Kaitlin Calogera is a trailblazer in tourism. In 2018, she founded A Tour of Her Own, the first tourism company in Washington, DC to focus exclusively on women’s history. However, that is not the only thing that makes this company so unique. Rather than just use a standard fee-based tour model, TOHO also puts on events and offers a membership program to their community. This helps to attract locals and generate reoccuring revenue — 2 things difficult to accomplish in the tourism world.
In this episode, we discuss how Kaitlin grew her business, why she opted to create a membership program, and how this business model works when applied to a tour company. She also opens up about the biggest challenges of working in tourism today and how she’s continued to scale her business with a team.
Finding a gap in the market
When Kaitlin set out to establish a new company, she immediately saw a gap in the market. While other businesses offered tours that included women’s history, none were focused solely on women’s history.
“There is a lack of women’s history and representation across the board there. The way that we differ is that it’s in our entire ecosystem. It is the sole focus of our work and our services and our offerings,” Kaitlin says. Thus, despite Washington DC being an incredibly competitive market for tourism businesses, A Tour of Her Own quickly garnered attention
Scaling her business with a team
Kaitlin attributes a lot of her business’s success to the growing team of guides that work for her. “I trust them an immense amount to deliver this content. And that allows me to do a lot more – creating strategic partnerships, doing more outreach, and other things that can really help us,” she says.
If one of her guides has an idea for a new tour, Kaitlin encourages them to research and design it. Then, depending on the tour’s popularity, other guides might eventually learn and lead it in the future. This allows the business to constantly offer new tours, which is essential to their membership business model.
Creating a membership program
Last year, TOHO launched their own membership community. For a fixed annual fee, members have access to 4 ‘events’ each month, which could include a walking tour, book signing, happy hour meet up, or other women-focused activities.
As the offerings are always different, the membership program attracts a lot of local people and organisations that are interested in learning about and supporting women’s history. Members also help to generate additional revenue by inviting friends to join them on tours.
More from this episode
Want to learn more about how Kaitlin manages her membership program? How does she research for new tours? What she believes to be the biggest challenge facing tour businesses (hint: it’s not Covid!). What Kaitlin predicts for the future of TOHO? Tune in to learn more from this inspirational entrepreneur!