Ep. 216 — Tipping, Tiktok and Evolving Your Business

Talking to tour operator John O’Sullivan is always a breath of fresh air; he likes to think deeply about the tour industry, and experiment with new ideas that often challenge the tour operator orthodoxy.

John runs Depot Adventures in Melbourne, Australia and Minneapolis, Minnesota, as well as a new TikTok-based venture, One Minute Tours.

John’s first Tourpreneur podcast was recorded with Shane back in 2019, where he shared his thoughts about the economics of the “free tour” model. It’s still a worthy listen. Now he’s back with a new venture, new locations for his old company. We cover a wide variety of topics:

  • how to structure and develop a tour in a new destination
  • thinking about tour content in the age of Wikipedia
  • developing a business across two extremely different locations
  • does developing a global brand bring benefits?
  • entering a midmarket destination: how to sell? how to price?
  • hiring and retaining guides as employees
  • John’s experiment with tip pooling, and being transparent about his experiment with his guide community
  • his accidental virality on TikTok, and how it’s changing the direction of his business

As always, bonus material and more can be found on Tourpreneur.com/plus