People, product and process
Ever wish a genie would show up and grant you three wishes for your business? I wouldn't wait for this to happen but I would immediately start thinking about making changes. If you ever watched my favorite show "The Profit" on MSNBC, you will be familiar with the most important concepts of any business: People, Product and Process.
Zappos offers 2000$ to all new hires that decide they don't want to work there after their initial training. They feel like it's better to lose 2000$ than to have an employee that can make your business lose a lot more.
Often, it's the boss himself that need to change. As the captain of the ship, you set the tone on the work ethics throughout your tour company. I believe there must be a boss in every business but this person must be a leader. Hire well, set strong company values and fire fast when you feel the person is not working out. Spend your time leading those that have the best interest of your tour business.
Tours operators must have staff that are willing to go over and beyond the customer's expectations. Having said that, we must manage a customer's expectation. This is where it's critical to have the right staff that shows up to work for the right reasons. A travel agent that doesn't have empathy will say just about anything to make the sales to get a commission. It's important to have sales staff that understands the consequences of unexpected surprises. Let the sales staff know that it's better to lose the sales than to promise something we can't deliver.
How does your product compare to your competition? As a customer, which tour company would you chose? Ask friends to check out the competition and tell you honestly which tour operator they would select. This will only help you make the proper improvements to your tours. If you end up having the best tours, you be confident you are offering the best value to your customers.
Regardless of the results, it's important to continuously look for opportunities to make your tours better. Listen to what customers complain about and make adjustments. You can often introduce a new service to eliminate some of those complaints. For example, if customers are complaining about where they are seated on the bus, start charging for seat selection.
Can you serve customers quickly and efficently? Can the operations team send documents to your suppliers with a click of a button? Does your staff use many system that forces them to duplicate efforts?
Having tour operator software that allows you to automate all manual tasks is mandatory for survival. You can have the best people or product but if your process is flawed, everything falls apart.
I used to have a flawed process in my tour company and I was using tour operator software. It's not because you purchase a system that it's the right solution for your tour company. If you want to grow and have employees, you must have software that makes their day simple and enjoyable. It's what motivated me and my business partner to start Touralix. In 2016, you should have software that enables your staff to focus on customers and not on process.
Here is my rule of thumb: make it easy for customers to buy and easy for staff to sell.