I became a solo traveler to a solo entrepreneur through my love for travel.
I started traveling around 10 years ago and lived to explore the world. I was constantly trying to find packaged adventures that offered to explore off-the-beaten-path corners of the earth, but was unable to find anything. I became tired of the cookie cutter tour companies that only highlighted the touristy attractions and popular regions. Eventually, I gave up trying and decided to create my own trips. I figured if I was looking for adventures like this, then other travelers would too.
photo credit: BornWild
After 4 years of traveling solo, I combined my passion for travel and wild animal conservation and decided to start my own adventure travel company – BornWild.
I began selling unique day trips for the first two years of business which went relatively well, however profits were low. To succeed at making a business out of day trips alone, you would have to be selling the majority of weekdays and dedicate much labor to make an honest living.
Multi-day trips is where the vast majority of profit can be made so I focused into this sector and it has really paid off.
Entering into the adventure travel industry world is no easy task. If you are a solo entrepreneur that has a travel start-up, you have your work cut out.
What I found most challenging is that consumers are parting with much more money and tend to be very careful before purchasing. It takes someone a lot more thinking time and deliberation before buying a trip, than it does to buy an item of clothing for example. Selling travel requires trust built between consumer and business and it’s essential for the business to have a great reputation too.
The travel industry isn’t overcrowded but there is a lot of choice so it requires work and the right marketing techniques to be seen by the right buyers.
Having a socially conscious angle on your business also helps too. From a business perspective, travelers are becoming more proactive in traveling consciously and impacting the planet positively. Consumers are gravitating towards eco-friendly, sustainable and conservation based trips and adventures. It’s a preference that has become highly favored in today’s world.
Being socially committed not only gives your brand kudos and credibility but it helps people see how dedicated you are to doing good.
We have just devised an African Lion Safari which is a groundbreaking adventure that bridges adventure travel with lion conservation. It exposes travelers to resources and experiences you will only encounter through this adventure. It’s the only adventure like this on the market and sets us apart from other companies.
photo credit: Roya Ann Miller / BornWild
Digital marketing is key when getting your business off the ground. I taught myself how to become a digital marketing expert and it’s paid off in many ways. I have tried numerous marketing tactics when it comes to selling travel, from magazine articles to ads, to cross marketing, to social media, facebook live etc. I’ve found that the most effective way is to master the world of SEO so that you can start ranking on google and be visible when consumers are searching for an adventure. The goal is to capture people as they are ready to buy a trip and that’s what’s so powerful when you crack digital marketing.
My advice to all new entrepreneurs in travel is to learn to master SEO and become a digital marketing expert so you become a pro at the very beginning. This will set you up for success from the offset and be extremely beneficial to getting your business off the ground as well as throughout your whole business journey.
Tips on starting your own travel business:
- Find a niche that isn’t already being done
- Become a digital marketing expert
- Post, post, post to rank on google using SEO
- Concentrate in on where your buyers are coming from
- Pinpoint what search terms consumers are using when they are poised to buy and start ranking for these search terms.
- Don’t waste time on marketing avenues that don’t work, plug away at avenues that do.
- Cross marketing with other companies really helps
- Make sure your customer service is 5-star and that you gain great reviews