Business is not the only reason behind the design of a new tour. Often there’s an intuition, an opportunity, even a dream.
This is the first of a number of posts about the design of a bike tour:
The concept, the planning, the creation of gps tracks, maps and road books, the tour manual.
Define the concept
First of all: “To what kind of guest I’m going to offer this tour?”
A road bike training camp will have different pace compared to a gourmet tour or to a mountain bike adventure. Every trip has to be designed according to the guests we aim to attract.
At this phase we have to define, among others ingredients:
- how long will be the single stages (30/50/70 miles?)
- what kind of accommodation we are going to use, (charm, farmhouses, B&B?)
- what activities during the tour (wine tastings, archaeological visits, or more focused on bike shops, meetings with pro and so on?)
Some (hopefully) useful suggestions
1 – Keep stages “Coherent”, meaning:
- similar day by day physical engagement
- time spent on the bike vs time spent on activities
- style and level of accommodation
2 – A successful tour has a mix of activities.
The trips too focused on just one theme (history, for example), may be perceived too much for a niche (high risk to be boring!) and there’s the risk to loose some potential partecipants. Of course if the tour is designed for a specific public (historical tour for a university, training camp for a team), it has to be specific and focused.
3 – Don’t fill the days with lots of stuff to do.
This is the typical mistake of guides with little experience, that would like to make guests experiencing everything. At the end of the day it’s an holiday, and guests will enjoy a bit of free time (here we talk about being a cycling guide).
4 – As less as shuttles as possible, on arrival, departure and during the tour.
There’s a not written rule that says the starting point should be less than one hour by shuttle from the airport, and the end of the tour not more than two hours. This applies also when there are too many shuttles, in order to cover as much of territory as possible. Guests have booked a bike tour, not a van & bike tour
5 – There’s never a second chance to make a good first impression.
That’s why the first day must be perfect in every single way: hotel, bike fitting, first briefing.
Even more important is the last hotel, because it’s the one that guests will remember more, and in case of holiday extension they are already in a nice place (here we talk about bike hotels)