Like everything worthwhile in life, knowing how to start a tourist business (and successfully) is worth the effort in time and money. You’ll get as much out of it as you put into it. But when you are considering it, it’s important to think long-term when approaching the venture. It is difficult to get started, and it will not get easier over time.
Be sure to be committed to the venture for many years, whether it’s for days, months, or years. Now, let’s move on with the actual part of starting it. How are you supposed to get going with a tourist business?
First, check-in the local laws based on your state and city to verify that you meet their requirements. Depending on the tour type you are interested in, there may be safety and health regulations.
These regulations should be fairly easy to comply with, but you may need to complete a course in order to trade legally. Then, start focusing on registering your company and working around your clients’ needs and your business’s image.
To lend you a hand, expect a kind of a walkthrough of the information we have for sharing.
Diving a Bit More into It
Going back to what we were mentioning about laws, regulations, and documents, you seriously need to get this done.
You will need to handle and comply with all the regulations set by the state in terms of the insurances, safety, and security you should offer to clients and how your tour is designed.
There’s a lot involved, and as much as we would like to give you all the details, you need to dive into this based on your city. Thus, get started and get it done before anything else!
Once done, focus on registering your business and following the specific steps.
Designing Your Tour
Now you have made the commitment that you are in it for long-term success.
You have also reviewed the regulations with your local tourist agency, and now you know what to expect from a legal perspective.
This is all you need to do to design your tour:
Select Your Market
You’re confident that you can handle all the requirements for starting a tour business and are committed to it being a long-term endeavor.
It is important to identify your niche and market at the beginning. Because you probably have limited resources, you don’t want them wasted on activities that don’t produce results.
You need to understand who your target audience is, what their needs are, and how they obtain information.
How do you pick your niche?
There are many ways and options, but here are some of the bests.
- You can scratch your own itch. It is a tried-and-true method to create a tour for people similar to yourself. This is when you meet people who are your age, have similar interests, and, hopefully, know a lot about them.
- Profit from a market trend. Do you know of any factors that make targeting one group really smart? Maybe a new law has reduced travel restrictions in another country, and you anticipate many people will visit. Perhaps a new initiative will attract new visitors to your city?
You should keep up to date with international and local tourism trends.
- Take a look at your competition. Are there any gaps in the market you have spotted? Is there something that is missing from the market that you would like to add?
All three factors mentioned above can work in your favor if you are lucky. You should aim to be in your competitors’ growing and well-served market.
Create Your Value Proposition
Once you have identified your target market, you can now decide what kind of tour you are going to offer them and why.
What’s the best way to do that? A great way to start is to list your ideal customer’s problems and gains.
What can you do to help them achieve their goals or solve their problems with your tour? This question will help you determine what kind of tour you offer and how to tailor it to your customers.
Identify Your Unique Selling Point
The USP, or also known as the Unique Selling Point, is what answers the question: Why would someone choose you over other competitors?
It is crucial to know your USP since you will need it to be communicated often and wherever you can.
Are you the only tour of its kind in your area? Is your tour offering more value for the same price? You can differentiate by increasing the length (though this is not always true), giving away freebies, or adding tour themes.
Develop A Strategy to Market It
Now you have a clear idea of who and what you are going to offer. Now, it’s time for you to consider how to reach your audience cost-effectively.
Here are the top channels to sell tours and what we would use at all costs (and at once or all together) to ensure you get the leads and make your business a success:
- Build your own website.
- Online Travel Agencies (OTAs).
- Social Media (Facebook. Instagram. Pinterest. YouTube).
- Destination Management Organizations.
- Review sites such as TripAdvisor.
Consider how your target audience obtains information to get a rough idea about how you will reach them.
Set the Prices for Your Tours
Pricing can be difficult to master since you don’t want to go way too low but not too high. It is a numbers game in the end, isn’t it?
It’s crucial to do it correctly as it directly impacts your revenue, perceived value, and, most importantly, the type of customers you attract.
