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.
- Fitz & Follwell Montreal Tours
- Fitz & Follwell Toronto Bike Tours
- Fitz & Follwell Quebec Bike Tours
- eztix – booking platform for tours and activities.
- ezsites – websites for tour operators.
Recommended Books for Tour Operators – Shea and Diego’s picks.
The 4 hour workweek by Tim Ferris
Think Like a Freak
Heart, Smart, Guts and Luck – Tjan and Harrington.