When new business owners are getting their feet wet and learning how to start a tour company, there is usually a lot of trial and error. Pretty much no one gets it 100% right from the outset. This usually ends up costing time and money and slowing down what otherwise might be rapid growth. The good news is, however, that there are plenty of simple things that companies can do to hit the ground running and launch successfully, right from the get go. So what are some of the most common stumbling blocks and what should fledgling tour companies who are just getting off the ground know in order to avoid them? Here are the top seven things to know about how to start a tour company.
One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make in their early days is to cast too wide of a net and try to be everything to everyone. It’s far more effective to choose a niche and offer something specific. How specific should one be? It depends on a few factors (including target audience, which we get into below), but here are some examples of general tours versus niche tours:
General: Toronto City Tours
Niche: Bike Tours of Toronto for History Buffs
General: Snorkeling Off Tioman Island
Niche: Half-Day Snorkel Adventures of Tioman’s Coral Reefs
The niche versions are instantly more engaging and more attention-getting because they appeal to specifics, providing the customer with a clearer picture of what they can expect on the tour, and making it far more likely that they’ll hit the “book” button.
A company has to know who it is selling to in order to make its offerings appealing to them. A crucial step that too many tour companies skip over in the rush to open their doors is creating a detailed buyer avatar. A buyer avatar, also known as a buyer persona, is a document that outlines the traits and characteristics of the company’s ideal buyer. Some of the basic information that goes into a buyer avator includes age, income, lifestyle, and preferences. Once again, an example helps put things into perspective. Here is the difference between a vague, ineffective buyer avatar and a detailed, effective one.
Vague buyer avatar: People who like biking.
Detailed buyer avatar: Fitness-oriented people in their 30s and 40s who travel solo or in small groups without children.
Taking the time to get to know the ideal customer on a deep level makes marketing the business and attracting customers way easier in the long run, so it pays to do this early on when starting a tour company.
An important way that a tour company can stand out among the sea of competitors is to offer tours and packages that others aren’t. Most travelers and tourists are looking for a unique experience and the companies that can provide them are going to attract far more business than the ones who all have the same offerings.
Some ideas for designing unique tours and packages that stand out:
If there’s one thing that every customer wants, it’s simple payment options. A confusing payment system or limited payment options will drive away potential business, usually right into the arms of the competition. Booking software like Junglebee makes it easy for customers to book and pay for their tours (and for companies to manage those payments). Tools like this are well worth the investment.
In order for a tour company to start turning a profit, people have to know it exists. This is where a well-thought-out marketing strategy is worth its weight in gold. A good marketing strategy is one that is diversified and includes both print and digital efforts, such as:
With the average person spending over two hours per day on social media platforms, businesses can’t afford not to be on them. Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are the biggies, so they’re where new businesses should focus their efforts when starting out and growing their social media presence. The time that is put into developing these accounts pays off in several key ways.
For instance, prospects look to a business’s social media presence for “social proof” of the business’s quality and legitimacy. Are the accounts verified? Do they have a decent amount of followers? Do they post useful and accurate content? What are people saying in the comments? Social media also helps humanize a business, showing the people and the mission behind the brand. This goes a long way to building that all-important trust that converts prospects into clients.
Once a company has attracted the right buyer through carving out a niche, defining a target audience, and reaching it through effective marketing, it’s time to close the deal with a booking. With online booking being the major way that people book tours nowadays, it’s absolutely crucial to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible. Just like with payment, if the process is difficult or confusing, the client may give up before completing their booking.
A simple solution is to use a dedicated booking software, preferably one that is tailored to the specific needs of the travel and touring industry. Junglebee is a tour operator driven company and booking system that is founded and run by tour operators who were looking for streamlined booking solutions for their businesses.
Do you want to know more about how to start a tour company? Or how to grow your existing business by attracting more bookings? You can find out more by scheduling a 30-minute discovery call with Junglebee’s team of experienced professionals.