Every tour operator needs to be great at creating and executing a fitting itinerary for their guests. After all, an itinerary is one of the key success factors in the tourism industry.

Here’s how you can make yours a hit, in 3 easy steps.

Step 1: Plan your itinerary

It all starts with your game plan. Be sure to include:

Frequency. How many times a week is it being run? What times of day? Remember that you need to get your timing right. Do a few dry runs to make sure you won’t run late.

Departure & set-down point. Where does the tour start and end?

Pickup. Do you offer pickup from accommodation?

Major stops. Which of the key attractions are you visiting? Especially if you’re running a multi-day tour, remember that you don’t have to make your itinerary so rigid. Be flexible and consider scheduling free time in just in case your guests want to take some time to relax.

Commentary. What information do you have to share about the key attractions? If you’re citing educational information, what is your source?

Meals. Are they included in your costs, or will they have to buy their own lunch at one of your stops? Are there vegetarian options? They need to be prepared and bring snacks if they are worried about going hungry for several hours.

Third party activities. Are they included in your price? If you’ve partnered with an attraction and it’s listed as a thing to do in your itinerary, you need to specify how much it will cost per person.

Accommodation. Are you including a this in your pricing? If you’re running a multi-day tour, you will typically include this as part of your disguised pricing strategy.

A brief summary. Do you have a quick summary of your tour that your guests can examine at a glance? It should say how the tour starts, list of stops with a description of what you’ll do there, and how the tour ends. How you describe your tour will get people excited about it leading up to the day. Be sure to use colorful language.

Step 2: Obtain the necessary permits

It will vary from location to location, but generally:

  • You need a commercial tourism operator permit.
  • To access private property, you need permission in writing from the property owner.
  • Historical sites have strict rules about tour operators in their space and may require you to complete a specific program (for example, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park requires that all tour operators successfully complete the Knowledge for Tour Guides program).

You need to get all the licenses in place to be able to deliver it in the places you have listed in your itinerary.

Step 3: Line up your suppliers 

If you’re working with other operators to include things like accommodations, meals, and transport in your itinerary, make sure they are reputable and reliable.

Especially in the case of accommodations, you will need to communicate which hotels you have chosen to your guests, so that they can do their own research on whether they find it suitable beforehand. In this case, making sure you have the right type of online booking system, with automated communications, can help you reach out to your guests in a timely manner.

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