Ready to take the plunge and launch that tour company or adventure travel business you’ve been envisioning? Before you start welcoming guests, the best first step is always to build a detailed business plan. 

Let’s explore the immense value of a clear tour operator business plan as well as the most important elements to consider in this comprehensive document. 

Why do I need a specific tour operator business plan?

Whether you plan to help travelers make travel plans or to provide amazing tourism experiences, your business plan will serve a couple of key purposes.:

  • You can hit the ground running with a plan in place, and goals to work towards in the long term
  • You’ll have a quality business case to use if you’re applying for loans or grants
  • You can point your start-up resources, such as cash flow and staff, where they’ll provide the most benefit
  • You’ll also have a ‘roadmap’ to help you navigate through the inevitable challenges, obstacles, and surprises in business! 

A tour operator’s business plan will obviously look fairly different from an international travel agency business plan, but the key business considerations will remain consistent covering:

  • Market research
  • Competition
  • Customers
  • Business objectives, and how to reach these. 

Even if you’re brand new to the travel and tourism industry and learning how to set up a tour operator business, here’s what your plan should include.

How do I set up a tour operator business plan?

Listed below are the important elements to consider. If you’re raring to get started, head straight below to download the free tour operator business template.

How to set a tour operator business plan

Executive summary

The executive summary will help any lenders or stakeholders quickly understand your business objectives. This includes your business mission and vision statements, and unique value proposition. 

Company overview

Your company overview should include your business’s name, location, history, ownership structure, and a clear view of any assets and debts. Make sure you create the right name for your business so that it’s memorable, compelling & future-proof.

Industry analysis

Your industry analysis should include broad and deep industry research. This helps to determine if you have a viable idea before you start investing in equipment, services, or staff. When making your industry analysis, you should consider:  

  1. How large the industry in your area is. This includes general tourism, as well as demand for your specific services such as hot air ballooning or kayaking tours.
  2. Every business plan for a tour operator should factor in industry trends and expected fluctuations in seasonal demand, as there may often be peak and off-seasons.

Competitor analysis

Which competitors have a significant market share, and what are the factors in their success? You might conduct a SWOT analysis (considering strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) for your key competitors so you can see where your business can meet gaps in demand.

You can use competitor analysis to set out your own SWOT analysis and business niche. This will allow you to be clear about how you’ll meet demand where others aren’t.

Customer analysis

What is your target clientele – families, luxury travelers, or someone else? It can be beneficial to create a customer persona for each group so you can understand their purchase behaviors and motivations.

Operational planning

This section covers the nitty-gritty of how your business will run. Outline your business and legal structure, including risk management and workplace health & safety plans, develop your terms and conditions, and formalize staff scheduling and training. 

It’s also important to consider how you’ll take reservations in the tourism industry such as – How will you take bookings securely online? Which distribution channels will you use to grow your bookings, and will you create strategic partnerships with other local businesses?

Financial planning

Financial planning will help you allocate, manage and reinvest your budget appropriately. Consider your financial projections, your product or tour pricing strategy, how you’ll reinvest profits in your business, and which types of insurance for tour guide businesses you will require.

Marketing plan

Successful businesses have strong brands, so your business plan should set out branding guidelines. It’s also useful to identify your advertising channels of choice, your social media channels, and your strategies for these – as well as how you’ll request and share customer reviews to help grow your business!

The free tour operator business plan template

Ready to start building your business plan as a tour operator? Download the free all-in-one checklist for easy reference.

Download How To Create A Tour Operator Business Plan

Now that you have an effective business plan in place, it’s important to ensure your business has the right software.

Online booking software for tour operators like Rezdy is designed to equip your business for success. It includes multiple features integrated into the system, which allows you to reduce your overall admin duties. Some of these tools include real-time availability to avoid double bookings, automatic customer updates and reminders, and secure payment processes.

Furthermore, Rezdy also offers a channel manager platform that connects your business to thousands of resellers instantly. Joining Rezdy Marketplace is as simple as listing your products and setting your commission rates. From there, you can let resellers on the platform promote and sell your services to their customers.

Set your business up for success with a FREE 21-day trial or alternatively, book a demo to learn more about Rezdy and our products!

If you enjoyed this article then make sure to follow the Rezdy blog. There are a lot of marketing tools and tour operator tips designed with businesses like yours in mind.

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