How to Start a Tour Business (9 Steps to Follow)
Do local cultural sites attract you like an irresistible magnet? Do luring landscapes and enchanting monuments instill the urge to explore more of your city or country in you?
Have you ever thought of quitting your monotonous 9 to 5 job and spend some quality time in the bounds of culture, art, history and nature?
That sounds like a far off dream, existing only in our minds and desires, right?
Wrong! What if I tell you that there’s one way you can enjoy your life the way you want and get some or rather an adequate amount of money out of it?
Passion and money, hand in hand? Seems more unreal now!
But just hold onto the conception for a bit more. Here’s an effort to prove the apparently irrational and risky proposition!
Establishing a tour agency or business is the answer to all your urges of making your life more fun, more meaningful, more worthy. Tour businesses differ from travel agencies in mainly one element - a guide! The rest of the procedure is essentially similar.
Jumping onto an integral part right away wouldn’t be wise enough. So let’s do this step by step.
Here’s a detailed road map with some maxims and advice to follow before you start knitting the dream of a prosperous and thrilling set up of a tour business:
1. Talk to Yourself
But we do it all the time - in stress, in confusion, amidst quarrels and repentance. So what’s new about it while planning a business?
A tour agency or business differs significantly from other business ventures. It demands from you an overwhelming interest in its affairs, your utmost devotion dwelling in its planning and an eagerness to endeavor beyond traditional orthodox ideas.
In order to make your venture profitable and interesting for yourself, you’ll have to enquire yourself on some crucial points:
- Why am I doing this in the first place? Is it for mere fun, an urge for socializing with people from all walks of life or just money-making?
- What is my vision behind this venture? Making people aware of the history and culture of my region, connecting people from different professions and locales to promote harmony and peace etc.
- Why take it as a business? What are the skills you have or will require to initiate the venture?
With these starters settled in your mind, you’re good to go! The rest of the voyage continues with less trouble.
2. Decide on a Dimension
A dimension can be taken as a niche for your business. You must know what’ll keep you going through the monotonous schedule of trips and business meetings and procedures once you feel settled in the venture. If unable to identify that, you’re probably going to lose all interest in just a couple of months and end up drenched in vows and loans and a deep sense of futility and despair.
To choose a niche, this is the set of elements to be finalized:
- Evaluate the places you’ll arrange tours for. Visit their markets, research on their historical and cultural sites, talk to natives for stories and facilities to attract the tourists etc.
- Pick out your target audience. Accepting anyone for any trip is the worst technique you’ll be adopting. Try to stick to just one type of audience e.g, university students. Gather up knowledge about their first options for tourist places. This will keep you “in the game” and help maintain a sense of calm while planning tours.
The target audience can be approached with respect to professions, passions, age groups and fields of study etc.
3. Get to Paperwork
This seems bizarre beyond words but hey, we live in a state. This can’t be left out or you’ll land yourself in big trouble.
Choose a unique name for your business. This doesn’t have to sound out of the world but from within a clear perspective you hold for your endeavor.
- Visit tourist promoting sites and institutions in your city or province like Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (operating on national level) or Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab (operating on the provincial level)
- Talk to the agencies involved in registering your business
- Get an official license and insurance policy for making the venture credible and trustworthy for your customers and workers
- For smooth transactions in a digitized age, get your venture an official bank account by its name
This step will break your flow. Don’t let your determination fall prey to this sluggish business of official registration. Hold onto it for the real magic lying ahead.
4. Carve out Your Tour Plans
Now kicks in your passion, creativity and skill set!
Tours can be arranged according to your initial investment in the business. The best way to be cost-effective is to locate culturally and aesthetically rich places near your head office or residential city.
Decide on these terms before calling out for customers and groups for the tour:
- The places for the tour. These should be promising in either their cultural or historical appeal, their scenic beauty or their national significance
- The costs. These may vary according to the customers you’ll take for a certain trip. Break down all the expenses involved in the tour and try keeping them reasonable. BUT never compromise on the quality of your services or facilities. You wouldn’t want each of your tour to accompany a multitude of complaints and unhappy customer reviews.
- The time schedule. This depends upon the audience as well as the place where you’re taking your customers. Elaborate trips stretching to weeks hardly attract much audience. One-day or two-day trips work best in Pakistan
5. Create a Unique Advertising Strategy
Designing an advertising strategy that is true to your purpose and goal and attracts a huge number of customers is your real task. There are plenty of tour advisors and agents out there. Why should a person trust or consult you? This is what you’ll be thinking about to make it count for you and your audience!
Don’t worry about this step here. We’ve got your back!
Just trust us with these steps if you want to stand out amongst your competitors:
6. Build your brand name
Your brand name is your identity and selling mark!
If you wish to make and leave your mark among a plethora of all sorts of tour agencies, opt for a brand name that’s S.M.A.R.T (Surprising, meaningful, aesthetic, rare and trendy).
7. Design a Logo
Hire a professional logo designer and construct a strong image of your brand. You shall have a say in the design as much as the designer himself to create a bond with it that’s everlasting and special for you. Search out some trends in logo making before you decide on the final design.
8. Social Media Handles
Your social media handles describe your entity the right way. Make them
in the right way.
Hire people for this task who care about your venture and passion.
9. Choose the Right Guide
Your guide is the pivot of your voyage. Choose someone for this task who has got the P.E.R.K factor in him
- Professional yet sensitive towards your endeavour
- Enthusiastic about his/her work
- Respectful to your customers since they’re going to interact with him the most
- Knowledgeable about the historical exploits and indigenous norms and practices of the place being visited
When all is set according to the plan, just remember that erecting the structure of a building is relatively easy for beginners. The real task lies ahead i.e, maintaining the infrastructure in its best state.
So, enjoy your tour business with as much zest as responsibility as was present when you built the first dream!