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How to Start a Tour Company After the Pandemic in 2023

It's a new era for travel. People have changed how they live and travel because of the pandemic. Tour operators who are prepared to capitalize on these changes can find success in the coming years.

Here's what you need to know about starting a tour business after the pandemic.

Why Consider Tourism Business in 2023

There are still plenty of reasons to start a tour operator business in 2023, despite the pandemic. 

tour demand
Travel is expected to rebound in 2023

In 2023, international travel is expected to rebound. Check out these stats.

Global Market Demand

"People around the world are feeling overwhelmingly more optimistic about traveling in 2023 compared to 2022"- Booking.com’s Seven Predictions for the Creative Reimagination of Travel in 2023 by HospitalityNet.Org

Travel Revenue Growth

"Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2022-2026) of 8.46%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$992.10bn by 2026."- Travel & Tourism - Worldwide by Statista

Global Tourism to Grow by 30% in 2023

"The report finds that global tourism arrivals will increase by 30% in 2023, following growth of 60% in 2022, but will remain below pre-pandemic levels. The economic downturn, sanctions on Russia, and China’s zero-covid strategy will delay recovery."- Global tourism arrivals will increase by 30% in 2023: EIU by Travel Daily Media

Planning Is the Key

Having a plan is essential to business success. The tourism industry is no exception.

The global tourism industry is predicted to grow in 2023, so now's the time to start planning.

But where do you start?

You'll bid smarter on your business if you have a clear business structure based on solid data about market trends.

Let us walk you through the entire tour business planning process. We'll also provide you with market trends data so you can make smart business decisions.

How Can I Start a Tour and Travel Business?

There is no shortcut but there is a roadmap.

Here's how to make your ultimate tour business in 2023 in six steps.

Step 1: Choose a business niche

Think: "What can I offer?"

Depending on your interests and expertise, as well as what's popular near you, you'll decide for your tour idea.

Based on Booking.com's predictions, here's what's going to be hot in 2023 travel industry:

See the full report here with statistics per niche.

Choose a niche that you're passionate about if you want to offer tours and activities. Providing your customers with a memorable experience is the key way to keep them coming back!

Other factors to consider when choosing a travel niche:

Examine your locality
  • What does your city have to offer? Is there anything you can do to leverage local travel niches? Could travelers be interested in a specific asset of the city? Can you partner with small business owners and offer new local tours?
Know your target market
  • Is there a tour company in your area that caters to the same niche? If so, how is it going? Is their business growing? If not, what factors might have contributed? Is there anything you can learn from growing your own tour company?

You can tell if a niche you're planning will be a profitable business by knowing your competitors. You can also use their weak points to your advantage.

Research your competitors
  • Is there a tour company in your area that caters to the same niche? If so, how is it going? Is their business growing? If not, what factors might have contributed? Is there anything you can learn from growing your own tour company?
You can tell if a niche you're planning is profitable by knowing your competitors. You can also use their weak points to your advantage.

Step 2: Determine the costs and budget

In order to design a tour business plan that works, you have to figure out how much each niche will cost.

Here's how tour operators can calculate start up costs.

Equipment costs

Equipment is a big expense for any tour business. This can be anything from vehicles to camping gear to audio-visual equipment.

When planning your budget, make sure you factor in the cost of renting or buying this equipment.

Staff Costs

Staff costs are another big expense for tour companies. There can be drivers, guides, marketing people, and accountants. Estimate how much your staff will need to be paid in order to keep your business running smoothly.

Other Operating Costs

Besides insurance, license fees, and travel expenses, there are a lot of other costs you'll need to consider when starting a tour company.

Having a solid understanding of all these costs before you launch your business will help you stay on budget.

Make sure you count the costs before you start a new business.

Step 3: Register your Tour Company

You've picked a travel niche, done your research, and calculated the costs- now it's time to register your business.

Name your tour

Come up with something catchy and memorable when naming your tour business. Make sure the name fits your niche, too.

You might consider using words like "eco-friendly" or "adventure" in your business name if you sell a nature-tripping tour experience.

Register your tour

Getting your tour company registered with the government is important. It lets you operate legally and declares your business as an official legal entity.

You have to register your business, and each step depends on the local tour body and the country you live in. To ensure a smooth registration process, do your research beforehand.

When registering your tours, keep these things in mind:
  • Make sure you name your company appropriately and choose a relevant domain name
  • Include keywords related to your niche in your business name
  • Register with the local government and get all necessary permits and local business license
  • Have a solid understanding of how much it will cost to start up and maintain your business; factor this into your budget
  • Create a brand that represents who you are as a tour operator
  • Open your tour business bank account
  • Separate your personal and business accounts to mitigate future risks to your personal assets
  • Get liability business insurance to safeguard your company and yourself

Register tour guide business

Most likely, if you want to guide your own tours or start a tour guide business, you'll need to learn the professional qualifications and take a course on the area's history, culture, and attractions.

During the course, you'll also learn how to handle groups, handle customer questions, and keep everyone safe.

You'll need to register with your local tourism board once you're done. After you register, you can start showing visitors around.

Step 4: Set Up your Tours

Setting up your tours is one of the most important parts of starting your own tour company. Make itineraries and packages that appeal to your target audience and fit your budget. Here's how.

Creating itineraries

Create itineraries with creativity and think outside the box. Design unique tours that showcase your area's coolest bits, and make sure they're interesting enough to grab people's attention.

Also, make sure your tours meet your target market's needs. Try offering affordable tour packages that include transportation, food, and lodging if you're targeting budget travelers.

Packages vs Individual Tours

You have two options when it comes to packaging your tours: individually or bundled together.

