Urban Adventures is part of the largest local-travel companies in the world, and is the coolest thing to hit the streets (literally) for tour guides & companies in recent years! We have set about to bring together the very best tour operators globally under the one united brand of Urban Adventures, with the aim to cater to a new style of experience for travellers who want to get off the beaten path and really connect with the destination. The types of tour experiences Urban Adventures offers can be as short as a couple of hours, or a whole day, but in every case Urban Adventures will take travellers to interesting places to meet locals and really see what makes them tick. No one else is currently doing this on a global scale. A joint venture, Urban Adventures unites Intrepid's trusted brand of 21 years, product development, marketing and distribution expertise with WHL Groupâ€™s technology, network and franchise experience. Having launched only recently in October 2009, our growth has been phenomenal with a network spanning 100 cities globally.
Most franchises seem to charge you upwards of $10,000, which always made me weary as to how long before Iâ€™d make this money back. With the low cost of Urban Adventures and the incredible value they bring with it, I could put this thought aside and just focus on running a great business. They really showed me the value of leveraging a franchise and a global network. Charles Berthault, Athens (Greece) www.athensurbanadventures.com
We encourage you to speak with some of our existing operators to find out what they think about Urban Adventures! “After coming across a few online franchise opportunities where you sit at home and type about your destination, I came across Urban Adventures and have never looked back since! It cost me less than the quote I received for building my own website, and it let me manage my whole business on top of this! Best of all, the system requires little maintenance so I get to get out and enjoy my destination every day! Can’t recommend it enough!!” Greg Mazzola, San Francisco (USA) www.sanfranciscourbanadventures.com
“The value behind the brand, distribution partners and global network alone is worth more than what I’ve paid in fees, let alone the comprehensive website & online business platform. The team are all just great and they’ve elevated my operation from a oneman show to a real business venture.” Jason Kucherawy, Toronto (Canada) www.torontourbanadventures.com
We are also happy to provide more contacts of existing operators.
Urban Adventures was launched in October 2009 as a joint venture between two well established travel groups- Intrepid Travel and WHL Group.
Intrepid Travel has been around for 21 years. For travellers with a yearning to get off the beaten track, Intrepid opens up a whole new world. With a huge variety of travel styles available, Intrepid travellers explore the world's most amazing places - discovering real people, real cultures and having incredible real life experiences along the way. Intrepid takes around 90,000 travellers to over 100 countries worldwide, each and every year, with 98% of our clients intending to travel with us again. To service such high numbers of satisfied clients, we employ over 1000 staff in our offices throughout the globe.
WHL Group is the largest local-travel network in the world. Originally started in 2002 as a pilot project of the IFC (World Bank Group), it was spun off as a private company in 2006 and has since grown into a franchise network of various award-winning travel companies present in more than 100 countries. All of WHL Group’s companies help travellers find unique ways to experience a destination through local tourism professionals. WHL Group companies empower local partners who have practice in experiential and mindful travel and a local's knack for identifying, explaining and sustaining the distinctive qualities of a place.
This opportunity is for tour guides or small day tour operators who have a passion for their destination. The value we add to your business is evident from the minute you join us. 1 You join a global network of fully vetted and accredited Urban Adventures (day) tour guides in 100+ cities globally, providing you with a great referral network and an international team to discuss your ideas and business with. We have regular gettogethers and actively promote inter-operator relationships with conferences, team buildings and regular meetings.
2 In addition to the network of tour guides, you also link in to the WHL Group of companies which include accommodation portals and airport / city transfers â€“ providing you with new partners both in your destination as well as in 300+ cities around the world that grows by 20 new locations each month.
3 The Urban Adventures brand. We are the first global brand offering day tours and our name recognition grows with each new city we add. Your local operation joins part of an international group that comes complete with an online center to supply you with everything from shop-front branding materials to business cards, t-shirts and water bottles.
4 Exclusivity for your destination. We will only select one operator for each destination, meaning that you never need to worry about internal competition (and it also means that you should hurry to get in your application before someone else gets your destination!).
5 Another website. You probably already have one for your existing tour activities, but setting up another website alongside can only be beneficial to generating you more clients. The Urban Adventures site is a fully featured eCommerce website with a complete booking administration system, online training center, intranet & content management system. Building the site with these features and this level of sophistication has taken us approximately 50,000 hours of IT development, which is made affordable to you as an individual operator by leveraging off of the collective purchasing power of the franchise group.
News Article Quotes 6 In addition to the brand elements, and website, a strong marketing tool comes via a link in to the Urban Adventures distribution platform, which has reputable partners like Expedia, Creative Holidays, Flight Center & STA as well as 10,000 affiliate travel agencies globally. Some of our best tours have been listed globally via this distribution platform and subsequently received great bookings! Our partner list grows weekly.
MSNBC “you get more insight and insider tips... led by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic local guide”
Townsville Bulletin expedia.com
“I had been to Bangkok probably 20 times yet I had never seen this. It turned out to be a fascinating adventure”.
