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How To Start a Tour Company: Your Complete Guide

What Is a Tour Company?

If you have ever considered starting a tour company, this is the time to turn your idea into action. Tourism and travel are on the rise, and there is the potential for significant financial and emotional returns.

Tour companies and tour operators are responsible for selecting, booking, and packaging aspects of travel. These include: 

  • transportation
  • meals
  • accommodations 
  • itineraries 
  • guides

What Is a Tour Company?

The goal is to create a memorable experience for travelers. Depending on your interests, you may want to specialize in a particular kind of tour, such as adventure, safari, or sightseeing. 

The COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on domestic and international travel. It was challenging to fly, and it was also difficult or impossible to enter some countries. Fortunately, these circumstances have begun to change and travel is on an upswing.

For example, Australia instituted strict entry requirements due to COVID-19. The borders were essentially closed to tourists until February of 2022. The numbers show that tourism is quickly rebounding. In a matter of months, tourism in Australia returned to 65% of pre-pandemic levels.

This is a pattern that can be seen all around the world. International travel is expected to continue to grow through 2026, returning to the volume and spending that existed before the pandemic began. 

4 Reasons To Start a Tour Company

Starting a business is challenging, but it comes with many benefits. In addition to the rapid return of the travel industry, there are other reasons to start a tour company. 

  1. There is no limit to your income. The better your tours sell, the more money you will make. 
  2. You will have opportunities to travel because it will be an important part of operating your business. You can visit destinations to develop marketing and discover the experiences that best suit your customers. 
  3. While education or experience is helpful, it isn’t required. All you need to get started is a passion for travel and your business. 
  4. Travel brings joy to many people’s lives, and you can shape those journeys by helping them visit exciting places, learn new things, and have unforgettable experiences.

If any of these possibilities appeal to you, it’s time to build the foundation to own a tour company. 

How To Start a Tour Company: Step-by-step

Although you may not need specific experience, you do need to know how to get started. Following these steps will set you up for success from the beginning.

How To Start a Tour Company: Step-by-step

Step 1  Step One: Define Your Vision & Mission

Establish and write your mission and vision statements. They will define the heart of your business. 

Your mission statement should identify what your business does, its objectives, and how it intends to reach them. For example, your mission statement might say that you want to provide unique vacations for families through personalized and customized tours. 

The vision statement should indicate where you want your company to go in the future. It might, for instance, explain that you want to become the world’s most trusted and forward-thinking tour company. 

Step 2  Step Two: Research Your Industry & Define Your Target Audience

Successful tour companies are often very specific. Niching down into an area of travel with a particular audience in mind allows you to build expertise. It is also an excellent way to pursue one of your personal interests. 

When you identify your target audience, think about the kind of people who will enjoy your services. Your potential customers might be:

  • foodies 
  • nature enthusiasts
  • adventurers 
  • avid shoppers

Once you have determined who your customers will be, you can better market and promote your business. 

Step 3  Step Three: Draft a Business Plan

A business plan is a blueprint for your company. Typical business plans include between five and seven sections. 

  • Executive summary: your business name and location, the services you will offer, and your mission and vision statements 
  • Company description: the background of your business, your goals, and a market overview 
  • Products and services: what you will be selling and why your services are superior to your competitors 
  • Market analysis: your target customers, the industry outlook, and current and projected marketing data for your services
  • Strategy and implementation: your plan for promotion, the cost of your services, the number of employees, and your operating hours and facilities
  • Organization and management team: the role of each employee and information about the owners, board members, accountants, or attorneys who are involved
  • Financial plan and projections: forecasted income and budgets and an analysis of your financial data 

The exact contents of each component of your business plan will depend on the structure of your company and whether this is an entirely new business or one that was already established in some form.  

Step 4  Step Four: Set Yourself up Online

Experts project that by the year 2026, as much as 74% of travel revenue will be generated through online sales. It’s essential that your tour company has an online presence. 

First, set up a clear and engaging website for your business. It should reflect the voice of your brand, incorporate compelling images, and describe your services in detail. Additionally, make use of social selling. Set up social media accounts and focus on building connections and interacting with potential customers. 

Email and communications are also important, and the key is to maximize efficiency. A tool like a power dialer makes it possible to reach out to more customers in a single day than would be possible otherwise. 

Next Steps

Travel is coming back in a big way, so there are many opportunities for growth when you start a tour company. The success of your business will be built on an effective business plan, a thorough understanding of the market and your target audience, and interest in the type of travel that you have chosen. 

Owning a tour company is a rewarding career that allows your customers — and you — to travel the world. Whether you want to make financial gains, explore new places, or better the lives of your customers, starting a tour company is a great way to achieve your goals.