Do you have the next great tour business or travel company idea, but don’t know how to turn it into reality? You’ve found your niche and even come up with the best tour company name ever, but who do you tell and how do you get started?
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Why Your Tour Company Needs a Business Plan
We’ve previously covered topics on how to build your business, but one beneficial, even crucial, practice before you start is to write up a small business plan, one that compiles all the important aspects of your brand in a single 15-20 page document. Having a simple tourism business plan will help you plan for the future and even discover new things about your brand.
Whether you’re a young entrepreneur building a tour startup in search of investors, or you’re an established tour operator looking to better understand your business and take it to the next level, a tour operator business plan can help guide you in the right direction.
The Benefits of a Business Plan
As mentioned above, a tour company business plan is a document that outlines all the important aspects of your tour business. From your company goals and objectives, to your team members, and even your financial statements, a business plan is an effective tool for analyzing the ins and outs of your business.
It is the ultimate document used to convince investors and lenders to support your tour company. If you’re not looking for investors, writing a simple business plan for your tour business is still useful practice to align the leaders in your company, discover any shortcomings you might have missed, and plan for future growth.
How to Create a Tourism Business Plan
Now that you understand why having a small business plan is important, you’re probably wondering how to write one. You can use a business plan template, but it’s good to know why you’re including the information it asks for. It’s also acceptable to cater the content of your business plan to suit your unique company, but there are certain sections that investors expect to see, making them beneficial for you to include.
Here is what you need to include in your company’s business plan:
One of the most important sections of your business plan will be your executive summary, which serves as a high-level overview of your business, providing highlights of the fundamentals of your brand.
You’ll notice that most, if not all, of the topics covered within your executive summary will have their own dedicated section later on in your business plan. Because the executive summary is typically limited to a single page, leave the nitty-gritty details for their respective sections and use the executive summary as a way to simply introduce the topics to your reader.
Executive summary topics:
- What is your business and what does it do? Do you host walking tours or provide bicycle rentals? Are you a tour guide or do you run a themed hotel experience? Give the reader a clear understanding of your business concept.
- What are your business goals and where do you envision your company in the future? How do you want to see your business grow?
- What makes your business different from your competitors? Whether you’re renting out a specific product like Segways or providing a service like guided tours, discuss what sets you apart from (and makes you better than) similar businesses in your industry.
- Who is your target audience? Who are you selling to and why are they interested?
- What is your marketing strategy? How do you plan to connect with and convert your customers?
- What is your current financial state? What is your projected financial state?
- What is the purpose of your business plan? Are you looking to secure investors and/or lenders? If so, how much are you asking for? You won’t need to discuss this if your business plan is strictly for your own planning purposes.
- Who is on your team, what are their job titles, and what do they do?
Again, like your business plan as a whole, not all of the topics listed above may be applicable to your business or your specific needs, so include only what you see fit.
Your company overview should give your reader a detailed understanding of who you are and what you do. This includes technical topics like your business description, structure, and model, but should also cover the heart and soul of your company. That is, not only what you do, but why you do it. Developing your brand story is an important step to branding in the travel and tourism industry.
What is it about running a bungee jumping business, wine tasting tour, or spelunking course that inspires you? What is your company’s mission, vision, purpose, and USP (unique selling proposition)? What are your business goals and objectives, both short-term and long-term? Defining these aspects of your business helps readers, whether investors or your own employees, connect with your business at a deeper level.
Another important section to include in your business plan for your tour company is a detailed market analysis. Even if you’re creating your business plan for internal use only, conducting market analysis and research is an excellent way to gauge your position within your industry, identify areas of concern, and create an effective marketing strategy using the 7 Ps of Travel and Tourism Marketing.
Things to consider in your market analysis include your target market and demographic, whether your marketing strategy is aligned with your target market, where you want to position yourself in the industry in relation to your competitors, and where you have room to improve.
Try conducting a SWOT analysis for your tour business to explore your:
- Strengths – what do you do well?
- Weaknesses – what could you do better?
- Opportunities – are there gaps in your industry that you can take advantage of?
- Threats – what external factors affect your chance of success?
Use your team summary section to outline the leaders and key players in your tour company. An organizational chart works well to display this information and will usually explore members of management and other key personnel, their job titles, and their roles and responsibilities. Be sure to address how each person plays/will play an integral role in the success of your tour business or travel company.
Even if your business is very small or you run a sole proprietorship, it’s still worth including a team summary section so that potential investors can get to know who they’re investing in. A team summary adds a human element to your business plan and can help build your readers’ confidence by showing them that they can trust the leaders (even if it’s just you) to bring the company to success.
Discuss your finances. What is your current financial state, what is your future financial projection, and how do you plan on getting there? If you’re looking for an investment, how much do you need? Include relevant documents, paperwork, statements, calculations, etc. to back up the numbers you’re sharing.
Needless to say, tour marketing is one of the most important aspects of your tour business.
Your business plan should have a detailed marketing strategy and promotional tactics, including pricing strategy, advertising channels, and innovative tactics. It should also leverage social media and other tourism-related technology to reach your target market effectively.
Your Business Plan Can Set You Up For Success
Investing the time up front to create a simple business plan for your tour company is worth the effort, and is crucial to becoming a successful tour operator. Going into anything without a plan can be risky, and starting a tour business is no different.
Once you know how to write a business plan and understand the main components that make one effective, you’ll have an invaluable tool for securing investors and planning your company’s growth in the competitive tourism and travel industry. There’s really no better time than now, so go out there, write a killer business plan, and start the tour business of your dreams.
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