Founded by three partners Christophe Tassenon, Wim Lefebre and Erny Van de Woestyne who met at a networking event, Segway City Tours Belgium is the largest segway tour operator in Belgium. For this article, I interviewed one of the co-founders, Christophe, who tells me about his experience prior to starting the company, the business itself and what it's like to run a tour business in the 21st century.
Having prior experience as the main distributor for segways in Belgium, Christophe entered the tour and activity sector with a wealth of experience under his belt. His deep knowledge of the product also stemmed from working with partners overseas and observing what they were doing with their segways, taking note of the successful strategies he came across.
What makes the company so special?
"Segway City Tours Belgium operates in Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels, possessing the largest fleet of segways in Brussels. We're not you typical segway tour company. We try to mix it up and make it fun by letting guests try out a segway, most of them for the first time."
"We turn each destination inside out, by sharing unique insider stories about the city, its top sights and attractions. We want to have fun with our customers, whether they are other travellers or other business professionals."
Excuse me? Segway tours for business professionals?
Apart from their most popular segway city tour where customers are brought to popular sights and attractions around the city, the company also offers tailor made tours, where a lot more time and energy goes into planning the tour for the customer.
Team building activities are also offered to businesses, and the team learns how to use a segway to navigate around a city. It's fun and puts an interesting spin on traditional team building activities.
Thinking beyond the billboard
If you have a quick browse through the company's websites (they have one for each city, all supported by TrekkSoft of course), you'll find that they also offer segway marketing services.
Think of it like a billboard on wheels, a segway billboard.
The company rents out fully customised segways to other businesses, as a unique and eye-catching way to promote their brands. These segways are available for events, conferences or just around the city.
"The service is offered to some of our partners. "Some" because it takes the right company with the right vision to understand this marketing strategy."
What challenges do they continue to face two years on?
"When we first started, we had to look for the right people who could create and execute the kind of tours we had in mind. Once we had that settled, the next challenge was to get that information online."
"To date, online visibility remains our greatest challenge. We want to make sure people know about us and that they can find us whenever they want to."
"We invested a lot of time on Facebook, TripAdvisor and Viator, making sure that these platforms were regualrly monitored and updated. We also made sure that our sites are smartphone friendly so that customers can find out about our tours on any device."
I contacted TrekkSoft a few months ago, got a reply on the same day and then set up a phone call a few hours later. We want to move quickly and we found that your system (and team) can move quickly with us.
Depending on the activity or tour you provide, focus on the market you want to serve and focus on the service you provide. Be clear on how you product serves that target market. Bring that message online and work hard to get good visibility.
Finally, nothing beats good service. Deliver good service and the price you charge becomes negligible.
Written 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.