Avoiding underpricing is the most important thing. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out; it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be charging more.
It will be difficult to make the initial profit necessary to expand and offer a better service if you are competing on price.
This is how it works: The higher the price, the more value you provide to your customers.
You can actually have multiple tiers of pricing to manage demand and offer different experiences.
It’s worthwhile to check out your competitors’ prices so that you can get an idea of what their average price is.
What Resources Do You Need?
Now is the time to start thinking about what you will need to deliver during your tour(s).
It is helpful to know the resources required so that you can budget your expenses and avoid any unexpected surprises, which will clearly help with the previous step.
These could include special equipment, assets, and employees. Perhaps you are looking for a great location to work from?
Keep that in mind, no matter what it may be, so that you can budget later.
Set Your Mind in How Each Tour Will Run
You should now have an idea of how you want your tour to work and the expectations clients can have about it or maybe them.
To help you understand what this means, imagine a typical day of running the tour and how it should satisfy your clients.
During this process, always remember that tours are very organized; you get a schedule, and people just follow it. It is a matter of how much they will enjoy it for your business to be successful. Therefore, are you confident it runs properly? For it, always wonder:
- When are you supposed to wake up?
- What are you doing first thing in the morning?
- How do you get through the day?
- What does it all mean?
Don’t Forget About Assistance
Although you will pretty much run your company in the beginning, it doesn’t mean it will be like that all the time.
Once you have an idea of the activities and what you will need, you can start to think about who you might hire to help you organize and run the tour or see if you can do it after a few months.
Are you aware of people who could provide guidance, support, or resources? Perhaps there are organizations you could partner with or even pay for to increase your chances of success dramatically.
This is a great way to start thinking about the future and ensuring you aren’t overworking yourself.
Create A Logo
Now you know what your tour design will look like, how it will be priced, and the USP. It’s now time to move on to the visuals.
First, think about a simple logo that you can use across all sales channels, such as your website or social media. You can either create a logo for free on sites like Canva or hire someone to do it for you, so you get a high-end design.
Make sure you get the colors right, so it represents what you stand for. Don’t stress too much about it. The logo is important, but not the reason that people will buy from you.
Make Some Videos and Take Photos
Remember: visuals are not to be ignored in your marketing materials.
Take photos of your local area. Record a video showing the equipment you will use, even before you own it. This will be very useful when you begin to build your online presence.
You just need to remember that you don’t have to launch your business before doing all this. Just take the time to show people how you are working with everything and get this content done.
Make Sure You Set that Website
Although some people see it as optional, a website is a MUST for every business, but especially for tourists.
Therefore, take the time to go over it, design it properly, and make sure it covers people, not only drives traffic. After all, you want to use this page as the main source and place for your clients to reach you.
It will showcase everything. The photos and videos we mentioned, your place, how your tour works, and all the information you can provide.
Allow Them to Book Online
Now that your website has been created, you will need a way for people to book through it.
There are many great booking software that does all the work. Some of them are paid, but you can expect about $200 a year and get the best from it, thanks to this.
Once your website is up and running, you can use your software dashboard to manage all of your sales/clients.
Visitors to your website can view a live booking schedule. You’ll also be able to manage multiple sales channels.
Tell Your Story
It’s now time to give a personal touch to places you are present to get the top clients and don’t ruin all your efforts in starting this tourist business.
If you don’t get it, your story is like the USP. You can answer simple questions and don’t overthink them. It is only a matter of keeping it simple and ensuring you are 100% honest.
Some questions you can answer include:
- What made you decide to embark on this tour?
- What inspired you to create this idea?
- Which problems were you facing?
It’s easy to think there is nothing special about your tour. But find we encourage you to take the time to think deeply about it.
No matter your background, there is a reason you are here, and it Is valuable for people considering to get your tour.
People like interesting stuff. This is why they purchase tours and activities. It’s also why young people prefer spending to experience experiences over things.
