Tips for planning for your tourism business

So you’ve decided to start a tourism business, your passionate and excited about living the dream, turning what you love into a business, sharing your unique piece of the world with visitors.

You can live the dream, but it won’t be a fairytale ride. Like any business, a tourism business is hard-work, it requires planning , research, dedication and persistence.

So many tourism businesses I meet with overlook some of these vital steps, they dive on in with all the passion and enthusiasm in the world, a rough vision of where they want to go, but no clear vision of how they will get there, they just blindly start swimming.

Lots of businesses go on to become successful this way, learning and adapting as they go.

To increase your changes of success and get where you want to be much quicker, before you dive deep into your new tourism business, I’d recommend doing some research and developing a business plan first.

Where do you start? Never fear, that’s why I’m here! There are plenty of free resources out there to help you, I’ve pulled some of my favourites together.

Read on, then carve out some time to work on your business and before you know it, as if by the flick of a magic wand, you’ll have the foundations in place for a successful tourism business.

This government site has heaps of information about:

  •  starting a business, like business structures, registering your business and business and marketing plans
  • running your business, employing staff, growing your business and not so exciting but really important things like tax and
  • exiting your business – have you even thought about that, what is your plan for when you don’t want to be in business anymore, do you have a succession plan in place, how do a sell a business, how do you even know what its worth?

You’ll find heaps of templates here to help you out.

Your State Government

State governments want businesses to succeed – it’s good for their economies. Each state has different programs and resources available to help you in your business planning.

The NSW government – through the department of industry runs an amazing program called business connect, which provides you with 4 hours free business advice from an experienced business consultant – its gold!

There are also heaps of resources available online through Business in NSW

Not in NSW, check with your state:

Tourism Organisations

As well as understanding business fundamentals, you will also want to do some research into tourism, what visitors are coming to destination, how many, where are they from, how do the book their trips, what experiences are they looking for.

That’s where destination marketing organisations can help – they want to help you attract more visitors! Local, regional whatever the structure is where you operate, get in touch, get to know them and resources and opportunities that they have available.

State tourism organisaitons are a great spot to start:

Destination NSW
Visit Victoria
Tourism & Events Queensland
South Australian Tourism Commission
Tourism Tasmania
Visit Canberra
Tourism NT
Tourism WA

And of course, don’t forget Tourism Australia – heaps of info about international markets and attracting international visitors to your tourism business.

Local Councils

In many areas they run the Visitors Information Centre, which can be a great starting point for finding out what’s happening in the local visitor economy.

Councils also have economic development units which are all about attracting and supporting businesses and should be able to provide you with access to research to help you in your business planning.

Business Chambers or Chambers of Commerce

These are great organisations to join and provide access to a plethora of resources to support business from

Start by Googling for ‘business chamber’ or ‘chamber of commerce’ in your local area or contact your local council.

Your business plan doesn’t need to be the size of a phone book (does anyone still use those?).

It can be short and sharp. It should talk about:

  • Your business –how it’s structured, where it’s located, who works there, what products and services it sells.
  • Your future – your mission, visions, goals what it is you want to achieve
  • Your market – who are your competitors, your ideal customers and how will you market to them.
  • Your finances – the really important stuff, what are your costs and revenue projections.

It will take some time and effort to get it all together – don’t do it all at once! Break it down into chunks and get to work one section at a time.

When you are done you’ll have a roadmap to guide you, to keep you focussed, allow you to track and review and to make your fairytale tourism business become a reality much sooner!

Still can’t make sense of where to start? Got questions? Or need some help to pull it all together?

Get in touch or leave a comment below.

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