5 Things you Should Know before Starting a Tour Business

Barbara Črgar

Barbara Črgar

Head of Marketing at Orioly
Head of Marketing at Orioly
Barbara Črgar

Starting a tour business has many challenges. Running one has its everyday ups and downs. As any other business does. And I am sure that if you are running a tour business for a while, you find yourself thinking: I wish I knew this before! 

Probably a lot of times. Saving time and money is essential for growing your business. And repeating common mistakes is not helping your tour and activity business to grow.

Learning the hard way is not always necessary. That is why I talked with several experienced tour and activity operators. They shared with us, from their experience, all the things they wish they knew before starting a tour business.

I sum up their struggles in these 5 bullets:

  • Be different from your competitors

With the rising number of new tours and activities, it is a challenge to come up with a unique idea.

  1. The first step to unique tours and activities is to identify your niche.
  2. Define your ideal customer. Then, figure out what your target customers want.
  3. Research what other tour and activity businesses are offering.
  4. Then brainstorm and try to figure out how to stand out in the marketplace. Create unique tours and activities with an interesting twist. That is the way to get more good reviews and to have more customers spread a good word about your tours and activities.

“Don’t be a ‘me-too’. Identify your niche, and then go after it with all guns blazing”

starting a tour business

  • Start small with a well-defined product

Well-defined tours and activities are something you should pay attention to. Describe your tours and write a killer itinerary. Above all, be honest and provide truthful information.

“This is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself accordingly.”

Even though, a well-planned itinerary is important, stay flexible with some customer requirements. Don’t be afraid to adapt your tours based on a customer demand! Be flexible with prices!

Running a tour business is a never-ending learning process. Be patient and tailor your tours and activities to suit new customers. Customized tours will give you one of the biggest boosts.

  • Hire excellent guides

You can have a great route and stories, but if you don’t have excellent guides to tell those stories, you’re sunk. Guides who know all about the destination and share stories in an engaging way are the way to go. They should be passionate about their work and sparkle tours with some personal details. You can read here about how to keep your tour guides motivated.

  • Have a clear and conservative budget

There are lots of costs, and especially if you are in a seasonal business, it will be difficult to manage your cash flow. So, have a clear and conservative budget. Price your experiences high enough so you can make enough money to get through the low season. Also, have a product that is quality enough to ask for high prices.  

hire a great tour guide

  • Write a marketing strategy for starting a tour business

Before starting a tour business, you should write your marketing strategy. What will be your distribution channels? How will you reach new customers?

Marketing is all about your own effort to spread the word out about your tour and activity business and get more online bookings.

  1. The first step is to create a website and include a book now button.
  2. Then, create your business pages on the best social media channels to promote tours and activitiesThat is the best way to raise awareness about your tour business and drive new customers to your website.

      “Build good reviews and they’ll come to you”

  1. Another tip is to find partners for distribution (affiliates, agents, referrers, Online Travel Agents, etc.). In exchange for a commission or other arrangements, they will generate you more bookings and boost your sales.

All in all, I am sure that there are even more things you should consider when starting a tour business. But, starting with these few, you can make your start easier. The tour and activity operators I talked to are sure that these tips would save their time and money at the beginning.

We would like to hear from you:

What is the thing you struggle the most when starting a tour business?

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or comments. Contact us or share it right here.

Finally, if you find this blog post useful, share it with your friends and colleagues!

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