A tourist destination is a unique place to start a business in. Entrepreneurs go for these places for both the opportunity and the challenge. Because these places aren’t like any other, though, there are a fair number of considerations one has to make before setting up here.
Although closed for the next six months, Boracay Island has made a name for itself as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines, teeming with business opportunities at the same time. The following considerations are ones that should be made by entrepreneurs looking to start a business in any tourist destination, but are especially beneficial on this majestic island of white-sand beaches and exciting activities, because it’s such a breeding ground for entrepreneurial ventures.
If you’re thinking of starting a business in a tourist destination, remember these things:
We may live in a tropical country and that might mean we don’t have the four seasons other countries get to boast about, but in the business world, there are only two that really matter: the on-season and the off-season. Here’s what to do in either season:
Prepare your stocks, prepare your employees, and prepare yourself—for a crowd of customers. Peak season in a tourist destination is much better than peak season just about anywhere else, since you’re guaranteed to have a huge market.
In the same way, off seasons in a tourist destination are upgraded versions of off seasons anywhere else. During the quiet months, in fact, there may be a point when you don’t have customers at all. So, be smart about this, too. Should you keep going all through the year, or close up when barely anyone’s around? This is when your budgeting and caution need to come into play.
Certain destinations bring in certain kinds of people. While some places are good for the whole family and offer attractions or activities that people of all ages and types can enjoy (like Boracay), others have a more specific clientele. Here are some ways you can categorize demographics:
Someone’s age can be a big indicator of their spending habits. The working class, for example, might be more likely to spend on things than students. On the other hand, adults might be more likely to invest in expensive yet practical or durable products compared to teenagers. Pay attention to your market. Be familiar with their spending power as well as their motives for buying things. From that point, it should be easier to come up with a marketing and sales strategy that produces great results.
As previously mentioned, the tourist destination you’re selling at may cater to a certain type of person only. While someone’s version of a vacation might mean getting a spa massage, someone else’s might mean bungee jumping off a cliff. Another upside to knowing what your market will be doing is knowing what they’re most likely going to need while doing it and being able to provide that to the best you can.
Because the Philippines has a wide range of natural as well as man-made attractions, the type of area you’re setting up in matters a lot as well. This goes hand in hand with studying your market. You need to pay attention to your setting. If you’re at a beach, you’re more likely to sell swimsuits and sunblock than shawls and sneakers. If you’re on a mountain range, your best bet might be climbing supplies or cold drinks. In just about any destination, a surefire way to make sales is helping your market make memories, like photo booths or memorabilia stands. After all, this should be a vacation they’ll never forget.
If it matters to tourists, it should matter to you. This is the key concept behind all of the tips presented in this article, and this one might be the most important. The weather dictates whether you’ll have many customers, and what they’ll need. Also, because of the odd weather we’ve been having lately, it’s not enough to assume that just because you’re in Boracay it’ll always be sunny, or because you’re in Baguio it’ll always be cold. Thus, you’ll have to be prepared for everything, including rainy days and storms.
The more popular a place is, the more likely you are to face tough competition. Get ahead of your rivals, then, through the following:
More often than not, because you’re all based in the same small space and most customers are looking for specific things, you might be selling the same thing as other people. The way to work through this is to find an edge that sets you apart. If you sell your products at a cheaper rate, or if yours has better quality than anyone else’s.
Even if you do have the exact same thing as everyone else, your employees are a resource you should never underestimate. Train your employees to seek customers out and offer them products at their convenience. That way, they’ll get to the customers before your competition does. Train them also to be friendly, approachable, and willing to compromise in order to offer a good deal. Your market will appreciate that for sure.
It may be a challenge, but setting up in a tourist destination has ups that far outweigh its downs. Don’t hesitate to try this new business venture, but do go into it carefully. Before you know it, you’ll be reaping the rewards in no time.
Already thinking of opening your own business outside of the metro? Learn from fellow entrepreneurs at our How to Start Your Own Travel Business webisode!
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