Strategies to Start and Grow a Tourism Business

According to Destination BC, tourism in our province brings in millions of visitors and generates billions in revenue each year. So, it’s unsurprising that many entrepreneurs seek to establish local tourism businesses. However, this also means intense competition to gain and keep visitors’ attention. In this article, Sam Waddington, Founder of Mt. Waddington’s Outdoors, shares strategies and expert insight into how to start and grow a tourism business.

Make Your Business Memorable

When starting a tourism business, Sam says, “Your business must provide a memorable experience for your customer.” It’s essential to keep this in mind because it’s a fundamental reason that tourism exists.

There are countless ways to make your business stand out. You should start with customer service. After all, it’s your customers’ first and last memory of your business, so make sure they remember you positively.

Here are some ways to optimize your customer service:

  • If you offer experiences requiring pre-registration, like kayaking or zipline tours, thank customers in your confirmation message.
  • Provide helpful information about other tourism businesses and sights they can take advantage of while visiting.
  • Promote discounts or sales, like package deals, to show that you care about the affordability of your service.
  • Send a follow-up message thanking them for their business and invite them back to visit any time.

Use Your Local Expertise

You probably started an outdoor tourism business because you love your location. Don’t be afraid to use everything you know about it to make your business better. Share recommendations on the best spots, must-see sights, and your favourite restaurants. Your customers will be impressed by how well you know the area, and you’ll gain credibility.

It may seem counterintuitive to recommend your competitors to current and potential customers. But providing the ideal experience for your visitors is worth the risk. Plus, the more customers you send to your competitors, the more likely they will return the favour.

Join the Tourism Community

Tourism doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The industry depends on having enough quality businesses to attract tourists to the area and keep them long enough to convert them into customers. Connect with other businesses in your area to build a destination that will make people want to visit and come back.

“Integrate yourself into your community in an inextricable way,” Sam recommends, “The media will ask for your input on stories in your field, your local tourism agency will want to partner with you, and so will other businesses.”

Become a pillar of the tourism community by:

  • Hosting meet-ups and networking events with other business owners.
  • Offering local promotions to your peers and their friends and families.
  • Being open to referring customers to other businesses.

Meet Legal Requirements and Get Insurance

If you want to start or grow a tourism business, these methods will help you thrive. However, ensuring that your business meets all legal requirements and has the proper insurance to operate is crucial. Check with your municipality, associations, and business insurance agent to ensure you’re fully covered.

Small Business BC is Here to Help

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