Start a Tour Company:
Intensive Online Workshop

Take your tour guiding business from rainy-day idea to reality in this three-week intensive workshop-based incubator program!

Enroll in September Class

Next Class: 8/31 – 9/25
Details below

Live 2-3 hour classes
Daily assignments
9-11am Pacific Time Monday-Friday
Recordings available immediately after

Small group workshop format
Taught by Mitch Bach, Alan Armijo and a team of invited experts

Entrepreneurship is hard to do alone. Come join our live, workshop-based community of people creating tour companies together. If you’ve ever thought about starting your own tour company, but didn’t know where to begin, join us for our small-group business incubator program, where we’ll guide your early-stage idea into fruition!

Why should I do this?

  • Polls and research have already shown that travelers are ready to travel again, but to destinations closer to home.

  • Starting your own local guiding company gives you the power to grow an income that’s not dependent on struggling larger companies offering you work.

  • You’ll get the information, resources and advice in 3 weeks that we’ve spent 20 years amassing!

Is this for me?

  • Have you dreamed of owning your own business, but felt overwhelmed with the steps you need to take, or never had the time?

  • Do you have a passion for creating your own travel experiences, but want to develop the business in a group workshop, to receive feedback and support?

Give me a brief overview!

  • We’ve developed an intense 3-week “tour business incubator” program that guides you through the entire process of developing a tour company, from creating a product, brand, and website to sales, marketing, and all the messy legal and logistical hurdles.

  • You’ll be taught and encouraged by the TripSchool team, and a variety of real-world expert instructors, like tax attorneys, MBAs and of course tour operators who have been down your road and can share their stories and advice.

Community-driven classes.

The most important parts of our class is not the instruction: it’s the community of likeminded souls coming together, guided by TripSchool instructors and a variety of real-world tour operators, web designers, tourism marketers, and more!

Tourpreneur Approved.

Since its inception we have been huge fans of Shane Whaley’s Tourpreneur Podcast and vibrant Facebook community. We are huge fans of his work, and extremely humbled to become the first entrepreneurship program in his Tourpreneur Approved directory, with a review from Shane himself, who took our course in June.

“I have often said on the podcast that you can’t go to school to learn how to build a tour business. I now believe the How To Start a Tour Business online course has proved me wrong. This course was intense, but the payoff is well worth the time and money invested. […] Honest and authentic. I rarely endorse courses and products so when I do, you know it is the real deal.”

Read the full review

Course Syllabus

You’ll commit to following the program for three weeks, participating in live classes each day, Monday-Friday, or viewing the recordings at your convenience. This is a participatory, small-group class: we’re all going to build companies together, and offer advice and support!

Week 1 – Designing & Delivering an Incredible Tour Product

Monday Introduction to the Local Tours & Attractions Industry, and Tourism after COVID
If you come from other areas of the travel industry, or from another career altogether, we’ll break down very clearly how this particular segment of the travel industry works, and explain the varieties of ways to run a business in this space. We’ll address the challenges and opportunities ahead for a post-COVID industry by looking at new guidelines and predictions for how travel will change.

Tuesday Types of Tours + Discovering & Developing your tour product
There are dozens of different kinds of tours: what works for your region? What tours, historically before COVID, were selling? We’ll share incredible tools for finding and developing a tour experience.

Wednesday Designing Your Tour Experience: researching, mapping, and organizing your ideas
This is the fun part! We’ll give you a variety of tools for crafting the perfect tour experience, and guide you through creating an experience that works.

Thursday Delivering a Tour: voice, storytelling, wow moments, technology, and presentation
The actual tour experience is absolutely everything. Your product is nothing without top-notch delivery, and this is what TripSchool is known for: helping you deliver a knock-out travel experience using our special blend of storytelling, technology and wow moments.

Friday Roundtable Q&A w/ Experienced Tour Business Owners
To end the week, we’ll bring in some tour operators to tell their stories about how they started, and the challenges they’ve faced and surmounted. You’ll be able to ask anything you want!

