5 Tips for Writing a Business Plan for a Tour Company

If you are the owner or manager of a tour company, you know your industry is one of the most competitive and cutthroat out there. You probably already know the importance of writing a business plan and keeping it updated. But what are some tips for writing a business plan specifically for a tour company?

Business plans for tour companies include the five standard sections that every business plan has. Your tour company business plan should also have the following specific information:

  1. Mission Statement
  2. Industry Research
  3. Competitive Advantages
  4. Intellectual Property
  5. Growth Strategy

Business plans are essential because they help managers and entrepreneurs work through the process of optimizing their businesses. Even when it is kept solely as an internal document, a business plan can help you answer questions about your enterprise that you didn’t even know you had. 

Let’s look at how to format a business plan and tips specifically for optimizing your business plan for the tour company industry. 

What is a Business Plan?

5 Tips for Writing a Business Plan for a Tour Company

A business plan is a living document where you outline where your business is going and how you plan to get there. They can be as formal as you need or as informal as you want. Business plans are holistic, covering every aspect of your business. 

Sections of a Business Plan

A complete business plan includes at least the following five sections:

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Market Analysis
  • Product Line
  • Marketing and Sales

Your tour company business plan should use these five sections as primary headings. Under each heading, you will include the standard information, focusing on some specific information that will be very important for you as a tour operator. 

Optional Sections

If you require financing, you should also include a “Funding Request” and a “Financial Projections” section to help investors understand the potential return on their investment.

For those seeking a loan to get their business started, bank officers need these financial sessions to assess the profitability of your business, so they can determine if you can pay the money back. 

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Mission Statement

Writing a mission statement is important, especially for a tour company. Your mission statement should be public, and it should be a blueprint for three things:

  • How your customers should view your business
  • How your employees should treat customers
  • Your highest-level aspirations for your company

Tour Company Mission Statement Examples:

Check out these mission statements for tour and travel-related companies:

  • “To inspire humanity—both in the air and on the ground.” – JetBlue
  • “Every day, and in every role, we are Consummate Hosts. We are warm, welcoming, respectful, and professional. Whether working with customers or each other, we are always creating relaxed and rejuvenating vacation experiences and lifelong memories. We value each other’s talents, viewpoints, cultures, and contributions.” – Princess Cruises
  • “Excellence in everything we do.” – Qatar Airways

As you can see, mission statements can be a brief few words or more extensive.

Why Mission Statements are Important

You don’t have to be in the military to need a mission. Missions help you focus all your energies in one direction. If your tour company business doesn’t have a mission, you risk dissipating your efforts in non-profitable directions. 

The common ground in the three above examples is they are customer-focused. In today’s reality of cutthroat competition between travel and tourism companies, your customer service might make a difference between the success and failure of your business.

You should refer to your customers in your mission statement and present this mission statement often to your employees and contractors. This helps them understand how they should approach every business decision they will make on your behalf.

Where to Include Your Mission Statement

Your mission plan is most logically located in the second section of your business plan, “Company Description.” Your mission statement works best as the first sub-heading under this section. 

Industry Research

Your industry research is another vital topic tour companies should pay careful attention to in their business plan. Here are some areas to cover under your industry research sub-heading:

  • What is the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of the industry?
  • What are the current economic trends affecting the industry?
  • What new or pending regulations will affect the future of the industry?
  • What is your outlook for the industry? What is the supporting evidence for that?

You can cover anything else you want in this section. For instance, if your tour company is rolling out a new travel rewards program, make sure you research and report on the state of rewards programs in the tour company business. 

Why Industry Research is Important

You need to show whoever reads your business plan that you thoroughly understand the tourism and travel industry, not to mention that writing this section will make sure you have the requisite industry knowledge to lead your company to success. 

Where to Include Your Industry Research

Industry research should be a sub-heading under your “Market Analysis” section. Include as many sub-subheadings and paragraphs as you need to thoroughly cover this area of your business plan. 

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Competitive Advantages

5 Tips for Writing a Business Plan for a Tour Company

Entrepreneurs and tour company managers often forget to include a section in their business plan that discusses their competitive advantages relative to other tour companies. Too often, this means they don’t have a definable competitive advantage, or they haven’t fully fleshed it out. 

Why is Having a Competitive Advantage Important?

It is crucial to have a competitive advantage because otherwise, you have no reason to be in business. Think of it this way: what makes your business so special that customers will patronize it instead of other tour companies. You need to think about and include in the “Competitive Advantages” subheading of your business plan.

Here are some examples of competitive advantages that might apply to a tour company:

  • Unique relationships with travel companies, such as an airline
  • Geographic location, such as being the only tour company in your town or city
  • Skilled employees, such as famous writers that lead some of your tours

In other words, your competitive advantage can be anything. It just needs to be one or more ways your company can beat your competition. 

Where to Include Your Competitive Advantages

Include your competitive advantages in the “Market Analysis” section of your business plan. 

Intellectual Property

Yes, even for a tour company, you need to list your intellectual property in your business plan. Don’t have any intellectual property? Then you need to develop some.

Why is Having Intellectual Property Important?

First, let’s define what could be included as your tour company’s intellectual property:

  • Domain names 
  • Logos
  • Trademarks
  • Business or trade names
  • Proprietary software

You can find a complete list of potential intellectual property here, but the five I listed above are the most common a tour company would have. Every tour company should have a web presence, so at a minimum, domain names should be listed in your business plan. It is also a good idea to have a logo, a business name, and you should trademark your name and logo. 

Having intellectual property is important because it professionalizes your enterprise. It also helps you develop repeat customers by enabling your clients to recognize and separate you from other tour companies. 

Registering your intellectual property is also important since it stops competitors from stealing your ideas and using them as their own.

Where to Include your Intellectual Property

You can write an Intellectual Property subheading in the “Product Line” section of your business plan (sometimes called “Service Line”).

Growth Strategy

Your growth strategy is a vital section to include in your business plan. If you aren’t planning to grow your tour company, your business will stagnate. And stagnant businesses eventually fail. 

Why Growth Strategies are Important

Tour companies don’t grow without effort. As mentioned before, tourism is a highly competitive industry. By developing a growth strategy, you can map out a logical way to increase income, so you can invest additional resources into your business to help it grow. 

A growth strategy can be as simple as handing out brochures for your tour company. Here are some simple growth strategies you can include in your business plan and use to grow your sales:

  • Handing out business cards at tourism conferences
  • Encouraging visitors to your website to sign up for an email list
  • Local or national advertising
  • Establishing a social media presence

You should always be planning to increase your revenue to grow your tour company. How you choose to do that can be easy and cheap or hard and expensive.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What is the ideal business structure for a tour company?

Tour companies can be anything from sole proprietorships to LLCs and even corporations. The variables that determine the ideal structure include business size, services offered, income, and other ownership data.

2. How often should I revise my business plan?

At a minimum, whenever anything with your business changes. Ideally, you want to continually revise your business plan, possibly as often as every quarter. Revising your business plan helps you stay focused and your research up to date.

To learn more on how to plan your own tour business click here!

Please note that the contents of this blog are for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any action taken based on the information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Additionally, all images used in this blog are generated under the CC0 license of Creative Commons, which means they are free to use for any purpose without attribution.