Defining your business goals and having a clear vision of the path to achieving them is the first step you should take when starting a tour operator company. Decide on what you want your business to look like now, in a year, in 3 years, and then further into the future.
Success doesn’t happen by chance – it is a product of strategy and hard work. Putting together a tour operator business plan will point you in the right direction for achieving this. Getting to the nitty-gritty of it, you need to identify how to create a financially and conceptually viable business that allows you to share your passion for travel with others.
What Is In A Tour Operator Business Plan
To bring structure and clarity into your business action plan, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my objectives for running a tour operator business?
- What is my unique value proposition that will draw clients to my offering?
- How will I execute the plan into the market?
- What resources will I need, for example, a website and payment platform?
- Who are the clients I want to attract and how will I reach them?
- Does my market research show that I have a viable business proposition?
- What will my expenses be, and how do I price tours to not only cover them but make a profit too?
- Where do I want my business to be in the future?
- Have I set attainable milestones to measure the rate of success or progression along the path?
Why Spend Time On This
The travel industry is a dynamic and competitive one. You can’t expect to enter it and be the best without first doing some research and devising a plan to guide you. Putting it down in writing provides you with a blueprint to work from, and a line to draw measurements against.
It is not to say that you can’t improvise where needed along the way, however, researching every facet of running a business can bring to light things you may not have thought when dreaming about starting your tour company.
How To Put Together A Killer Tour Operator Business Plan
Onto the steps for creating your business plan. These are the sections to fill in on the documents.
Who are you if you don’t think big? Your vision statement should encompass your plans for the future, and identify what you will be working towards in your tour operator business.
What value are you delivering to the market and how are you going to do it? A mission statement explains your core business, identifies how you can present it to the market, and who that market is. It focuses on today, taking your goals and objectives into account.
Core Business Values
Your business values are what attract your clients to you. They are the foundation of your brand and your why for being in the market.
Doing a market analysis helps to identify who your competitors are and how you will fit into the landscape. It is also a case of studying the latest industry trends to make sure that your product is relevant to what is in demand.
It will benefit you to investigate:
- What price point are your competitors at, and how much will you charge in comparison?
- How much demand is there for your offering – is it enough to sustain your business?
- Does your product align with industry trends, and if not, will there be demand for it?
- How do people react to your product – who will be purchasing your product?
- Is there a gap in the market that you can fill?
The essence of this is to establish how your product is going to add value to the market and to design a package that people want to buy.
Armed with an understanding of the landscape, you need to draw up a marketing plan to reach your clients, as well as a sales plan to consider who will be selling your tours. Are you going to partner with agents, list on OTA’s, or sell online?
This is the section where you connect the dots between strategy and action and outline how the operational side of the business will be executed.
Put some thought into the team you want to hire, and who will be responsible for different aspects of the business. When will they need to action and implement tasks for things to run according to plan? Finer details aside, the idea is to have an outline of the processes and people required to give your clients the best tour experience possible.
You are in this to make a living, so the business does need to make financial sense while you pursue your dream. Once you start hiring, you will be responsible for your employees and their livelihood as well. So, thoroughly researching this is key.
Consider the answers to:
- What sort of investment do you need to make initially to get your tour company off the ground?
- How long will it be before you are making a profit?
- What sort of salary will you be able to draw?
- When will investors see a return?
- What are your projections for income and profit in the long run?
- How much income do you need to cover your projected expenses?
- How will you prepare for the slower months of the year?
It Takes A Village
Starting and then running your own tour operator company requires teamwork from planning through to execution.
With this in mind, once you have put everything down in writing, ask a business-savvy friend or mentor to glance over the document. A second set of qualified eyes can provide useful input on setting realistic goals and ensuring that you have covered your bases to come up with a viable tour operator business plan.
At the end of the day, you want to give your dreams the best chance of being realized. Putting together a tour operator business plan can provide you with the clarity you need to make this a reality.
If you are interested in giving your new tour operator business a leg up in the market, then the WeTravel platform provides you with an easy way to collect your client payments and manage their travel bookings. Find out more by watching the short clip below.