Week 2 – The Business of Tour Operating

Monday Business Plan, Structure, Insurance, Licenses, Contracts, Taxes and Accounting
We’ll help you understand the legalities of starting a tour business, and share the software, apps and wealth of online resources that can help you get up and running quickly.

Tuesday Finding your  Customer, your Niche, and Developing a Brand Story
Finding out who your company is for is one of the most important steps in this journey. We’ll use special strategies and tools to help you understand who your customer is, and how to tell your brand’s story to them, and then hone your business to meet that segment.

Wednesday Operations: supplier and Vendor Contracting & Partnerships
Your tour is nothing without everyone that helps you put on a great experience. We’ll go behind the scenes to show you how tours are put together operationally, from an adventure tour to multiple locations, to city food tours.

Thursday Marketing: Logo, Website & Social Media
In today’s market, you live or die by your website, and it’s important to tell your company’s story with an interesting logo that tells your brand’s story accurately. We’ll guide you through the dozens of fantastic resources online to help you develop this, share design best practices, and run through successful case studies. Plus we’ll go over developing a social media strategy.

Friday Online Sales: OTAs, Reservation Technology, and your Website
It’s not enough to put an email address and phone number on a website; in the past five years big tech players have transformed how tours are being marketed and sold, and you need to learn and understand how bookings get made online, and the technology options out there for you. It’s a quickly evolving landscape, and we’ll introduce you to the industry discussions taking place.

Week 3 – Independent Study

Individual Coaching & Assessments
After two intense weeks of information, this week is about taking a breather to catch up on your work, make progress, make phone calls, and get ready for the final week.

We’ll schedule one on one individual calls, to see where you’re at with your business and help you through any stumbling blocks.

Week 4 – Putting it All Together

Tuesday Business Plan Presentations
Today you’ll present your business plans, and we’ll critique them as a class, to learn from each other.

Wednesday Marketing & Online Strategy
Next you’ll all present and workshop the work you’ve done on the marketing side of your company.

Thursday Resources & Next Steps
There are so many conferences, associations, organizations and other companies out there to help you. We’ll share the partnerships we have, guide you through the landscape, help you make connections and give you our secret sauce of incredible online resources to make your business run smoothly.

Friday “Graduation” day!
Congratulations, you’ve created the foundations for your tour business! While there’s a long road ahead, you’ll have the pieces in place to take advantage of when travelers begin returning. Well done!

We have a track record of passionate graduates who appreciate our approach.

(and hundreds of incredible unsolicited testimonials on a separate page if you’re curious!)

This is our most unique and intense online class yet.

Life threw us all a curveball. We had intended to offer this class in person, over one week in May. We had a dozen hopeful students in a sold-out class, and then everyone’s world was turned upside down! But we’ve made lemonade from these lemons. We’ve expanded the class from one to three full weeks, more than tripling the instruction, while offering the class at a more affordable price.

We at TripSchool believe in giving you incredible value for your money, especially right now. We have spent two months offering the travel industry over 20 free professional development sessions, keeping everyone’s spirits high and the learning happening. We are still committed to continuing to offer free content, but we also believe that right now is a privileged time for some of us to invest in the kinds of learning and foundation-building that will bear fruit when the travel industry begins to return to normal.

What do you get?

  • Participatory, collaborative, workshop-based learning with industry leaders

  • Small group size, so you will be heard and helped, individually.

  • 15 sessions, 30+ Live Video hours of instruction with Mitch Bach, Alan Armijo, and a range of special invited Guest Experts

  • One-On-One consulting sessions about your particular project

  • Class recordings can also be viewed any time at your convenience

  • 100-page PDF workbook with our tour development frameworks and helpful schemas to guide you along the process

  • The TripSchool “Secret Sauce” of methods for creating unforgettable tour experiences

  • A supportive, encouraging and dynamic TripSchool Online Learning Hub Facebook forum

  • Lifelong access to all online materials

  • A private TripSchool Resource Portal with directories of websites and resources on everything from graphic design to SEO and CRMs!

New Dates Announced Soon

$599

Payment plans available! Pay $200 deposit now.

Enroll in September Class!

If you have any questions, contact us! And of course payment plans are available, if necessary. We don’t want this to be a hardship for anyone.