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It’s a fact: tourists love South Africa. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism directly and indirectly contributes to an estimated 4.3% of the country’s GDP and employment, supporting one in every 23 jobs.
Despite the encouraging statistics, it can be challenging for new small businesses aimed at the tourist industry to enter this potentially lucrative industry.
Dominic Chadbon, aka the Fynbos Guy, is an entrepreneur who has found success as a thriving small business in the bustling tourism industry in Cape Town. His business? Guiding people on hikes in and around the Mother City’s mountains. He shares three insights as to what makes a small tourism venture successful – or not.
Insight #1: Know and love what you do
“Simply seeing a gap in the market and going for it might not give you the longevity that you require in the business world – if you are in this for the long haul, it is important to have knowledge as well as a passion for your particular work,” says Dominic, who, as a qualified and registered mountain and nature guide with 20 years of guiding and teaching experience, can put his money where his mouth is.
Insight #2: Give people an experience
“Tourists want experiences that will translate into fond memories. Whatever your business entails, make sure that you make moments memorable for your customers,” says Dominic. “For me, it’s never just a hike – it’s an experience, and as such I like to connect with my clients and make every hike informative, interesting, and even entertaining. I also like to add special touches, like fresh coffee and croissants on a mountain top!”
Insight #3: Your website is your online brochure – invest in it
Last but by no means least, Dominic says that one of the most essential growth factors for his business was to get a professional website. “Webafrica set it all up for me, and I have never looked back,” he says. “Think of your website as an online brochure. People will invariably use Google to help plan their trips. If they can’t find you online, they won’t visit you – it’s as simple as that.” The results speak for themselves: “I can safely say that since my website has been up and running, my enquiry rate has increased, easily by 50%,” says Dominic. “Webafrica thought about areas that I'd never think of: for example, making the site mobile-compatible, and encouraging me to continually upload fresh content. I've watched my site climb the Google rankings and I enjoy the monthly report - it allows me to tweak the site and keep it fresh. Having the professionals do it for me frees up time for me to think strategically and create content for the website in my own time, and to focus on my business. If you do not have the skills to do it yourself, I can highly recommend that you do the research on what options are out there and get a web consultant to do it for you, like I did. It needn’t break the bank, and you will reap the benefits.”
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