The travel industry is booming.
For instance, check out these stats:
Travelers spent $1.1 trillion in the US last year, supporting almost 9 million jobs in the travel industry.
Clearly, people love to travel, and they’re willing to spend their money on it! That’s good news for anyone hoping to start a new tour company.
However, the demand never guarantees business success. Indeed, this is a competitive industry. A mass of tour companies may already operate in the area of interest. It takes the right know-how to start a successful one of your own.
Are you looking to do just that? Keep reading to learn exactly how to start a tour company that rocks!
1. Know Your Responsibilities
It’s tempting to hit the ground running with any business.
After all, you want to make this a success and get to the fun stuff!
However, it’s sensible to start by doing your due diligence. Essentially, you need to know your responsibilities for running tours with the local tour body.
Failing to understand your obligations upfront puts you at of risk of running into problems down the line. All tours are different. Your requirements will vary depending on the location and type of tour. For instance, health and safety regulations may vary accordingly.
Get started by getting up to speed and fulfilling these obligations. There may be documents to fill, courses to take and general registration processes to go through first.
2. Define Your Audience
Any business should define their target customer from the outset.
The same goes for your tour company. Who is your company aimed at?
Go into as much detail as possible. Picture the age, background, other demographic details, appearance, style, likes, interests, and hobbies or your target customer. Formulate an accurate image of them in your mind.
This customer ‘avatar’ operates as a north star for almost all ensuing decision making.
Branding, logos, advertising, marketing, and designing the tour itself are all helped by having a solid idea of the target audience.
3. Define Your Niche & USP
Defining your audience goes hand in hand with deciding your niche.
Understand your customer, understand what tour they’ll want. Retirees may not want adventures and thrills in the outback. They may prefer wine tasting and historical monuments.
You may well do this in reverse by knowing your niche first. Of course, there are masses of tours you could run: adventure tours, street art tours, heritage tours, city breaks, plant tours, and winery tours, to name just a few.
Starting here may help you define your audience.
The right niche will depend on the current market. What’s your unique selling point (USP)? Who are the other tour companies targeting? Where’s the gap in the market?
Having a USP and targeting an underserved market will give your company an edge.
Conversely, targeting the same audience as others can be problematic. You’re the new kid on the block. It will be harder to attract customers from a business that’s already up and running.
The only exception to that maybe if there are obvious issues with current tour companies. If you’re sure you can do a better job, then that’s your in. However, competing with established brands is always a riskier business.
4. Design Your Tour & Secure Funding
Now for the fun stuff: designing the tour itself!
This is where your preparations pay off. Knowing your audience, niche and USP functions as a blueprint for the actual tour(s).
Get down to the nitty-gritty.
How will the tour run? Where will it be? What will the days look like?
This insight will enable you to estimate the running costs of the business (market research is vital here too). You’ll also better understand the resources you’ll need to operate. These include equipment, transportation options, and employees.
At this point, you can set about acquiring outside investment and suppliers.
Other essential considerations include price points (how much you will charge), opening hours and the actual launch date of the company!
5. Get the Branding Sorted
The branding of your tour company is crucial to success.
First, you need a name! If you don’t already have one, come up with a name to represent your tour and brand.
You’ll need a logo too, a slogan, business cards, and so on, all created and put together.
Work with a graphic designer to do a professional job. The logo and slogan should encapsulate the ethos of your customer. Everything should be on brand and designed with your target customer in mind.
You might also consider getting some professional photos put together. This will come in handy in the steps to come.
6. Establish an Online Presence
These days the internet is key to business success.
You need to get online! Get a website and set yourself up on social media platforms. Don’t go overboard though! Too many platforms at once will overstretch resources. Start on one (where your audience spends the most time), master that, and then go from there.
Your online presence forms part of your marketing strategy.
It’s important to know exactly how you’ll advertise and promote your new tour packages. Websites and social media are helpful ways to do it.
Other options include online travel agencies and sites like TripAdvisor.
7. Get the Business Side Sorted
You need to make the business official before operating!
Pivotal steps include registering the business, opening a bank account for it, getting the tour operator license, and organizing insurance.
This technical side of things is important to get right. With no experience behind you, it may be necessary to work with a legal professional for help.
8. Network & Launch
You want to network as much as possible to advertise your new tour company.
From meetups to conferences, get out there and do whatever you can.
Your website can play a role too. Writing interesting and insightful blog posts that rank in Google can bring potential customers to your online door.
Then, all that’s left is to launch!
Start taking bookings as early as possible. This will help cover start-up costs and settle any nerves! It will also help you test your assumptions and pivot in different ways to attract more custom.
You Just Learned How to Start a Tour Company
There you have it: exactly how to start a tour company that rocks.
The travel industry is booming in the US! There’s a definite market for new tour companies.
However, that doesn’t guarantee success. Knowing the steps required to get set up properly is a vital means of ensuring the company’s prosperity.
Hopefully, this post has helped do exactly that.
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