If you are NOT looking to grow your business, please don’t read this!
Okay, so if you are reading this, you are looking to grow your business. Too often, people get stuck in their own heads. They consider what should be instead of what could be. Since I’ve been serving the Southern Indiana tourism community these past 3 years, I’ve found a lot of potential to serve more group tours in Clark and Floyd counties.
I can’t stress enough how much potential there is. So, why aren’t we better known among the Group Tour community?
Here are some theories I have:
- We don’t understand the business; therefore it scares us. (Just kidding, I know you’re fearless!)
- We don’t have anything a group would be interested in visiting. (I know that’s not true.)
- We don’t want 40 to 50 people in our business/attraction/hotel/restaurant all at once. (Yeah, right!)
- Making more money isn’t a goal. (Ahem, I’m not in this for my looks, you might say.)
- Being able to take a day off or hire more staff aren’t goals. (Who doesn’t love a day off?)
- We just don’t like outsiders. (We know this isn’t true; you’re in the hospitality industry!)
Out of the six theories listed above, I am going with number one as the most likely: we don’t understand the group tour business; therefore we don't pursue it. We don’t know its needs. Both statements are understandable however both statements can change rather easily. Opening up your mind and being open to the possibilities is the key to unlocking new business and increasing visits and/or revenue.
What does it take to become group friendly?
Some say it takes a person with vision. A vision is the right place to start. But really, it just takes a person who is hungry for business and willing to try something new.
Here’s an example of a business that isn’t typically associated with tourism, but the staff wanted to try something new: a music store. This music store has group ukulele classes that individuals can sign up for on Saturdays. For a small fee, you can bring in your ukulele and take a lesson with other people who want to learn.
What if they could hold a music class for a group of tourists on a Tuesday or Wednesday when they aren’t busy? So, with a little advanced planning, a group tour can come into the local music store and sit down for a 60-minute ukulele lesson.
The group will walk in with only an idea and walk out with an instrument, a song book and a skill that they can take home. What is the benefit to the music store? They just had 40 to 50 people show up on a business day they normally wouldn’t have a large class and made a nice profit. For Southern Indiana, this is a new product that we can promote that builds our profile in the group tour community.
Not every business can cater to group tours
It’s true, some businesses just don’t fit with the group tour market. But the questions I pose to you are: if you could have 50 people walking in your door, would you be ready to serve them? Would you make a good lasting impression?
Your mission, if you choose to accept it
I challenge you to think about the possibilities. Be creative! Smaller communities than ours have done more than we are currently doing. Rise to meet the challenge. If you haven’t considered the group tour market or if you’re ready to take the next step, let’s start with a conversation. Who knows? Maybe we can build something together!