Is running a tour company a way to make a good living or just a way to have a good time?
Mitch Bach believes it can be both. A former tour guide and founder of two tour companies, Bach now spends his time coaching tour operators on how they can grow their businesses, overcome common problems and design their work to fit their lifestyles. He joins this episode of the podcast to share insights on the tour business and how to navigate its ever-changing landscape.
Mitch explains how the economics of tour companies work in today’s environment and shares how travel tourism entrepreneurs should prepare for the coming digital revolution. Plus, we have industry news about the hassles of air travel, a FAM opportunity in Myrtle Beach and a hot minute about trade show swag bags.
Insights from Mitch Bach:
On the importance of constant improvement:
“You’re never arriving at the best tour, the best business, the best brand right off the bat. If you don’t have that spirit of ideation and experimentation, you’re going to create something that essentially frustrates and aggravates you to no end, because you’re going to keep trying to fit it into shapes it doesn’t belong in. You have to find the shape based on who the customer is, where you’re operating and who you are. It takes time, and there’s no shortcut to it.”
On single-day vs. multi-day tours:
“In multi-day tours, it’s about the lifetime value of the customer. You need to find your tribe and find your community…. There are do-or-die Collette tour takers or Globus tour takers. They take those tours over and over and over again. You can be a fantastic multi-day tour operator with very few customers – you just have to keep offering new things to book with you over time.”
“If you find people who love to travel with you, they’ll put up with a lot of annoying systems you’ve created…. That’s because you can just focus on delighting them and creating those indelible memories on trips that leave them just hungering for more.”
On the digital business revolution:
“That is coming for our industry, whatever part you are. And it’s partially a good thing. But to prepare for it, the number one basic thing is to make sure your customer has a delightful booking journey along the way. It means your website speaks very clearly to who your customer is, to what your niche is, has great storytelling and really highlights who you are.”
“Delight your customer at every step along the way from the moment they book.”
On legacy vs. digital business models:
“What the digitally savvy entrepreneur does know is that we’re at a transition period in terms of who our customers are and how they’re booking what they want. That’s really changing the landscape of how we sell travel. Already, the largest group of people buying packaged travel are millennials — they’re not going to be boomers.“
Resources Mentioned in This Episode
Learn more about TripSchool at tripschool.com.
Key Moments From This Episode
1:32 — Travel News: Are airport hassles suppressing travel?
2:55 — Join us for a familiarization tour in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
7:34 — How Mitch Bach found his calling in tourism
10:43 — Lessons learned from starting tour companies
15:15 — How much money do tour operators make, anyway?
20:11 — Single-day vs. multi-day tour companies
25:50 — Next steps for professionalizing your tour company
30:50 — Learning from the new tourism entrepreneurs
35:13 — Is it time to sell your tour company?
50:33 — Hot Minute: Is it time to ditch the travel conference tote bag?
About the Podcast
Gather and Go with Brian Jewell is a tourism podcast that helps group travel leaders plan, promote and lead better trips. Each episode reaches thousands of professional tour operators, travel agents and the volunteer group leaders they serve. The audience also includes destination marketers, museum leaders, church travel leaders and other tourism enthusiasts around the world. Each show includes a featured conversation with a smart and influential travel leader. You’ll also hear travel news, road tips and more. New episodes are released about twice monthly.
Have questions, comments or ideas for the show? Send them to us at email@example.com.
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