Starting a wine tour business can be a very lucrative endeavor. Not only is the wine industry growing, but wine tourism is becoming increasingly popular as well. There are several things you need to do in order to start a successful wine tour business. In this article, we will outline the steps you need to take and provide some tips on how to make your business a success.
Here are the 10 steps you can take to get started on building your very own wine tour business.
10 Steps to Launching a New Wine Tour Business
1. Choose Your Type of Wine Tour Business
The first step in launching a wine tour business is to identify the type of wine tour business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others:
- Direct-to-consumer wine tours
- Winery-based wine tours
- Customized wine tours
2. Name Your Wine Tour Business
Give your wine tour business an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your wine tour business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.
The main goal for naming your wine tour business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so that potential customers will be more likely to use your services.
3. Determine Your Wine Tour Business Model
There are several possible types of business models for a wine tour business including:
- Flat rate
- Package deal
No matter which model you choose, make sure that it aligns with your business goals and the products and services you offer.
4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
By incorporating your wine tour business, you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.
The business structure you choose for your wine tour business will determine the amount of taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.
Read our article comparing the most common wine tour business structures.
5. Write a Wine Tour Business Plan
All wine tour business owners should develop a business plan.
A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team among other things.
When developing your wine tour business plan and strategy, you should think about the following questions your customers might have:
- What is the price range for wine tours?
- What is the minimum and maximum group size for a wine tour?
- How long will the wine tour last?
- Is lunch or dinner included in the price of the tour?
- Are beverages included in the price of the tour?
- Which wineries will be visited on the tour?
- What is the pick-up and drop-off location for the tour?
- What type of transportation will be used on the tour?
- Are gratuities included in the price of the tour?
- Do you offer private or custom wine tours?
Answering these questions will help you develop a business plan and strategy that is tailored to your wine tour business.
Read our article about how to write a wine tour business plan.
6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses
There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your wine tour business.
For example, if you plan on serve wine tastings as part of your tour, you will need to apply for a liquor license. The process for obtaining a liquor license varies from state to state. In addition, if you are operating a motor vehicle as part of your wine tour business, you will need to make sure that the vehicle is properly registered and insured.
You must also register your wine tour business as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.
Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.
7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your wine tour business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.
If you have your own funds to invest in your wine tour business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your wine tour business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.
Read our article about the costs associated with starting a wine tour business to help you determine if funding is needed.
Read our article about how to fund your wine tour business.
8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your wine tour business, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You definitely need a computer with Internet access, and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues.
You may also want to invest in other software to help you with tour bookings, reservations, and payments. There are many software options that can streamline the process of running your wine tour business. You will also need a phone so customers can reach you to make inquiries or book tours. A toll-free number can give your business a more professional appearance.
9. Market Your Wine Tour Business to Potential Customers
Before you start selling your products and services, you have to let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your products and services and how they benefit them.
After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Also consider networking with other people in the wine tour industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business.
You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new customers. Wine tour businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:
- Sponsoring local events in your area, like wine festivals or concerts
- Offering free or discounted tours to customers who refer new business
- Running a contest where customers can win free tours or other prizes
- Creating a blog or podcast about wine and wine touring, and promoting it through social media
- Creating informative articles or videos about wine touring and promoting them through social media, your website or other channels
- Participating in trade shows or conventions related to wine touring
- Creating an email newsletter to keep customers updated on your latest offerings
- Sending direct mailings to potential customers in your target market
- Advertising in local publications or on websites frequented by your target market
Read our article about how to market your wine tour business for more tips.
10. Get New Customers & Grow Your Business
When you promote your products and services, you’ll start to get interest from potential customers.
Make sure you’re ready to serve these customers. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your wine tour business.
Starting a Wine Tour Business FAQs
Starting a wine tour business can be a great way to become your own boss and make a living doing something you love. Wine touring can be an enjoyable and educational experience for customers, and there is a growing demand for these types of services.
To start a successful wine tour business, you need to have a thorough understanding of the wine industry and the wine touring process. You should also be familiar with the equipment and technology needed to run your business efficiently. And it’s important to have a good marketing strategy in place to attract new customers.
You can start a wine tour business from home by establishing a home office. Then, you can promote your business online and through social media channels. You will also need to invest in the equipment and technology needed to run your business, such as a computer, phone and printer.
You'll need to figure out how to obtain the tour transportation and where to store it. You could purchase a van or SUV, or you could lease a vehicle from a local company.
You can start a wine tour business online by creating a website and promoting your business through social media channels. You will also need to invest in the equipment and technology needed to run your business, such as a computer, phone and printer.
Your website should include detailed tour descriptions and features that allow customers to book your services online.
Some tips for starting a wine tour business include:
- Develop a strong marketing strategy. Attract new customers with effective promotions and advertising.
- Invest in the right equipment and technology. Get a computer, phone and printer for your office.
- Train your staff. Find and train the right people to help you grow your business.
- Be prepared to serve customers. Establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs.
A simple checklist to use when starting a wine tour business is as follows:
- Choose Your Type of Wine Tour Firm: This should be based on what you are best at and how much experience you have. Remember to keep your interests, skills, and experience in mind at all times.
- Name Your Wine Tour Business: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
- Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
- Determine Your Wine Tour Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write a Wine Tour Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
- Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and/or permits before you can begin operations.
- Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
- Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need to have the right tools in place to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
- Market Your Wine Tour Business to Potential Customers: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the products and services they truly need.
- Get Customers & Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your services.
Starting a wine tour business can be a great way to share your love of wine with others and make some money in the process. By following the tips above, you can give yourself the best chance for success.