Reopening and Restarting Roundtable
After the success of the Culinary and Food Experiences Roundtable during the recent Arival Virtual Summit, we at Global Tours Connect have launched bi-weekly GTC roundtables for tour operators to discuss what’s happening in our industry.
Our first roundtable topic, “Reopening and Restarting” was fully booked with food tour operators who shared their thoughts, ideas, and best practices regarding reopening tours after a long shutdown.
A Few Highlights from Tour Operators
1. Hand sanitizers. Options included guides offer it to each guest, or operators provide a small bottle to each guest. One operator suggested 4imprint as a place to purchase bottles with your tour logo featured.*
2. Masks. Depending on your city and location, masks are required for guides and guests as they navigate through the city. When in tasting locations, masks are lowered for eating and drinking.
3. Shared tastings. In the past, some tastings were offered on a large tray or “family style.” As this may no longer be permitted in your area, offering single served may be a feasible alternative.
4. Waivers. Including COVID protocols and requirements are a highly encouraged addition to your standard waiver. If tours didn’t require waivers before, most are now. Wherewolf provides an electronic waiver that includes COVID information. In addition, we learned the use of a QR code makes it easy for guides and guests to “sign” without the need of a pen or communal iPad. Guests can do it right on their own smartphones. One tour operator shared a sample waiver that may serve as an example.
NOTE: Global Tours Connect does not endorse the waiver and encourages you to obtain legal advice in creating your company’s waiver.
5. Mics. Microphones and audio systems are becoming a hot topic. PyleUSA.com offers voice amplifiers and Uniti works with guests’ smartphones and available wifi. Guides who joined us for both our first GTC roundtable and our Arival Virtual Summit roundtable discussion mentioned that they are also using their phones as a hotspot for the wifi solution.
6. Private tours. With many guests feeling a bit more comfortable sticking to their own social distancing pods, coming back to business by focusing on private tours should be a top priority, says most of the tour operators who have joined us. This is also a great opportunity for marketing tours and developing new opportunities. In fact, GTC has been working with FareHarbor to set up a template for adding private tours to your website for online ticket sales. This alleviates the back-and-forth negotiations and allows you to set the terms for your tours. Our next roundtable will cover this topic.
7. Working within local restrictions. You know your business and your market best. That being said, work within the mandates and comfort levels of your community. Every city, county, and state has unique rules and mandates and we must find our way to navigate within them. Look for ways that your food tour can help your restaurant, specialty shop, market and other tour stop partners the best way you can.
Final Tour Operator Roundtable Takeaway
Remember, we all started out with a single tour. There is no shame or failure attached to going back to square one and starting fresh. Our routes may change because familiar locations closed, and new locations are popping up. The world as we knew it six months ago is no longer, and it is unreasonable to expect to pick up where we left off. Take that pressure off yourself and take the time to redefine your culinary story.
If you have been able to implement any of these ideas and have thoughts on how other tour operators can get back to business, let us know. Email us your ideas and we’ll share them in future blog posts and GTC Roundtable discussions.
*Global Tours Connect does not officially endorse the third-party vendors mentioned above. We are sharing ideas presented by tour operators as a way to unite our industry through collaboration.