Whether you've just started your tour or activity business, or you've been in the travel industry for a while, it's always great to surround yourself with like-minded people. Finding your community online or offline is great for sharing ideas, opinions about tools or software, or simply supporting you in whatever stage your business might be.
There are also other benefits to these communities like networking and discovering new opportunities for collaboration and innovating to create better products for your customers.
So where can you find a group of like-minded tourism industry professionals?
1. Join a Facebook group
- Tour and Activity Marketing Talk - A Facebook group moderated and run by the team at TrekkSoft, this group is filled with great discussions about marketing tours and activities from operators and business owners across the world.
- Tour Operators United - Previously run by the people at Tourism Tiger, the group has now been handed over to be managed by Kelsey Tonner, founder of Be A Better Guide. They maintain a very strict no-self-promotions policy which has led to hundreds of very honest and practical discussions about problems operators face in their businesses.
The trick to getting the most out of these groups is by contributing to it however you can - whether it may be sharing your experiences or your own knowledge, recommending a useful book or blog article, or just asking a question you might have.
2. Attend a conference
There's literally a conference for everything these days. I once met a Canadian who attended a conference about permaculture in Dublin in Irish.
My point is that if you prefer finding your community through events and you want to meet people in real life, while learning a thing or two about your industry or your business along the way, attending a conference is a great place to start.
Whether you prefer attending huge conferences with thousands of attendees or smaller more intimate ones with no more than 500 people, there's definitely a conference out there for you.
For TrekkSoft, we find it valuable to attend larger conferences like ITB Berlin and WTM London. Another conference on our radar is the Skift Global Forum, where we see the world of travel and tech collide in a creative way.
There are also tonnes of conferences out there that cater to small businesses. Check out this very long list of "creative" conferences happening in 2017 or this list for more "business-y" conferences - there's sure to be one that tickles your fancy.
Alternatively, you can find out about upcoming events on EventBrite too.
Read more: How to network at a conference
3. Travel specific communities
- Travel Massive - An international platform with different "Chapters" set up across the world. Each "Chapter" is either a city or country where like-minded travel professionals and travellers can discuss issues relevant to their destination and set up networking events to meet one another. They also have a forum that's vibrant and full of interesting discussions, from travel plans to attending conferences to questions like "Are tour guides still necessary?"
- Adventure Travel Trade Association - Stay updated with new adventure travel innovations, best practices, and sustainable travel successes; and join a vibrant network of travel professionals from all sectors of the industry.
- European Tourism Association - The leading trade association for operators and suppliers in Europe. Network and meet other tour and online operators, intermediaries and wholesalers, European tourist boards, hotels, attractions and other tourism suppliers.
4. Join the TrekkSoft Community
When you sign up for TrekkSoft, you gain access to our exclusive community where you'll have access to a forum and additional training and support material. Plus, our customers also gain direct access to our Product Managers to discuss the software and learn about upcoming feature releases.
Log in to your TrekkSoft account to access the community to meet and collaborate with like-minded professionals from around the world.
5. Other platforms worth checking out
Reddit's Travel Subreddit - Learn about what travellers are looking for and talking about these days on the internet's largest forum.
Quora's Adventure Travel topic - Similar to Reddit, Quora is another platform where travellers and industry professionals can post questions and respond to them.
A word of caution: These platforms pride themselves in being ad-free, especially on Reddit. Any form of self promotion is mostly frowned upon unless it is highly relevant to the topic at hand.
Which of these communities have you found to be useful in growing your business? Let us know in the comments below!
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Published by Nicole Kow
Having graduated from the UK, Nicole travelled around Europe before joining TrekkSoft's marketing team. She is now based in KL and regularly blogs about her travels at Next Train Out.