Do Email Marketing
Your website should be working properly and sending out consistent emails. Email marketing is one way to decrease reliance on leads that aren’t returning or work in your marketing strategy to boost your business’s future.
You can also generate more reviews online by contacting people after the event.
Email is a great way to keep customers and prospects updated when the tour is available.
Advertise Whenever It Is Possible
Advertising is not necessary before you launch, but it can be helpful if your budget allows it.
Online advertising and offline advertising are both options depending on the market you’re targeting. In some cases, you might choose to use both.
While you might be tempted by modern methods like Google ads and Facebook ads, traditional media can still be a great choice.
You can make some great deals with local magazines and newspapers by distributing your news online.
Sponsoring travel bloggers or other influencers that can promote your tour is another option.
Sophisticated stats, to be honest, are not something you want to waste your time on so soon. It’s helpful to know where your bookings are coming from in order to be able to make a profit. But it can be hard to track all this.
Is that necessary? Yes, because this will help you decide where to spend your time when you grow your tour.
Does your website work well? What about Facebook? Maybe some of the OTAs are starting to kick in. It doesn’t matter what it is; the idea is to get the entire picture of how things are working.
These are the things to be aware of so that you can spend your time most effectively.
Keep track of a few KPIs. Before you get lost in data, make sure that you have a specific question.
Don’t Just Imagine It. Test It
Get some friends together to run the tour. You will be able to spot potential bottlenecks before launch day and be ready to address them. And yes, this is necessary.
You can also make changes to the tour depending on guest reactions and feedback.
This section is important because it will allow you to confirm your ideas and ensure that there is a high demand for your tour.
Suppose it feels like too much; just go back to what we mentioned about hiring new people. We get it seems useless and expensive, but you can start with a part-time person who only handles a tiny yet crucial and time-consuming part of the business.
Tips to Guarantee Your Tourist Business Is Successful
Honestly, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Starting your business only takes more time than you may expect, which usually throws people off. After all, they usually expect to get things done in a matter of a few days.
We don’t want you to make the same mistake, so consider these tips we wanted to share o you can make this work and achieve success:
- You Can Begin Small.
Do not aim for a large audience unless you can handle it, but start with what you need to make your tour a reality. If you aren’t able to fly as fast as you would like, you can get started with a few yet important clients.
Don’t just focus on numbers. It is usually the most common and worst mistake.
- Hire Staff.
It is a good idea to try the job for yourself, at least for a while. This will allow you to understand the process and the types of people you need.
Sometimes, however, you may need to hire right away. And yes, we are mentioning this once more.
You should, of course, aim to attract the best people possible. You can train both seasoned professionals and people with great potential.
You should not compromise your integrity in this situation. Your success or failure will depend on who you choose to hire.
- Offer World-Class Customer Services.
When you get customers, treat them with respect. This is the most important thing you can do from now on: create happy, passionate customers and treat everyone around you well.
You can reduce the dependence on first-time visits by offering great service. This will allow you to build a sustainable business that doesn’t require you to grind your teeth all the time.
- There Are Ways to Handle Negative Reviews.
It is important to be open to the possibility of sacrificing the short-term in the long term. Sometimes you will have to take a step back and offer a few refunds.
Some promotions may not be a good revenue generator. It will pay off as people will spread the word about your promotions and return again and again.
- Get Started Managing for Growth.
You’re probably in a good place right now. The hard work is just beginning.
From now on, you will have to make difficult decisions, handñe good economy, bad economy, expanding or reducing sales. You should plan and research each step thoroughly, but don’t overthink. This is a difficult balance to achieve.
Your vision will help you make better decisions. You can go back to your brand story and why you are staring. This will help you make tough decisions.
No matter what happens, have fun and remain true to your vision.
The Local Lead Generation Process for Your Tourist Business
All right! So, everything is about building properties and generating leads. But how does the process actually take place? Are there other steps I need to know?
The steps I mention below are what students from our local lead generation program follow to generate leads for businesses like yourself. So I’ll help you see what we do. And how if you join our program, you can simply generate leads for your own business (unless you want to start a side hustle and build a laptop lifestyle business).
