10 Ways to Improve Your Food Tour Business

Last Updated September 13, 2018

Guest Post from The Global Food Tourism Association

As the world’s leading Food & Culinary Tourism Association, the Global Food Tourism Association’s works to ensure Food Tours and Food Tourism professionals thrive globally.

GFTA is firmly committed to our four pillars that represent our focus and philosophy: network, learn, share and succeed. We facilitate networking opportunities, supply professional development from experts, share industry insights and resources and help Food Tourism professionals succeed.

As 2018 is more than halfway over and we look to end the year with a bang, we have put together some recommendations that we think you should consider as you work to improve your Food Tourism business in the next 6 months.

Without further adieu, our 10 recommendations to improve your business in no particular order:

Time & Priority Management

As a business owner or department director, there are a lot of important areas pulling your focus in different directions. It’s vital that you understand how to effectively schedule your time and prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance. Block scheduling is a great tool to help increase your efficiency.

To-do: Learn the basics of block scheduling and time/priority management from expert business consultants at Cultivate Advisors.

Make Time for a Technology Audit

Do you know if the technology you are have been using is the best option for the initiative you’re trying to execute? A technology you invested in 2 years ago, may not be the technology you need today or in the near future. Push yourself to work as the business you want to be, not the business you are.

For example, maybe you’re using MailChimp for your email marketing, when was the last time you reviewed your marketing systems to verify it’s getting you the most ROI? How about your operations? Have you been utilizing Microsoft word and excel to keep all your information organized? Try exploring other technologies and you might find it’s time to utilize more robust systems such as Evernote or Typeform to help you move forward.

To-do: Take a half day this fall and audit your technologies, the systems you’ve set in place and research available options. You may find that a new system would save you valuable time that could be spent on more important revenue generating tasks.


Schedule Continuous Professional Development

How often do you find yourself learning about the tourism industry or out-of-industry topics? If it’s just the quick articles friends forward to you from Forbes or Skift, you should probably up your game. Start scheduling time every week to reading more in-depth expert tips in subject areas that could benefit you and your business.

To-do: Put in your schedule 1 hour per week to read expert tips on blogs such as Cultivate Advisors and Tim Ferris, or listen to podcasts such as EntreLeadership Podcast and The Art of Charm.


Peer-To-Peer Knowledge Sharing

According to research from the Association for Talent Development, 80 percent of knowledge transfer is forgotten and less than 15 percent of this knowledge is ever applied on the job. Not surprisingly, the model of “one expert to many students” is outdated in the knowledge economy. There is too much knowledge and information available and too many great ways of sharing that knowledge to limit ourselves. A cohort program is “a group of people banded together or treated as a group” in a degree program or course of study. Group whose members share a significant experience at a certain period of time or have one or more similar characteristics.

To-do: Join groups that promote peer-to-peer knowledge sharing. Whether this be through your local business association or you want something industry specific (hint, hint: Global Food Tourism Association), there are many ways you can achieve this.

Innovation & Vision

Sometimes the day-to-day grind can be exhausting and the path you’re moving on can become difficult to see. You might find yourself becoming burnt out, over-leveraging your resources, or straying from the goals you have set for the business. Make sure the business has a mission and vision statement that is consistently used as the true North. If you feel like you’ve deviated from the path or your business has grown so much that you have reached your original goals, it’s time to have an innovation session and create a vision board. Whether you are the only member of your team or you have a team of 40, it’s important to have a vision for the future and SMART goals established to reach this vision.

To-do: If you’re alone in the business, grab a peer you admire to help be your sounding board for your ideas on innovating your business in the next 6 months. If you have a team, set a 2-hour session where you brainstorm the future path of the business so you know exactly what the business should look like next year.

Local Marketing / Claim Your Google Local Listing

More than half of business owners still haven’t claimed their Google My Business listing, which means that they can’t manage and update vital information such as opening hours, address, images, and contact details. It’s super easy to start utilizing and opens up options for posting about your business and advertising discounts for specific food tours or events.

To-do: Claim your Google Local listing.


Start a Referral Program

Word of mouth and friend/family referrals are a huge source of revenue in the tourism industry. Why not capitalize on this fact and source your own referral program? The effectiveness of referral campaigns is proven by psychology.

It basically comes down to this: the referral program creates social proof, people like knowing businesses are reputable and that experiences are authentic, however, they don’t necessarily like being the guinea pigs for these. Even more so when the referrer is someone of authority. That’s why influencers and media have become so essential in establishing trust within consumers.

To-do: Look into referral programs and see if they might be right for you.


Work ON The business Not IN The Business

A bit of a theme for this entire blog is working on the business. We believe that one of the best ways to accomplish this is to attend the 2018 Global Food Tourism Conference. Learn why from Terry Rice, Managing Director of Savor Seattle here.

The Global Food Tourism Association has partnered up with EzTix and is excited to share that any new EzTix Partners will receive a 1-year membership to GFTA upon request.  If you are a Current EzTix Partner and want to renew your membership to GFTA, you will receive 50% off your membership fees (paid for by EzTix) at renewal time.

Special note: once you have a membership to GFTA you can receive special membership pricing for the 2018 Global Food Tourism Conference. We have added speakers to the 2018 Agenda. Check out this year’s agenda and speaker lineup today.

To-do: Get in touch with EzTix to learn more about the specifics of this program.


Reflect on Your Communication Strengths & Weaknesses

Whether you’re a tour guide, a CEO, or both (like many in the Food tourism Industry), it’s important to have good communication skills. As Paul J. Meyer once said, “Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” Recent studies demonstrate how effective communication among leadership, sales, and customer service affects the bottom line. G. Riley Mills, a keynote speaker at GFTC18, states that “since great leadership is practiced one conversation at a time, communicators must understand how they want their audience to react to each message (the objective) BEFORE delivering them.” We highly suggest reading more about communication on his company blog. Get more in-depth training at #GFTC18.

To-do: Read these two blogs on Presentation Skills and Manager Communication To Motivate Staff.


Be Sure Your Booking System Works For You

Are you and your customers satisfied with your booking system experience? From your website to the pre-event communication, the entire experience needs to be easy, effective and work for both sides of the transaction.

Chicago Food Planet is an avid user of EzTix after their old platform, Zerve, failed to provide the quality of service Chicago  Food Planet needed to grow. After researching platforms across tourism and beyond, CEO, Shane Kost, found EzTix to not only have the services and functionality his business needed, but EzTix has a staff that is wholeheartedly dedicated to moving the Food Tourism Industry and its operators forward. This means their team is constantly analyzing their services and how to better serve their operators and the consumers their clients host on experiences. One booking system doesn’t always fit all, so explore the wide variety of ticketing platforms that are available. However, when you do so be sure to have a call with EzTix to learn more about their services.

To-do: Reach out to the EzTix Partnership team to have a one-on-one conversation about how their ticketing platform could improve your business.


We hope that you can take some of the above areas of focus and catapult your business to a new level of success in the next 6 months! Feedback or tips and tricks you’d like to share with the industry? Comment below.


-The Team at Global Food Tourism Association

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