Being prepared is a great way to ensure your trip will be a success.

We all like to think our tour offerings will be a great success – that we’ll fill the space we hold available and we’ll receive enough bookings to operate and hopefully more. We also want to assume the tour members will have a great time and go home with happy memories. But, before we run with a fantastic trip idea, let’s look at some of the mistakes one can make that may contribute to failure.

  1. We don’t start trip plans early enough. You will want to start a year in advance to give yourself plenty of time to obtain all the tour services you’ll need – the hotels, motor coaches, local guides and so forth as well as time to promote the trip adequately.
  2. We don’t budget adequately for promotional costs. Just making one announcement to a potential organization or group isn’t going to do it. You’re going to need to produce a brochure or detailed flyer outlining the itinerary, trip inclusions and cost and you’re going to need to budget mailing costs to lists of potential travelers.
  3. We want to offer an itinerary that fits the interests, budget and desires of your potential group. If you’re offering a fabulous trip but it’s way beyond the budget of your recipients, you’re wasting your marketing budget.
  4. We don’t know who our focus market is. Are we looking for families? Singles? Older couples? Working professional adults with the budget but limited time? First-time travelers?
  5. We don’t have any “go-getters” who will bring in their friends, neighbors, colleagues and contacts. You may want to develop an arrangement by which you offer a specified discount to a potential tour member if he or she brings in friends.
  6. We don’t know much about the reputation of the tour operator, cruise line, motor coach company or other provider. Are they licensed to sell in your state? Will their insurance cover your travelers? Have you checked them out with care?
  7. We don’t see ourselves as a good promoter. We’ve never done anything like this before. How do we know we’ll succeed? We are afraid of failure and don’t seem to know how to approach potential individual travelers or prospective pre-existing group organizations in the community.
  8. We don’t know how to convey enthusiasm for the trip or for the specific destinations offered. We’ve never read up about the various places we’ll be visiting so we can sell them positively. We haven’t investigated the history and reputation of the tour operators, cruise line or other provider so we can talk about them positively.
  9. We don’t know how to talk to potential travelers about the trip – particularly when it comes to talking to strangers, or when talking about places we haven’t visited. This is something that can be practiced at home with family members or with friends.
  10. We don’t have a backup budget for additional promotion if our first offering doesn’t fill the trip. No excuses. Plan on needing it. If you fill the trip with the first offering, so much the better.

A successful trip is one that not only succeeds financially, but also brings home happy travelers wanting to travel with you again on a future trip and perhaps bring along their friends and family. That’s worth all the work, worry, and learning experiences you put into it.

By Marty Sarbey de Souto, CTC