The following tips are referred to tour operators, however they may be useful for any bike team or bike shop who want to arrange bike trips for its members
A self-guided bike tour is a package which can be from three nights to typically 7 nights. It includes a route design, routes loaded on a navigation system and coordination of services such as hotel arrangements. The objective is to explore a region by bike giving all the tools the traveler needs to navigate the whole experience, mostly autonomous.
It’s a great option for the independent travelers who wants to keep their own schedule and, yet, feel safe and supported.
WHAT DOES MAKE MEMORABLE A BIKE TOUR?
In my experience there are 5 key factors you want to consider as you build a memorable experience:
When I say “Itinerary”, first of all, I mean SAFETY.
Safety is your number one priority and how do you make sure you build a safe bike tour experience? Choosing quiet and secondary roads and making sure the pavement is consistent with the bike you are riding. I mean, a good asphalt if we’re talking about road biking.
Make sure that there aren’t dangerous crossings, tricky downhills or slippery surfaces.
Second factor of the itinerary is the BEAUTY of the itinerary. A beautiful landscape, is important. Picturesque landscapes. Natural settings. Then, above all in Italy, the beauty is also about the history and charming medieval towns. And, also, mamma mia… beauty is a good espresso and a cappuccino or a great gelato along the way. You know, a memorable experience always is based on the connections and if you build the itinerary so your clients can get a chance of stopping at a medieval town, walking around and getting an energizing coffee.
To choose a charming place, it’s not always about the rating, the number “stars”. A three-star hotel or a B&B can be very charming. As well as a fancier one. Charm is not measured in the rating. Charm might be related to some historical places like an old monastery converted into a hotel or an old farm converted into a country hotel. Or can be an incredible location on top of Montalcino hill.
For sure, charm is ALWAYS connected to the people greeting you. People always make the difference so you just need to make sure you deal with good management at the hotels you select.
One technical factor is that the accommodation has to have a safe space for the storage of the bikes. In some areas of Italy (typically in the Dolomites or on the Adriatic coast) they also have a bike garage with some basic tools and spares... but it’s not that common. Anyway, it’s a nice plus.
1) Customer support and a good net of suppliers
As you build a self-guided tour in a new area, you want to start from selecting the right accommodation, finding taxi services, people who can move the luggage and other key figures like a guide or a fun place for a cooking class or a wine tour. Start from exploring the pieces and then connect the dots.
Also know that, for a safe and comfortable Self-guided experience, you want to have in place all the tech. support: have a range of bike shops and mechanics available in case you need to fix any problem with your clients. Things happen all the time, you just need to make sure you have the whole system in place to be proactive and reduce problems as much as you can and, in case of a need, put in place your solutions as quickly as you can. Does it make sense?
2) Navigation System:
It means to navigate the actual itinerary and to navigate the experience.
Let’s start from the tech. part: how do you make sure your clients do not get lost and know where to go? Up to five years ago the industry was about writing the directions on paper (at the traffic light go left etc etc..). Mamma mia, as I think about it, I smile… technology made such a difference. Now a days there are multiple platforms for navigating. Now it’s a matter of choosing what you think is the best one. If you’re interested, you can see our comparison between the top three platforms available. So, you can make a good decision for your clients.
The second factor of the navigation is referred to the “experience”. How do you make sure your clients know everything important about the places they’re visiting? How do you ensure they rely (even partially) on your expertise to explore a place? This strengthens your relationship with them which means more business for you.
1) Tour test:
Testing is a key point and a very important part of our process. The test is the key to make sure all we’ve been talking about is actually in place!!!
A test of the itinerary safety
A Test of the beauty and how fluent is the tour
A Test of the accommodations
A Test of all the small/key experiences along the way, the wine tour, the guide for the walking tour: people express their personality all the time. A guide for a walking tour meets your clients for just a couple of hours, you want to make sure it’s a meaningful experience for them.
Somebody may consider the test not so important. Well, make sure it’s included in your tour price because it’s your way to make sure you build a memorable tour for your clients.
Connect with us. CLICK HERE