Each TrekkSoft customer has their own story about how and why they became a tour operator or activity provider.
Some tour operators realised that they love educating others and providing them with meaningful cultural experiences.
Others started activity companies simply because they love the sport, activity, or adventure and wanted to introduce others it.
Whatever your company and passion, you'll need a business plan to make sure your venture is both financially and conceptually viable. Let us help you out.
1. Fill out a Business Model Canvas
The Strategyzer Business Model Canvas is a brilliant one-page tool for entrepreneurs looking to define their business ambitions and map a direction forward. Print out a copy, have a few pens handy, and unleash your business creativity. You could also have fun covering a large print-out with Post-it notes.
DIY task: With the Business Model Canvas in front of you, ask yourself:
- Who are my key partners?
- What are my key activities?
- What are my key resources, e.g. online booking software?
- What are my value propositions?
- What do my customer relationships include?
- What are my customer segments?
- What channels are important to my business, e.g. partnering with travel agents?
- What is my cost structure?
- What are my revenue streams?
2. Define goals and objectives for your tour business or activity company
Imagine your business five years from now. What will it look like? How many customers will go on your tours per week, or how many activities will be bookable on your website?
Picture the future, define 5-10 concrete objectives, and then list the steps required to get there.
Some goals and solutions include:
- Reach new markets > Partner with local travel agents and activity providers
- Improve booking experience > Enable online bookings to save customers time with a software provider such as TrekkSoft
- Expand the tours I offer > Identify gaps in the market that I can fill with my experience and resources, then run trial tours to collect feedback from
3. Work out your finances on your business model
No matter how enthusiastic you are, it's important to ensure that your tour business or activity company makes economic sense. You're an entrepreneur, after all!
- How much initial investment will my tour company need?
- When will I start getting a profit?
- If I get any investment, when can investors (including myself) expect a return?
- What are my projected profits over time?
- Will I be able to devote myself to the tour or activity business in a financial sense?
- What kind of salary or income can I expect from my tours or activities?
- What are the chances the business will fail?
- What will happen if it does?
- How can I reduce risk, or plan for a worst-case scenario?
4. Define exactly how your tours and activities are of value
Another useful tool from Strategyzer is their Value Proposition Canvas, which makes it easy to define how you are creating value for your customers and how to design products and services they really want.
5. Create a marketing strategy that's optimised for your customers
One marketing plan doesn't fit all, especially considering the wide range of tours and activities on the market.
- Who is my target audience?
- How old are they?
- Where are they from?
- What do they do for a living?
- What experience and memories do they want to gain from my tour or activity?
Next, research and create a marketing strategy that these customer segments will best respond to.
You may consider print marketing, or a well thought-out text and visual marketing strategy. Also, effective social media use is key to your marketing efforts, especially if you're targeting millenials.
- A complete guide to visual content marketing for professionals in the tourism industry
- Building a social media strategy for your tour or activity company
While these steps are general, be sure to tailor each step on your marketing plan to your audience. Talk in their language and promote your tours or activities in a way they'll respond to. Good luck!
Do you have any other advice for businesses looking to create or optimise their business model?
Written by Lucy Fuggle
Lucy is Head of Content Marketing at TrekkSoft. She tries to read a book a week, travel solo every month, and share ideas on lucyfuggle.com. You can usually find her in Switzerland's Berner Oberland.