Updated: May 24, 2022
Logistics and planning is paramount when tourists plan their trips. The more barriers that come down, the greater the odds a trip planner will depart on a epic trip. Some international tourists do not even know how to drive a car. Furthermore, it can be a culture shock to international tourists on how much cars are needed to access sites when they visit the USA. Here’s where you come in as the Transporter.
Livery 101: Livery 101: What’s the Difference Between a Taxi and Other Livery Services?
Over the next 20 years, our 5 state service areas will continue to see an influx of people as new residents and tourists. ASTC is concerned that many entrepreneurs will struggle and tourism experiences will be diminished in the near future due to a lack of services. This in turn will greatly hurt our branding efforts and prevent us from reaching our potential. Worst of all, it may force organizations to close up shop due to lack of support.
How do you find your niche within this market?
B2C (Business to Consumers).
Transportation can be in high demand for tourists during their precious time while on vacation.
It is critical that potential tourists learn about your organization. You could be the catalyst that helps them pull the trigger on their trip. Some follks may be really concerned about their car parked being parked in a secluded forests road for two nights in a row.
B2B (Business to Business).
Here you are being outsourced by a third party, such as Outfitters; Travel Specialists; a Chamber of Commerce; or a county Tourism Directors. You do not directly interact with Tourists with payments.
You may also be hired to pick up equipment and gear and haul it to a client, or drop it off to a Guide.
You could also be outsourced by a nonprofit. They may have a social responsibility that you can help execute with your logistical expertise.
A great goal is to become connecting with a Touring package.
Create a market space that is found in the day to day, and even hour to hour void that prevents tourists from going on epic trips.
The new demand you are creating will help tourism services increase their scale with far less costs, and it will greatly improve the tourism experience.
Is there a model already out there?
Our Transporter page has a ever growing lists organizations that fit this model or share a characteristic of this model.
It is very important to understand that this is not a Mon-Fri, 9-5 job. At times you may need to wait hours until your clients come out of the woods. Then you may need to drive 2 hours to drop them off at the airport.
You may be ok with just doing this 4 days a week (Friday-Monday), but you need to be available 24 hours a day during those days. It’s the best way for you to be a reliable vendor for Travel Specialists.
Asheville has some models that are close. Young Transportation.
You will need to have excellent planning, time management and communication skills. A good hard skill will be able to drive various types of vehicles and be able to tie equipment down on trailers. You will need to have great road navigation skills and use high quality assets to find remote places.
At times you may blur the line between basic logistics and being a Guide. You may need to set up tents and tarps and even get the fire going and start up chow until the group shows up.
Branding and Marketing
Branding and Marketing should be done with at least FB and Twitter, but ASTC always recommends having a website with a mission and vision.
Remember to think beyond the local area tourists. ASTC believes we are in the Golden Age of Global Tourism. We should be good for another 10 years easily.
Go digital and think global. Network with a large Chamber of Commerce (6 or more counties), and a regional tourism authority that is governed by the state you will work out of.
Find a great Travel Specialist and or Travel Agency who you can work with.
If you drive a bus like vehicle and have 16 passengers or more you will need a CDL-B Passenger.
Here is the path:
Get a DOT physical from an occupational clinic. The Physical is good for 2 years in Virginia.
Once you have the Physical "card" you then take it to the DMV. Bring Birth Certificate. You will get a new picture taken when you apply to take the written exams. Find out if the vehicle you will be using has air breaks. Find out if you will be taking tourists across state lines. Find out if the rig you are using is a manual or automatic.
Take the written CDL-B exam, and the written Passenger Exam. You can take as many as you want. Go ahead and get the Air Brakes while you are there.
After you pass you will get a paper that is good for 30 days. Your new licence will be mailed to you in 6 business day. This is good for 1 year.
Get someone who has a licence to help you learn how to drive your rig.
A month or so later, come back with the rig you are going to use and do two tests. The first is the pre-trip inspection. The second is the driving test. Look in the manual for details, or call your DMV.
Here are some links to look over:
You should like to work alone and drive often. You will meet new people daily. A good understanding of tourism and nature based tourism is not that important, but helpful. However, you should be mostly motivated by providing good hospitality.
A great understanding of the roads and how to get to places is important. You should be motivated to keep up with your vehicle and equipment, because it is your bread and butter.