7 To ensure that every Urban Adventures operator offers a product at an equally high level, we provide you with full and comprehensive training, and access to our online center to refresh yourself whenever needed. We also have a team which is dedicated to working with you on your product development and who will walk you through our proprietary tour development system to ensure that every tour truly is an authentic Urban Adventures experience! Each operator also has a dedicated account manager for ongoing support once their destination is launched.
8 You get complete IT support, through our team of 30+ developers, SEO & optimization experts and support personnel dedicated to ensuring we remain on the forefront of all internet technologies. Upgrades are made to the system on a daily basis, with completely new-built platforms launched every 1-2 years. Again, you get the benefit of leveraging our franchise network as there is no extra cost to you for this.
9 Finally, you have the option to expand your service offerings with complementary business lines like an accommodation portal, airport transfers website, or one of the many travel franchises offered by WHL Group. Being an Urban Adventures operator, you get to add these lines (which use the same booking administration system so nothing new to learn!) for only $500 each.
GetAway (TV Show on NineMSN) “This trip we dug deeper to find out what makes this city so great. We got under all the iconic sites.”
We are the first company in the world to develop a system which brings together bookable tour product under one brand in hundreds of cities globally (and in such a short time!), and our success has been based around these principles. Here are a few of the key points why both travelers and distribution partners are so keen on Urban Adventures:
1 Unique itineraries. This is a lot more involved than it sounds and we are drawing upon Intrepid's 21 years of market leading experience in this field (and with a 93% satisfaction rating, and 98% intending to repeat their Intrepid experience- we are confident of our abilities here) to ensure our itineraries are both unique and highly enjoyable for our travellers.
2 For our travellers, we offer one point of payment for cool tours in any destination they are visiting (no need to search in every city). For our distributors, we offer one contract point for global product (and one point for invoicing)- they can suddenly distribute tours in hundreds of destinations with one agreement.
3 Our retail prices are shown, and for each tour they are the same globally. Whether you book on our global site or the local destination site, the price will be the same.
4 Competitive join in pricing. As a group tour offering there is just one price for everyone (per person rate) ensuring a competitive price in the marketplace
5 Technology solutions for live content available. 6 Freesale availability (instant confirmation on bookings) up until 48 hours prior to departure (and less for local sales). This makes the product very popular with travellers and travel agents alike as they can book and the tour is immediately confirmed, with having to wait around for a confirmation. Book, pay and receive a voucher all in one process.
7 There are more cities and cooler experiences added every month!
â€œUrban Adventures unlock the hidden secrets in and around some of our favourite cities. They range from 2 hour to 1 day adventures and uncover back streets, hidden gems and fascinating sights. While these adventures may be short, they're big on real life experiences.â€?
1 Guaranteed departures (if at least 1 person booked) 2 No minimum passenger number per booking Yes- we realise this might be a hurdle for you, however all our operators have quickly come to understand the massive competitive edge this gives us in generating bookings and working with our large distribution partners (which is one of the key reasons why we are often the only tour product on our partners' sites!). We are truly unique in what we offer.
We welcome you to try an Urban Adventures tour (for free) when you're next visiting one of the 100+ cities in which we're present. Just let us know where you'll be travelling to & we'll make all the arrangements for you. Alternatively, click on the following link to register as a 'Tester' to try out some of our new tours: http://www.urbanadventures.com/become_tester
As we mentioned, no technical expertise is required as we provide full and comprehensive training in our system. However, we are looking to build a global brand which represents the very best of tour operators globally and as such, we have established minimum requirements that must be fulfilled in order for consideration to become our Urban Adventures operator:
1 A passion for your destination. And we don't just mean that you think your city is nice. We want people who really know their town inside & out, who can get under the skin and show our travelers an experience that they will be sure to remember.
2 Share our commitment to responsible tourism and dedication to supporting local communities (something which we integrate in to every one of our tours).
3 Have any required accreditation and insurance in order to allow you to operate legally as a tour guide or company in your destination. This is something that we will require proof of with your application. We also need you to be able to speak English, which - if you've read this far - you've passed.
4 A willingness to engage and market your Urban Adventures tours locally.
5 That you have fun & enjoy what you do. We're in this for the long run and need to know that you are as well. Keep in mind that each operator is essentially a brand ambassador for every other Urban Adventures operator in the world, so we need to make sure that you're one of the best!
1 Quick set-up of the website. Our typical turnaround from contract signing to launch of the portal is 28 days, but the time to launch really depends on your dedication to get it live. You need to dedicate about 24 hours to complete the basics needed to launch (ie. minimum 2 tours developed) & our fastest operator managed to get their site live within 21 days.
2 Low maintenance requirements allow you to spend more time out & about in your city rather than sitting in front of a computer. Typically you would need to dedicate at least 10-20 hours per month on dealing with enquiries and developing new tours with our team.
