Podcast: How we built a successful bike tour business – with Fitz & Follwell’s Diego and Shea

The Fitz & Follwell Story, how two friends started and grew a successful bike tour company.

Fitz & Follwell are into their 11th season. On this episode of Tourpreneur a podcast for tour operators and tour professionals, founders Diego, and Shea share their journey of what made them start a bike tour business and the lessons they have learned along the way.

How to start a bike tour business and the lessons we learned growing it.

Fitz & Follwell began with the simple idea that the most fulfilling travel experiences are created by connecting with locals and discovering new places using eyes & ears. They’ve always believed that the best way to explore a new city is by bike or on foot.

On Episode 11 of Tourpreneur, host Shane Whaley digs deep into the remarkable story of 2 friends who started their bike tours in Montreal and Buenos Aires. Strap yourself in as Fitz & Folwell’s Diego and Shea reveal more about:

  • how an Argentine and a Canadian decided to join forces to build Fitz & Folwell bike tours of Montreal.
  • why Shea wanted to start a bike tour business.
  • how Diego built BA Bikes Tours in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • how did Shea and Diego meet?
  • what Diego did with his BA bike tours company on moving to Montreal to work with Shea at Fitz & Follwell.
  • Diego reveals that Sir Paul McCartney took one of his BA bikes tours in Argentina.
  • Shane is curious how an A-lister, global icon such as Paul McCartney books a bike tour. Diego tells all.
  • how they built the Fitz & Follwell bike tour business and what were the 3 vital keys for business growth.
  • how Fitz & Follwell bike tours have evolved over the last 5 years.
  • how streamlining their tours lead to even more bookings.
  • how cutting some of their tours led to even more business.
  • how it was hard to let some tours go in order to streamline their tour business.
  • How they cut revenue by 30% but increased profitability by 100%.
  • why are Fitz & Follwell bike tours different from other bike tours they have experienced.
  • how they are dealing with the Montreal law that requires tour guides go through 8 months of training to become accredited.
  • how they attract locals to book their bike tours and not just tourists.
  • how they first got the word out about their tours.
  • why Search Engine Optimization was so important at the start.
  • where the name Fitz & Follwell comes from.
  • why and how they are expanding to other cities.
  • how they attract 50% direct bookings.
  • how they work with OTAs.
  • why working with Airbnb Experiences has created a lot of work because Airbnb does not offer API connectivity.
  • why they decided to work with Eztix as their booking reservation partner.
  • how their website is built on EzSites technology.
  • how they use social media to promote their tours.
  • why they employed a team member to work on their social media rather than work with an external social media agency.
  • why and how they created a video to promote Fitz and Folwell.
  • what books they recommended for other tour operators.

Resources and websites mentioned on Episode 11 of the Tourpreneur Podcast with Fitz & Follwell.

The Tourpreneur Daily Brief – never miss out on the tours, activities and experience companies who are making the news. Daily free email from the host of the Tourpreneur Podcast Shane Whaley.