6 Steps to Start a Tour Operator Business
Find your Market Niche
Develop your Brand - Story, Company Name, and Logo
This is the time for your story! Whether there is a long history or a new adventure to share, when developing your brand, think about what ignited your passion for this business. What led you to this point, and what makes you different? Potential customers are not only sold on the experience but also on you and your story. Company names should be simple and clearly identify you. Ideally showcasing your particular excursion in a memorable way. When people hear your company’s name they should be immediately transported to the experiences they can have with you. After creating a company name, have fun creating a logo that visually illustrates your story and company name. Make it memorable and easily identifiable but make sure your logo isn’t too busy and looks good in different sizes. For more information on how to create a great logo click here. (insert other Logo article)
Build your Business - Initial costs, Ongoing Expenses, and Pricing
Depending on the nature of the business, location, and resources needed, startup costs can vary widely. If you own most of the assets and would like to be a tour company, startup cost could be as little as $2000. However, startup costs for companies requiring the purchase of assets or more assets such as off-road tours are around $50,000-100,000. The substantial difference in price comes from the need to buy vehicles in this case. However it is safe to say that in most cases, the bare minimum initial cost will include a computer(s), booking software, registration and insurance. Ongoing expenses should be taken into account as well. When thinking about ongoing expenses, consider not only how extensive you want your company to be, but also what activities you’re including, and what materials you will need. For example, if you’re running a Tour Company that operates ATVs, cars, boats or any motorized vehicle, you’ll have to calculate gas prices, services and maintenance into your estimate of ongoing expenses. Another significant expense is the staff you choose to represent your business. Their salary and other areas of their compensation should be computed. Other ongoing expenditures might include venue or office expenses, insurance policies, and advertising, as well as website and booking management. An important step in building a successful business is the perfect price point that covers your expenses and provides a healthy profit. Conduct market research in order to evaluate what your competitors are charging for their tours. This provides invaluable insight to the cost of similar tours and what distinguishes various price points of tours. Keep in mind, if you price your tours higher, you receive more money per sale but it might not attract as many customers. If your price is lower, you won’t receive as much on each sale but you are more likely to have a larger volume of customers. Another option is to distinguish yourself by creating distinctive packages offering different levels of opportunities or services at a unique price. Don’t forget to include group rates. Everyone loves a discount and groups can fill an entire tour. Fortunately, all of this can be easily managed if you use TRYTN as your booking service.
Create a Website
Building a quality company website has many benefits. First and foremost, it is an efficient way to make information about your business public. Even more important, it easily allows potential customers to purchase tickets. Your website should include information about your company, locations and descriptions of your excursions, and showcase your brand’s personality. Creating quality content, and ensuring your website is easily accessible are key to achieving great guest experiences. Your website should be accessible on mobile phones and desktops. This is important because in 2022 mobile commerce sales increased by 75.9% from just three years ago. This is the bare minimum, and a quality website includes so much more! If creating and maintaining a website overwhelms you and you would like assistance, TRYTN offers services to aid you in designing and managing your company’s website. Find more information here.
Practice Good Business - Obtain a Tour License, Meet with Professionals, Procure Insurance
It is possible that you will need to complete a course to become a licensed tour guide if you plan on conducting the excursions yourself. This permits you to escort your patrons around a specific region. Contact your local tourism board to complete the necessary requirements to register as a guide. Ultimately, to establish a professional business it is important to make sure all of your legal and financial boxes are checked. Meeting with a lawyer and/or tax accountant will structure your business and launch a successful start. They can assist you with formulating the correct style of ownership for you such as the sole owner or sole proprietor of your company and in many cases tour companies set up an LLC. Creating a structure for your business helps in the future if you encounter any legal issues. As the sage proverb from Benjamin Franklin states, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” it is certainly true in business and smart to plan for the unknown and include liability insurance to your business plan. It is not only possible but probable that over the course of your business one of your guests is injured or hurt on a tour, and likely they accidentally damage some of your property. Having liability insurance protects your business and prevents unwanted stress. Also having guests sign digital waivers is important so they realize the risk before coming on your tour and acknowledge that they still wish to go.
Starting a business in the tour and excursion realm is a great choice. Not only are you showcasing something that you care about, how many people have a business that spreads joy? We hope that this article is a good starting point because the possibilities of what you can create are endless. TRYTN is excited to see what you will become and when it comes time to sell your tickets, we hope to see you again! For further questions, please feel free to email us. ([email protected])