Essentially, our lead generation can be divided into four steps:
The first is prospecting. You need to take the time to do market research on a niche (industry) and determine how many phone-driven businesses are there.
Keep in mind that this is local research as you need to know how many companies need leads. For example, you may search for “plumbing services Youngstown OH.”
You will find dozens or even hundreds of businesses trying to get themselves in front of the customers by ranking on Map Listings, organic results, and even Ad.
The second step, building. When you find a niche (plumbing, tree services, a software company, real estate…), you will need to start building your digital properties. You don’t need to be an expert in HTML or coding. It can be easy with the right tools.
The third step is now taking time to rank your lead gen website. With the site done, you need to work on SEO strategies and start dominating those Google search results. If you’re new to SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimization.
To keep it simple, it consists of the entire process of growing a company’s visibility on search engines like Google and generating organic traffic. And remember this, local lead generation is part of the strategies.
Moving on to step four, once you rank the site, you will start getting your ROI and profits. You only need to rent it out to a local business interested in the leads the site generates. You can offer a couple of free leads to their move on with the actual pay per lead.
To review steps 1-4 above, I described it to a normal student who is building a lead gen business to help local service providers generate more calls. But replace the student with you as the business owner. And replace sending the leads to a business to simply siphoning the leads to your personal business.
By the way, fun fact, about 20% of our students in our local lead gen program are actually business owners who went through the program. And they use the skillsets we teach to generate leads for their own business.
An Example of Lead Generation: Home Advisor
You must be thinking, “if lead generation sounds so good so far, how come I haven’t seen any company?” That’s the thing; there are many out there. You just don’t know they are dedicated to it.
HomeAdvisor is one of the best examples you can find on the Internet as it is a top lead generation company that has spent millions building its brand but also earned even more zeros for this same reason.
They started small as everyone else but invested in building their brand awareness to make people who are looking for home services go to their website and find what they need. They are over 75% of people’s first choice when they need those services.
If you don’t get HomeAdvisor that much or need a refresh, users need to submit their information to request a service and get a professional or expert who can provide it.
HomeAdvisor’s job is to share your information, which makes you a lead, with local companies so they can contact you and offer the service you’re requesting. For sharing this lead information, HomeAdvisor gets paid by the companies. This happens for every single lead they send to multiple businesses.
Business owners who don’t have marketing skills or don’t even know how to have any online presence will always rely on those pages to list their services. They will save time and effort, but companies like HomeAdvisor can make them spend lots of money as leads aren’t exclusive (one lead is sent to multiple companies after all).
Using Facebook Ads aka Paid Ad Platforms: Do They Generate Leads?
They DO generate leads. If not, no one would use them.
However, you need to remember two facts:
- Paid ads or platforms can be expensive.
- They don’t generate “natural” leads.
Whenever someone sees or clicks in one of those ads, over 80% of them did it by accident or are trying to close/report it.
Why? Because they aren’t looking for those services. At least not at the moment.
What those ads do instead is interrupt their time on the platforms. Users aren’t there to find companies or businesses unless they are searching for a specific company’s user, and for that, there’s a search bar. This is why it is hard to convert them to actual customers who will show interest in the companies’ services. Also, you’re limited by a budget.
When using lead generation, everything is organic. You aren’t forcing others to pay attention to your business but rather being there when they need you. This is why Google’s organic traffic will always beat paid ads, and the reason companies continue investing in it, which is a lot cheaper as well.
What Is Local SEO?
Don’t worry… I didn’t get it at first either. Following the short explanation, local SEO focuses on scaling businesses’ visibility on search engines. However, this is only for those who serve their communities face-to-face.
What does this mean?
Experts and professionals like painters, plumbers, and dentists (but not only them) offer their services to their local customers. Why? Because they can’t deliver them unless they are located in the same area of their customers.