3 Continuous growth in bookings. This is the result of both an increase in web presence as our network grows (ie. the more destinations we list, the higher our web traffic becomes), combined with a monthly increase in new distributors (we have a team who works only on signing up new distributors) The graph following shows a typical progression in bookings for the first 6 months and projections for 12m and 24m. You'll note that our very first operator (in Vietnam) has already surpassed all expectations!
Average revenues (p/m)
Even if you love what you do, we realize that, at the end of the day, you are running a business and that businesses run on money. This also translates into time. With this in mind, we've built Urban Adventures around small business operators as follows:
With each of our operators being based in different destinations (with different cost bases), it is difficult for us to provide you with an exact Return on Investment (ROI) calculation. However, to help- we've developed both a calculator as well as the actual results of our top (and first!) operator in Vietnam as follows:
$12,000.00 $10,000.00 $8,000,00 $6,000.00 $4,000.00 $2,000.00 $-
Months of operation
NOTES TO CHART: Our first operator, based in Vietnam, was a test case and was operating before our Urban Adventures website even went live in October 2009 (they started in July 2008 and experienced a 74% increase in sales 30 days after the UA site launched!).It should also be noted that seasonality will largely impact the revenues generated in the first 6 months, which this chart does not account for. The 'Average Revenues' are forecasts only based on trends developed from current operations (ie. is not hard data as we only launched in October 2009).
From this chart you can see that our average operator typically only starts breaking even on operations 12 months from launch (based on a fixed monthly operating cost of around $2,000 USD, which increases incrementally thereafter). Keep in mind that if you are already running day tours, you can often utilize your existing guides and subsequently would have no additional monthly costs- essentially meaning that you are earning additional revenues right from the launch of your site!
Not as much as you would think. Our connections with various tourism development funds allows us to offer a subsidized pricing structure which is up to 90% cheaper than other websites, but with more features, a bigger network, and a much more reputable brand.
1. SET-UP COSTS The franchise license fee is a one off fee- meaning you hold the franchise for life (unless you want to cancel of course). Licensing fees & set-up costs are broken down in to different tiers according to the type and size of the destination. Example tiers and costs are as follows:
Paris, London, New York, Sydney, Prague
Napoli, Bordoux, Cesky Krumlov
Cordoba, Gdansk, Linz, Graz
For the next 100 sites we are offering a subsidy of $9,000 in order to build traction/brand as quickly as possible. In addition, a $4,000 subsidy is offered to encourage a focus on responsible tourism. The calculation on a Tier 1 site would thus be as follows: Destination franchise price (Tier 1)
Subsidy (first 100 sites)
- $ 9,000
Responsible tourism focus*
- $ 4,000
* During the interview process, the prospective operator will be required to demonstrate local participation in responsible tourism or community initiatives.
Obviously, destinations from lower tiers will have a lower total cost. Contact us to find out which tier your destination falls under.
2. ON-GOING COSTS We have an annual fee of $100 per tour which you have loaded (minimum is 2), as well as an additional $1-2 fee per person booked (depending on the price of the tour). These fees cover your web hosting, website upgrades and IT development costs. We keep our fees minimal to keep you in business!
First off, we need to re-stress that this opportunity is limited to one operator per destination, and that we are seeking the very best operators in each city to work with. This means that we go through an interview process with every single applicant as we believe it to be very important in ensuring the quality of our operators. The process is as follows:
1 Complete an application form by visiting : http://www.urbanadventures.com/apply.
2 We'll review your application & if we believe it's a match- set up an interview (and if not, we'll let you know why not).
3 Have a chat over the phone (or Skype) to get to know each other and ensure it's a fit.
Designed by: Tenny Adamian, email@example.com
4 Review the fun stuff- contracts & legalities.
So what are you waiting for? Why not join our family and leverage what we've built!
Q. Can I have the website in different languages? Yes. Our multi-lingual portals will be available in 2011, and can be added for an additional cost of $500 per language (estimate). The English language will remain the core product offering (& will be offered by everyone around the globe). Q. Can I place advertisers on my website? Not at this stage. We are looking at this option, but want to first focus on building both our tour guide network and the Urban Adventures brand. Once we have the international coverage, then we may look to introduce this. Q. Who pays the credit card commission? We have established a payment gateway established with Paypal offering both Paypal and credit card payments. If the booking comes through us, we will cover the fees. If it is a card booking through your site, we have a fixed charge of 5% in place. Q. Can I purchase more than one destination franchise? In short, yes. It is a requirement that you have an operation in the other destination which you would like to purchase, or alternatively for lower tiered destinations to be able to show that you can service this destination from your location as well. On this note, we highly appreciate any recommendations on other tour guides which you may have worked with in other destinations. Q. I know this is an online company, but I donâ€™t know much about web marketing or social media â€“ will this be a problem? We offer manuals and technical expertise in both these areas in order for you to learn how to do both of these yourself. Or alternatively, if youâ€™d rather focus on other aspects of your business, you can outsource these jobs to our sister company, Your Advantage Plus, who offer exclusive services to WHL Group partners. Their brochure of services can be provided on request.