Apart from the above, you can also use tools such as Active Campaign, HubSpotZOHO or Sharpspring. Active Campaign and ZOHO are cloud-based business automation software but they are able to store data effectively as well.

These cloud-based software perform all types of business automation services making life easier for tourism entrepreneurs. However, Sharpspring also does the same functions but what’s unique is that it tracks the behaviour of the website visitor, hence making analysing a cakewalk.

What are the most reliable and effective sources to find client information?

I am pretty sure all you readers must be eagerly waiting for an answer to this question as it is a common problem running in the minds of most business owners. 

All of you must be expecting names of advanced software as the answer for this question but that’s not the case always. Remember, it's always important to find new ways to do things but at the same time, it is very important to stick to the basics.

Don’t think too far for answers, just keep it simple and remember that the best source of valid information can only be gained by having a casual conversation with your customers. Trust me, this information is gold.

Of course, if you are busy then you may not be able to talk to your customers directly but don’t worry there are other ways you can get customer information.

One common and reliable way of getting information is to use Google analytics.  If you have a call centre in place then gathering information via call recordings is simply invaluable but this option is most likely to be limited to medium to large scale businesses as many small businesses do not have the financial capacity to have call centres.

You can also use sources such as advertising platforms and sales data to understand customer preferences.

How long will it take to conduct effective research?

To start off, there is no direct answer to this question. The tourism industry is changing frequently, therefore, your research may take a month or more than a month. However, one thing is certain that most of the time the duration of the length depends on the time taken to collect data.

What sort of client information will provide a competitive edge?

User interests are the key in tourism as it helps you to get that extra inch of that advantage which you always wanted..  Getting to know the user interests will help you to personalise your services to your customers. We all love a personalised service by our favourite tourist destination hotel/hotels, isn’t it?

Demographic data also play an important role in the quest to achieve competitive advantage. Also, it plays a significant role in personalisation. For an example: tourists in the age category of 25-30 may prefer adventure, therefore, you may develop safe adventure-based packages within your business, similarly, people in the age category of 40-60 may prefer to relax, therefore, you will have spa centres in your hotel that provide ultimate comfort.

Also, another important fact to keep in mind is that you will also need a proper website that captures all these types of data. With SilverStripers you will be able to enhance or develop a brand new website that can fish out these data  and help you to give your best.

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