Every tour operator has to deal with the task of setting employee salary. How can you set a fair wage that attracts the best talent?

By the end of this post, you should have a clearer idea of how to make those difficult decisions. 

1. Set your budget for the role

Don’t be a grinch. It has to be a reasonable salary that will attract a top quality applicant. After all, you want to make sure your customers get a professional and memorable experience. The key is to do so without compromising your profit.


List out the core requirements needed for this role before you do your research. It’s important to be as specific as possible, so look to job functions instead of titles.

For example, researching a generic “tour guide” salary isn’t descriptive enough when you’re a Canada-based diving tour operator who needs an experienced Dive Master that speaks French.

Salary range setting

A salary package can change according to a variety of factors, so decide what you think the range for this salary should be.

If you’re having trouble figuring out your maximum amount, then ask yourself:

  • What value does this person add to my company? Can my business live without them – and if so, at what cost?
  • Am I happy to spend the time, effort, and money that it takes without them? Can I do it all myself?

You can also ask applicants how much they were paid previously, or use salary range as a question in your initial interview. If you think that everyone is asking for too much, then maybe you are undervaluing the role.

2. Decide how you’re going to pay

We don’t mean in cash or via bank transfer. We mean whether it will be a fixed or hourly rate.

An hourly rate makes sense if the work is directly related to time. For example, a tour guide can only be productive during the set amount of hours that they’re running your tours. This structure makes sense because you can roster staff on as needed.

A fixed rate makes sense if the work is directly related to insights and results. For example, booking management is an ongoing task that is not directly related to time. Productivity is based on results; that is, bookings running smoothly.

3. Include non-financial perks

If you’re only capable of paying at the lower end of the market rate scale, then you can offer candidates non-financial alternatives, like training and professional development.

Candidates in this day and age also value flexibility. So you can offer:

  • flexible hours
  • flexible working location
  • flexible dress code
  • flexible leave structure

These things can go a long way in making your offer attractive.

For more tour operator tips, subscribe to our blog:

[hs id=”1d74d48c-d11f-46b5-bd05-5b7bc40552c1″]

What else do you think is involved in setting an employee’s salary? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

By continuing to use this website you agree to the use of cookies according to our privacy policy and terms.