Thinking of starting a business aimed at tourists? Here are three important qualities that your operation needs to have in place for any chance of tourism success.
Your offering needs to be viable, reliable and buyable.
Being viable is a basic element. Viability means you have a solid business plan behind what you are planning to do. Without a firm financial foundation, your business will not be viable.
You must have realistic expectations about revenue and a clear understanding of how to control your costs. You may need to operate your business in the red for a while, until you gain enough exposure and market share to sustain yourself over the long term.
Plus, what is your unique selling proposition? What’s your target market? Who’s your competition? Don’t know? You need to figure out these things immediately. Your local business resource centre or a website like SmallBizSurvival can help.
Reliability is the next core element of tourism success (or any business success, for that matter). Is your product or experience of satisfactory quality? Is it consistently satisfactory?
Is your product or service available when the customer wants it? Consistently?
Do your staff offer good service? All the time? This is what reliability means.
Customers may not expect a “wow experience” of you. But if one of your staff provides “wow” service and the rest are ho-hum, then you have a reliability problem. It’s about meeting the expectations of your customer.
Finally, the most important element of all: assuming your product or service is viable and reliable – is it buyable? When the customer wants to purchase your offering, is it available for sale?
The ability of a customer to buy your product on impulse is extremely important. It will be the difference between your sale and your competitor’s sale.
Fab Food Trails of Dublin / Photo: Clark Hoskin
Having a menu of opportunities on your website, linked to an on-line purchasing system, is key to success.
For example, Fab Food Trails in Ireland posts their available walking tours right on their front page, so you can easily buy them.
If your service is promoted in cooperation with your local tourism authority as well as other agencies and websites like TripAdvisor, customers may buy it easily.
For example, Long Point Eco Adventures may close its doors in the winter, but you can still book and pay for experiences next spring on their website.
Remember that we live in an anywhere, any when economy, thanks to technology. Some customers may want to book your experience at 1 a.m. because they live three time zones away and they finally got the kids to bed.
There are many online tools you can use to create an online booking system, from Eventbrite to Resmark Systems.
Even if you don’t plan to sell online – is your business buyable? Is your store open when tourists are passing it? 70% of all consumer retail spending in bricks-and-mortar stores takes place after 6pm, according to tourism guru Roger Brooks. If you’re not open, you are turning away a lot of business.
Make sure your tourism product or experience is viable, reliable and buyable. If it is, you are making huge strides toward business success.