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The opportunities in the industry are as high as the level of competition in Chile

The constant amount of foreigners visiting Chile and the variety of its landscapes form the perfect scenario for those who wish to start with a SME dedicated to tourism.

But how to do it? According to data from the Undersecretary of Tourism, until 2015 alone there were 1,729 companies related to the activities of travel agencies, tour operators and tourist guides.

Therefore, the real challenge is to position and differentiate yourself from the rest. In Comunidad Empresas we talked to two Chilean businesses that have known how to have a space in the market. Follow their advice:

Yanina Baeza (43), devoted herself to accounting for 18 years. As a high school teacher, her relationship with the field “was only theoretical,” she says. In 2012, after quitting her job and abandoning her plans to go live abroad, she decided to devote herself to tourism.

“To study the competition and what it had to offer, I put on slippers and walked from Metro El Golf to downtown, checking hotel by hotel. That way I could define what my strengths would be and what tools I had to face the challenge”, he says.

Thus, after his analysis, he discovered that the hallmark of his agency would be to show the historical and cultural aspects of the central zone of the country. “When you look for a tour to Pomaire and Isa Negra you get 18 options. But only with me can you understand the Chilean idiosyncrasy. The idea is that they understand the history and social characteristics that make that place important,” explains Yanina.

In 2017, she will celebrate her fifth anniversary by taking trips to the Valparaíso Region, Cajón del Maipo, Isla Negra, Valle Nevado and, recently, she added a tour to Sewell.

To differentiate herself from the other companies, Yanina advises

  • Be clear about the type of service you are going to offer and the target audience: “Making a study of your strengths is fundamental because this way you can determine with whom and how you are going to compete.
  • Choose the people you will work with very well: “You have to deal with professional people in your work. When you take foreigners, you must also choose a good guide who speaks many languages.
  • Take care of the details: “The main flow of clients I have is through recommendations.
  • That’s why you have to take good care of the passengers. If you are having a birthday, for example, make your day special”.
  • Be persistent: “Many times you go to fairs or company meetings where you don’t manage to attract any clients or you go out on the tour with two people.
  • But you should not see it as a loss, but as an investment. Because if you are always friendly and available, you will never lack clients or recommendations”.

Central Tour La Serena: Fun, dynamism and youth

In 2016, Yanira Diaz (24) and Ignacio Bustamante (26) migrated to the heat of La Serena with the idea of starting a tourism SME in the area. “We had a transport company that was not related to passengers, but we were already bored with Santiago and the few job opportunities. That motivated us a lot to start our own project,” says Yanira.

The beginning was complicated, when they arrived in the city they realized that they were not the only tourism SME, so they had to generate different methods to make themselves known. “The first thing is to choose the name, so we prefer a generic identification that alludes to the area and that also allows us to expand in the future, for example, an upcoming Central Tour Pucón”, she explains. Then they consulted with a designer to create the logo and install it on social networks and websites to position themselves in SEO.

“To differentiate ourselves from the rest of the companies, we aim at accessible prices and a dynamic and entertaining service. We wanted a tour with energy, so that it would be noticed that we were young people,” Yanira points out.

Currently, they offer tours to foreigners, companies and study tours with trips to Isla Damas, Elqui Valley, Mamalluca Observatory and coastal and inland flowered desert.

  • Social networks and the Internet are fundamental: “Today our main entry of customers, even in low seasons, is through the web. It is unacceptable that a company does not have Facebook, site or Instagram, you are immediately out of the market”.
  • If you are in a region you don’t know well, get advice from local guides: “As we came from Santiago we didn’t know about all the attractions of the place, the guides helped us with that and who better than them to show with wisdom the beauties of the area”. Work collaboratively: “We do not offer hotels, so we show our passengers all the options, they choose and the hostel also wins.
  • Then that hostel recommends us and we all do well”. Put yourself in the client’s place: “Think about what you would want from a tourism service that is accessible, entertaining and unforgettable”.
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