  • If you sell individual tours, you'll have to create detailed itineraries for each one, so it's generally more profitable.
  • Package tours can be less labor-intensive, but less profitable if customers don't buy everything.

Choose what works for you, but make sure you understand how it will affect your bottom line.

Choose what works best for your tours.

Build your Travel Website

You've got all the permits and licenses, so now you've got to set up your travel website.

Why should you invest in a travel website?

Because here is where you will sell tours, promote your brand, tell your brand story, and connect with people.

It's your online storefront. It represents your tours.

Keep your travel website design simple yet professional.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when building your website:
  • Make sure it's easy to navigate
  • Use attractive visuals for selling tours
  • Include testimonials from happy customers
  • Provide detailed information about each tour, including what's included
  • Accept online bookings

You'll get more conversions if your website is well-designed. It's either you keep them browsing or you keep them away. Plus, it's the first impression potential customers get of you, so make sure it counts!

Hire tour managers and local tour guides

It's a good idea to hire local tour guides who know the area well if you're offering tours in a specific area. Your guests can get valuable insights into the history and culture of the area and stay safe while exploring.

Hiring a local tour guide involves a few things:
  • Make sure they have a thorough understanding of the history and culture of the area
  • Check their references and make sure they have a valid license or certification
  • Have a solid contract in place that outlines their responsibilities and how they will be compensated

Hiring local tour guides is a great way to connect with the local tourism community and showcase your area.

Here are tips on how to manage tour guides.

Step 5: Market and Promote your Tour

As soon as your tours are set up, it's time to launch your business marketing campaign. In order to do this, you'll have to market and promote your tours a lot.

Leverage social media presence

Take advantage of social media to reach potential customers. It is a powerful marketing tool for travel companies! So make sure you're on all the major networks. Use eye-catching visuals, share behind-the-scenes content, and post photos about your tours regularly.

Advertise online

Investing in online ads, like Google AdWords, is another great way to promote your tours. It's a cost-effective way to get more bookings and reach potential customers.

Partner with travel influencers

Find local travel influencers to work with. With their help, you can promote your tours and reach a broader audience than you could on your own.

Connect with travel influencers and reach their audience.

Sell with online travel agencies (OTAs)

Online travel agencies (OTAs) sales channels are another way to promote your tours. You'll get more visibility and it'll be easier for people to book your tours.

Be sure to count the costs before partnering with travel agents. Some OTAs charge more, and some charge less. Besides, partnering with these agencies can affect your booking process, refunds, and cancellation policies.

As much as it counts to integrate with an OTA, this comes with a cost as well.

We wrote a guide about OTA partnerships to help you decide: Advantages Of Online Travel Agency For Tour Operators
Expose your tours around all social media platforms.

Here are some other ways to market your new tour business:

  • Optimizing your social media and travel website for search engines (search engine optimization)
  • Listing your tours on Google Business
  • Collect leads and start email marketing strategy
  • Expose your tours on the right travel review websites (like TripAdvisor)

Step 6: Launch Your Brand-New Tour and Activity Business

There's a lot at stake when you launch a business. So make sure you do a few test runs before your big day.

Do a test tour first!

There's a lot at stake when you launch a business. So make sure you do a few test runs before your big day. This is your dress rehearsal, so go through the whole thing from beginning to end.

Run a test tour with your family first.

Get as much feedback as you can so you can make any changes you need.

Whenever you're confident everything's ready, you're ready to open!

Keep on Growing

Track your progress

Don't forget to keep track of your progress and how your tours are doing. You can track how many people have visited your own website, how many bookings you've had, how much revenue you're generating, and more with market analytics via analytics tools like Google Analytics or Facebook Insights.

Know what works and what does not.

Having this data will give you a better idea of what you need to do to improve and how you can market and promote your tours better.

Attend travel conferences and network

Travel conferences and networking events are a great way to stay up-to-date with emerging trends in the tour business.

Not only will you meet potential guests, but you'll also meet other professionals who can help you grow your business and be your business mentor.

Meet like-minded people and learn from them.

You'll learn about the latest trends in travel, and hear from experts about how to run a successful tour company at these events.

Optimize with an Online Tour Booking and Reservation System

Make sure you choose the right online booking system before you start marketing your tours.

Your online booking system will be your business' backbone, so choose one with all the features you need. Choose a system with an easy-to-use booking widget, a live calendar, and a solution with multiple payment gateways.

Manage everything in one and save time just a few clicks.

Make sure the system can handle reservations and send customers automatic confirmation emails. Also, if you need help down the road, you'll want a system that offers excellent customer service.

Every tour business needs an online booking system. So take your time, do your research, and choose a system that helps you grow your business.

Final Takeaways

Starting a tour company after the pandemic doesn't have to be hard. Anyone can get tour businesses off the ground by following these steps.

Make sure you do your research, create an attractive website, partner with an OTA if you can, attend travel conferences and network, track your progress, and use an online booking system.

Your preparation and dedication can lay the foundation for a successful tour operator business.

Happy growing!

TicketingHub for Tour Operators

It was common for other tour operators to list their tours and handle bookings on third-party websites in the past. Getting started with this option might be a great option, but it's not ideal for building a brand or establishing direct relationships with your guests.

This is where TicketingHub comes in.

With TicketingHub, tour and activity operators can take bookings directly from their own websites. As well as providing a frictionless ticket-buying experience for guests, it also allows you to manage your bookings in one place.

Centralize operations and tracking in one dashboard
Centralize operations and tracking in one dashboard

Our easy-to-use platform lets you add tours and activities, set tour pricing, manage your calendar, and track payments- all for a minimal fee per successful booking.

As well as helping you get started, our team of experts is always available to answer any questions you may have.

Click here for a free demo.

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