Guide for rural tourism


How to develop a sustainable business


How to develop a sustainable business

11 steps to grow your business

Here are 11 steps that will help the growth of your business – your rural tourism.

You should go through these 11 steps in every couple of years:

  1. Carefully record all your resources.
  2. Get informed. Participate in presentations, promotions, conferences and workshops, talk to others involved in rural tourism nearby. Explore what’s available online.
  3. Find out what do the others do in rural tourism. Talk to neighbors and other entrepreneurs about their businesses. Visit them. Look at what the people do in neighboring countries.
  4. Consult potential customers – tourists. Ask relatives, friends and neighbors about products or services that you plan to provide. Are they interested? Are they willing to pay the prices you have planned? What are they looking for?
  5. Research the market, your competitors and potential collaborators. Explore what’s available online.
  6. Network. Join associations, clusters, clubs… You are stronger together.
  7. Study. Contact organizations for business support: regional development agencies, chamber of commerce, local action group, local tourism organization, etc. Go to trainings and workshops. Follow online courses.
  8. Get insured. Insure not only property, but also everything else that can cause problems in your business.
  9. Create a business and marketing plan. Write them down!
  10. Start small and stay frugal in the beginning!
  11. Learn from your experience, adapt and expand only when you know that your new business in rural tourism meets the goals you set from the beginning

Golden tips for success in rural tourism

You have started walking your 11 steps, from the first step and recording the resources, then the second step where you get informed and so on. Always keep in mind these golden tips for success in rural tourism:

  • Choose something you like to do – Most people start a new business to earn more money. Your genuine enthusiasm for your work is part of what makes you unique. If you are not doing something you love, you will hardly have enough energy and motivation.
  • Estimate time and knowledge – Carefully analyze and assess whether you have enough knowledge and skills for this job. Calculate well how much time you will need to devote to this work and assess whether you have enough of it. This applies both to you and to everyone else who works with you
  • Get off to a successful start – A good start is very important. Do not rush to start work. Do not move until you are fully prepared. You can only make a first impression once. This also applies to any new tourism product you introduce.
  • Ensure quality – Offer a high-quality product or service. Direct sellers often combine high quality with some unique feature to differentiate their products/services. A great experience or quality product is more important for attracting consumers than a low price.
  • Start small and grow slowly – Starting small usually means less of your own involvement and less money invested in order to make mistakes less expensive. Remember, small operations are easier to manage.
  • Keep good records (production, financial, marketing…) – Trying to manage a business without good information is like trying to find an address without a map. Good information and records are essential to analyze whether or not you are meeting your goals and to understand why your goals are being met or not.
  • Do targeted promotion – Promotion for the sake of promotion serves no purpose. Precisely define who you want to contact, in what way and through which communication channels. Define a realistic budget for promotion.
  • Safety first – Do everything necessary to ensure that both you and your guests are completely safe from any unforeseen events at all times.
  • Provide more than just a tourism product – Successful ones always offer more than a product or service. They provide experience, emotions, interactions…
  • Cooperate – Partnerships can help you reach new guests or even keep old ones.
  • Be informed – You need to be informed about every aspect of your business, consumer preferences, competition, finances, etc.
  • Plan for the future – Planning is essential for success. In planning, be realistic in terms of goals, price, costs, time, etc. Be flexible and understand that even the best plans can go wrong and things change.
  • Evaluate continuously – Things are always changing. You must constantly monitor and evaluate what is happening around you. It’s impossible to know if you’re achieving your goals without taking the time to evaluate.
  • Be persistent – It takes a lot of persistence just to figure out how to make a travel product and maybe more time to market it. Defining the target group and how you will address them also takes time. So be persistent and persevere. Ideas take a long time to become reality.
  • Make your work a pleasure!

How to do business sustainably?

Sustainability is an extremely broad term, but in its simplest sense it focuses on creating positive impact on environment for long-term.

Here are some suggestions to help you create a sustainable business:

  • Reduce environmental impact –from reuse and recycling, switching to LEDs, reducing plastic use, reducing CO2 emissions, introducing energy-efficient appliances, to adopting a circular business model.
  • Ensure a sustainable supply chain – once you understand what it takes to run a sustainable business, you can ensure that your suppliers also contribute (or support them to adapt).
  • Involve the people you work with – embed your goals into the culture of your rural tourism. Explain to employees, relatives, colleagues and those who help you why sustainable business is important and beneficial for everyone, set goals, collaborate on ideas
  • Support the people you work with – develop a positive culture, invest in the development of employees and others who work with you, pay employees and your supply chain fairly, be transparent in your communications, hire locally where possible to improve your community, offer incentives and rewards for excellent work.
  • Introduce new technologies – technology can greatly benefit your business by providing data that you can learn from, helping to minimize inefficiencies, understand finances, improve relationships with tourists and suppliers and react to trends much faster than your traditional competitors. It can also help you access new markets.
  • Prepare for bad times – diversify your offer, expand your customer base, understand your competitors and stay one step ahead, have a plan B, keep up with trends
  • Enable innovation – enabling collaboration and exchange of ideas in your business will empower everyone to think “outside the box”, to create and share ideas, test them, put them into practice and help your rural tourism grow. A sustainable business must be able to adapt quickly, which is not possible if innovation is stifled.
  • Give back to the community – donate your products or a percentage of your profits to a local charity, organize a charity event, allow your staff to volunteer for a few hours somewhere or be a mentor to someone. Involve the people you work with in deciding how and where to give back to the community.





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