To make sure those businesses get more leads, you need to rank them locally by claiming the business listing on Google to place them on Map Listings. Local SEO also involves online reviews, citation management, and how you manage your entire online presence in the local area.
If you are going to bet on lead gen, you need to adapt yourself to today’s world: The Internet.
Keep in mind that although traditional channels and methods like billboards, warm calls, and pamphlets still work, they aren’t part of your tools. Whenever someone needs a service, they go to Google and search for it.
“Dentist in Miami” or “plumbing services in Orlando,” etc. And you can keep coming up with services or professionals people need and look for. Thus, you need to make sure you’re using Google to get the companies in front of their clients.
Users will always click on the first search results (those near the top), and many of them will be either Ad links (people paid to place their websites there), Map Listing, and then you get websites. Almost all of them are your goal and where you should always aim to place yourself.
Can My Tourist Business Utilize a Local Lead Generation Strategy?
If you want customers, you better know you need it. Following the previous explanation, lead gen is all about placing businesses in front of their customers, choosing them over their competitors.
Put it simply – it’s all about closing deals and having clients for those companies to make money. The main difference with the usual methods companies use for this is how lead generation approaches different channels to get them in the right place of the market to get customers.
Those channels are all focused on the Internet as most people are searching for products but also services across the net. The issue is that the Internet is way too broad, and businesses don’t know how to place themselves. They usually try, but they get one common result: losing money and time.
How Powerful Are Organic Tourist Leads from Google?
For companies looking for customers, it’s everything. For you? Pretty much the same. When you build a business with digital properties, you get to make thousands of dollars a month.
This isn’t a “get started today and get rich tomorrow” thing, but it is HIGHLY scalable, and ROI + positive results are guaranteed. Learning a fairly decent and very needed set of skills to create your digital properties and start ranking them on Google is required.
I have invested in several online businesses over the years, and if there’s something uncertain, whether you will get your ROI or not, even more than the actual profit.
However, this business moved my earnings from five figures a year to a month in ONLY passive income while sitting comfortably at home.
On my laptop. Anywhere. Anytime.
You can look at one of the first sites I built back in 2016, and it continues making me over $1.000+ every month. The best part is that I don’t need to touch it or the rest I’ve built over the years, just like this digital property.
What Makes Lead Generation SO Alluring?
Here it goes: you can work from home.
The main issue with regular business opportunities is how much you need to invest in staff, equipment, or rent to have a place to sell your products or offer your services.
We all know the hassles of traditional businesses that involve regular expenses, which are extremely high. Can you afford it? I don’t think so, and even if you can, is it worth it? Now, it isn’t only about the money. You also need to put in a lot of work, and it isn’t only during the first couple of months or years. Usually, it is as long as you continue running it.
You can save yourself those headaches and bone-breaking tasks and expenses with lead gen since it is more about generating leads with digital channels—mainly websites.
Websites can be VERY cheap to build, and with many tools online, you get to do it in a couple of hours instead of days. Any virtual or digital business is scalable and won’t need constant maintenance.
So, let’s summarize this:
- You save money in regular expenses with traditional and most online businesses as what you need is yourself and digital properties (websites).
- You can bet on passive income.
- There’s no need to hire more people to get started.
- You can generate leads in multiple industries, which allows you to work on any niche you want.
How Can I Get Started in the Local Lead Generation Program?
Anyone can start and learn. That’s the beauty of this business model. I knew nothing about SEO, Map Listing, and everything I’ve mentioned so far. It is all about learning the skills, gaining experience, and deciding to take the step.
Remember that this business model will never get old as business owners are always looking for leads. They need to do business and scale their companies. Why not do the same while helping others and still making money?
You can start with this local lead generation course highly recommended for anyone wanting to grow in the business. It is a close training that will take you through each step and make sure you are able to get your ROI, profits and take control of your life.
You will be added to an incredible lead generation family ready to help you 24/7 when asking questions on the group. Anyone is welcome who’s willing to put in the work. Click here to watch the lead gen webinar.