On Advocacy and Profit Matters in Running an Online Travel Shop

Weeks ago I was way, way over the moon when one of the leading daily deal sites in the country approached me for tour partnership. It is about providing Manila City Tours particularly to Intramuros and Binondo. Now why me and my online travel shop? Every one knows that there is only one person known doing heritage tours in Intramuros. Same in Binondo for food tours. I don't want to drop names but they are Manila's celebrated tour guides. They were able to combine their advocacy and entrepreneurial skills just enough to make a living out of what they love doing the most.  And I admire them for that.
They are the first and only option to rich, celebrities and foreigners who want to go on a tour to these places. Since their names are already well - established, their rates however are higher than usual.   How about those who want to go on the same tour but cannot afford their rates? This is where our partnership gonna come in. We will offer the most affordable rate to allow more people to learn about Manila's two of the most historic places. The deal site will provide people whom we will tour around. I am also equally lucky to have met a fellow heritage buff who has been conducting FREE tours for almost 10 years he said because of advocacy.  It took me just days of Facebook chatting to convince him that it is time for him to start earning. 

The next thing I knew, a business meetup happened: me, the tour guide, the Marketing Consultant and the Travel Director of the deal site. Everything sounded so great. We were told we will be paid every after 15 days. We have doubts but we agreed somehow.  We will start the Binondo thing. The very next day, I and the tour guide went to the place for ocular inspection.  We went to different restaurants which we want to eat during the tour.  NONE of them willing to give even the slightest discount. After a half day of walking, we started doing the computation.  

For one person, we need at least P600 each for museum/temple entrance fees and food. We have not even added our talent fees here yet.  Now if there is a group of 10 joining the tour, we need P6, 000. If it is for 15 pax, it is P9,000. If it is for 12 pax, it is P12,000.  The maximum planned number of persons is 30 which means P18, 000. Again take note we will be paid after 15 days.  Meaning we need to SHELL OUT FIRST these amounts.  The tour guide wants to add more decades - old restaurants for a more "historical dining experience" so this will add up another P500 - 1, 000 to the rate. I have nothing against the idea but the tour we are organizing is not anymore an advocacy - driven kind, this is a commercial type. These people joining the tour most probably are not heritage buffs, they are ordinary people who just want to fill a quarter of their curiosity of Binondo. They don't need to get an extensive lecture of this place. I think what we only need to make sure is they have to go home stomach full because this is a food tour.

I appreciated the efforts of this deal site who kept calling and emailing me after the meetup. They seemed so serious. We are in our part can't wait to start this. Until as day goes by, I found out that this will eat a big chunk of my time as I need to be physically present at the tour with the tour guide.  UNLESS I get a paid assistant. I also have a lot of online engagements I cannot risk right now as this will mean a lot to me. So rather than keep them waiting for nothing, I sent them an email with a heavy heart saying I just can't do this at this time.

Moving forward, we will still do tours for Binondo and Intramuros with the same tour guide SOON on our own efforts this time. I just need to fix my schedule. I think the time has come for me to seriously look for team members or co - founders who can really take part of the tasks I am doing. I also need mentors who can help me how to run this better. I am also very, very open for any financial funding or investors who are willing to assist us. I am dreaming of putting up a startup out of this online travel shop. 

To my readers if you know anyone or you believe you can be of help in any way,  you are welcome :)



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