What makes a successful pedicab or rickshaw tour?

I believe that if you can answer yes to each of the following questions after the tour, then it was a success:

  1. Would the tour guests be excited to recommend the tour to others?
  2. Did you make a lasting, positive impression that guests will remember for a long time?
  3. Did you fulfill your promise? By that I mean: Did you meet and even exceed the expectations you set in your tour description or wherever your guests first learned about the tour?

The place to start is knowing that the tour experience does not start and finish while the tour guests are actually riding in your pedicab or rickshaw.

The experience begins when they first learn about your tour, and continues all the way through the process of booking and paying for the tour, to being picked up and the first time you meet them, to riding along as a passenger, to being dropped off and finishing the tour, to leaving a review for you and recommending you to others.

So what do you need to do so that your answer is an absolute “Yes!” to each of the above 3 questions?

Here they are – the 8 Steps to Completing a Successful Pedicab or Rickshaw Tour:

1. Make it easy for potential customers to find you and book your tour

  • Make sure you have your business listed online so potential tour passengers can find you. There are lots of choices but I would start with the following three places to list your tour offerings. For the first two, remember to search these sites to see if your business is already listed, and if so, you should claim your listing – if you are not already listed, proceed with creating a new listing:
  • Your own web site – you should have your own site for potential customers to refer to in order to learn about you so that you can build their trust in order to help them decide to book a tour with you. You don’t have to over-complicate this – your web site could be simply a page with a brief listing of the services you offer and your contact information, or a link to where customers can contact you (for example if you have a Facebook or Twitter account that you use frequently).

2. Provide online booking and payment options

  • This can take a ton of time to set up and get the hang of managing, so I would recommend waiting until your off-season or slow season when you will have the time and mental energy to focus on creating online booking options for your tours

3. Provide truthful, well researched information during the tour

  • Your passengers need to trust that you are a reliable source so that they can share what they have learned with others
  • This is an important part of exceeding your customers’ expectations

4. Use humor to entertain your passengers!

  • You can have a tour that looks pretty boring on paper or computer screen, and turn it into an unforgettable experience that your passengers rave about, just by making them laugh out loud
  • Think about the best tours you’ve ever taken – were they memorable just because of the sites you saw, or more because your tour guide was awesome?

5. Communication is key

  • Your tour passengers need to be absolutely certain about what to expect as far as where to meet you to begin the tour, the cost and whether that is per pedicab / rickshaw or per passenger, what happens if it rains, what they should wear, your refund policy, etc
  • So make sure you communicate all of this information to them early and often, and that they know how to reach you before the tour
  • Make a list of how you can clearly set expectations for customers, and integrate this list into your process (from the online listing, to an intro you give guests as soon as you meet them, to the good-bye at the end of the tour)
  • Follow up with your tour passengers a few days after the tour with a personal note and ask for any feedback they would be willing to provide

6. Make it personal

  • At the start of the tour, share some personal information about yourself with your passengers – maybe mix some info on why you are a trustworthy source in with an embarrassing, funny store about yourself
    • This will loosen up your passengers and help them have more fun
    • The passengers will be more likely to allow you to get to know them better if they have seen you be honest and vulnerable, and if they are having fun
  • Learn about your passengers, without being intrusive
    • Ask their names and write them down on a 3×5 card that you can refer to throughout the tour and address your passengers by name – among other motivations for doing this, I can promise you it will lead to bigger tips a the end of the tour.
    • Bonus tip – I had a habit of writing down every single person’s name that I met while pedicabbing. So the first time I met my wife, I wrote down her name. The second time I saw her, I easily remembered her name because I had written it down. The rest is history 
    • Find out where they are from, where they are going, what their interests are, and why they booked your tour
    • You probably have 2 to 4 passengers – that makes it easy to find a personal connection, then customize the tour to each of their interests
    • When you find out why they booked your tour, make sure you deliver on any expectations they have

7. Request referrals

  • Ask your guests to leave an honest review of you and your tour online (especially on TripAdvisor), and for them to refer you to others
  • Referrals are often the key to a successful business, and they are free!

8. Follow up after the tour

  • Within 1 hour of the tour ending, send a quick thank-you text message or email to the customer letting them know that you are grateful for them and mention something fun you will remember about them (and sign the message with your name and company name so they can easily find you online if they are compelled to write a review immediately)
  • Send the following email within a couple of days following the tour – or if the customers are traveling, send it when you know they have arrived back home:
    • “Hi Boris and Gertrude, thanks for taking the San Francisco coffee tour on my pedicab last Saturday! I really enjoyed meeting you and I hope your family enjoyed the coffee you bought during the tour to bring back home to them. If they love the coffee, please let me know and I can put you in touch with the coffee shop to order more.
    • I am always seeking to improve my tour and would greatly appreciate your help – could you please type a quick reply and let me know how I can improve by answering a couple questions?
    • Thank you, and if you have any friends planning a visit to San Francisco, please forward this email to them so they can get in touch with me for a tour or simply for a local’s recommendations on where to eat, stay, or things to do (my contact info is below)
    • I would also LOVE if you could take a minute to review the tour on TripAdvisor (here is the link: _______________).
    • Here are the questions:

    1. Did the tour meet, exceed, or fail to meet your expectations?
    2. What did you enjoy most about the tour?
    3. What did you dislike about the tour?
    4. What could I have done better?
    5. How was my communication throughout the process?
    6. Did you believe the price was fair for the tour? If not, what would be a fair price?

    • Thanks, and I hope we get to meet again some day!
    • Gratefully, your pedicab driver / tour guide, Joe”

Those are my tips, but what are yours?

Do you have any success stories or learning experiences to share as a pedicab or rickshaw tour guide, or as a passenger on a tour?

Please share them in the comments below, then share this post with a friend or community that you think could benefit from it.

If you want to launch or improve your tour offerings or need help completing any of the suggestions listed in this article, click here to join our online membership community and post your questions. We’ll help you take the next step toward growing your profitable and sustainable pedicab business.


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