ASTC recommends starting at least a single Member LLC and testing the waters first. You will need to hand your rig over to your LLC. This will help with liability. If you work in an area like Lee County, Virginia you may need to set up your LLC in KY and TN too. This is annoying, but it may actually help you because guiding/outfitters may outsource to you more readily.
All you need is a good rig setup. So a Truck/SUV and Trailer.
Start up costs could be $5,000-$80,000. If you already have a smartphone and a rig, then your start costs will be much lower.
This is not known. There are many variables. It all depends on how much you research to discover the demand, and how much you promise to deliver. The idea is to carve out a niche that you are happy with. It’s imperative that you and the second party come to an agreement days prior to you providing services. Always error on the side of hospitality. The positive service reviews will be well worth it.
A best case scenario would be getting in well with an international high end tourism firm. Some of these tourists pay thousands for a few days' travel. These high end firms most likely do not have any Vendors or Suppliers to outsource to in the Coal Country area of our service region, and you could make it happen!
Sale Pitch Notes
Take Travel Specialists out on a vehicle tour so that they can get familiar with the area and create packages with you.
Make your mission about letting tourists have a great time and push hospitality. Your vision should be about improving more opportunities for tourists.
Already have your social media accounts up and rolling before your sales pitch.
Show up to a sales pitch in your rig! Show off your communications and navigation gear.
Do your research on the local outfitters. Go where the work is.
Do not get greedy. Keep your costs low. You do not have much start up costs. Create demand first, then you can fairly raise your fees.
Talk to a Guiding service and offer to collaborate together. They bring in the Guests (Tourists) and you supply the transportation. You can make some extra cash and even bring business to your location, and the Guide gets to keep overhead really low. Plus you are networking locally.
The Coal Country areas do not have a presence with Travel Agencies yet, so you will be way out in front, a pioneer of sorts. Please read this Blog for a better understanding.
You will create more unknowns and potential liability for the Outfitter.
Pay will start off really low. You will need to be patient and recruit a very reliable Transportor who is passionate about their career.
Many organization do not understand how to oursource locally.
Many stakeholders in Coal Country will not see the potential for this market niche in this region of Appalachia. Be ready to expand your model to Outfitter/Guide early.
Environment. With timely logistical transportation, you can reduce the amount of vehicles on the road and in nature. You can also help prevent bears and other wildlife from being put down after breaking into cars. Your knowledge and “guy on the ground” intelligence of the region will allow trip advisors and tourists to discover different locations and spread out human impacts. You will make it easier to pack out trash by having a container for tourists.
Economy. Your efforts will help organizations work more efficiently at attracting, onboarding, and providing tourism services. The tourism experience will be improved which will create positive reviews and return visits.
Society. You will help rural Appalachia diversify their economies with tourism, and create more local jobs and connect tourists to the culture and landscape.
You will reduce economical constraints (owning or renting) a vehicle to help people travel more freely and make connections with the land and new people.
How ASTC can help you with your new organization (no cost)
We can help you with general questions on starting up a LLC, and specific questions and concerns about this model. Head over to the Entrepernuer Incubator info page for some quick links.
We have a list of Global Travel Networking List that can help you connect with trip advisors outside our region.
We have a general trip planning list for you to look over to find international firms
We have a local trip planning list for you to look over to find leads.
We have Tourism Consulting list that can help you with marketing and branding.
We have an Entrepreneur Incubator list of regional organizations that can help you get started.
We have a Travel Specialists list to network with travel agents. You can become a supplier who helps them create trips for their clients.
We have a Shuttle List.
We have a list of Guides for you to network with.
We have a Gear Rentals List for trip planners to find vehicles. You can pick them off or drop them off here.
You can interact and help trip planners on ASTC’s Tourist sub-forum.
We can start your own group on ASTC to better market yourself.
You can promote your organization with several of our blog topics.
We can put up job offerings that you need filled.
You can also look for loan and grant opportunities.
Network with other organizations.
In conclusion, there are opportunities with this Transporter model, but your networking, fees, and work ethic will be very important to its success. You will need to really work to make connections to get outfitters and other organizations that are responsible for promoting tourism to work with you. Remember you have made it once you become a reliable vendor or supplier for a Travel Agency.
Please offer us any feedback and join our ASTC Blog Sub-Forum to discuss this blog.
Appalachia Sustainable Tourism Collaboration