Seeking Advice, and I'm sure I'll get it!! - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 12 Old Sep 8th, 2006, 7:11 am Thread Starter
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BAVARIAN TOURS!! Seeking Advice, and I'm sure I'll get it!!

OK fellow riders,
Give me some imput!! And dont be afraid to kick me in the crotch!!

Here is the deal, I am trying to decide (with two other fellow Army retirees and riders) the feasibility of starting a touring company here in Bavaria. Now I know that there are all the big touring companies out there, but quite frankly, I never felt the need to spend that kind of money to go riding. What me and my two buddies are rolling around in the back of our heads is:

It would be based here in Northern Bavaria, 1 hour from Nuremberg, 2 from Munich, and 4 from Frankfurt(this is the Airport issue). Transportation to our location is not that expensive and would be included in the cost of the package(in a tiered format, recommending you fly into Nuremberg first choice).

We would have 6 used bikes all in good condition, under 4 years old with records etc.(for reliability purposes), all would have ADAC coverage(similar to AAA on steroids, you that have been here know ADAC blows AAA away) to ensure if there where any issues; no problem you would be covered and not be stranded. Fleet would consist of:

2 LT's -mine

2 GS's- my buddy

2 Tourglides- my buddy(gotta be diverse fellas and cater to the hog crowd)

and if we can convince our other nervous fellow retiree, 2 RT's or maybe 2 GT's

All bikes maintained at same facility

We would basically charge a daily rental fee, tiered as to how long, how far etc.(longer the rental, prices drop). We would have some equipment(Rain suits, vests) available but having talked to other riders most agree, anyone coming over to do this would probably want to bring their own gear.

We would provide all the routes you could want, lists of restaurants, guest houses/hotels, tourist sights tailored to where you want to go. We could make all arrangements for you; ie you follow a set route and times, or you could be free to go and do what you want and pick your places to stay on your own at not be under the time/gotta be there issue(which I always hate anyway). We would have War related routes, historical routes, pretty routes, shopping routes, on and on whatever you tell us you want to do, we would be willing to work at making it a great trip. We have all the recommendations to make it a safe, affordable, fun trip.

However, it would be a self guided tour, but with all the planning assistance you could ever want. We would provide cell phones, gps, maps, travel guides etc. to ensure it goes smoothly. (of course, as we all like to ride, we might be coaxed into doing a shorter route the first day you are here, since you will be exhausted, and if you havent ridden or traveled here yet, maybe a little nervous). We can even work it in(recommended) that you could stay down the street from us first couple of days in the guest house(great bier und swine medallions covered in brie, apples, und sauce!!) just to acclimatize and get your german legs under you.

We are working on a rock solid contract that works here in Germany(and other countries), and protects us and the renter equally. We would offer insurance on the bikes, medical insurance, etc. We want to keep this at a working mans price, but of course be a viable company(ie makes at least some money!!) As I was never able to afford one of those big boy tours myself, I think this would work, and I have had alot of interest here from the military community and from my contact at MWR(the military recreation office). Of course my goal would be to get riders from the states coming over.

The 3(maybe 4) of us are all retired military, and want this to be a common sense, customer service oriented business.

Alright, let me have it with both barrels!!

Jack Salyer


Last edited by jacksalyer; Sep 8th, 2006 at 7:17 am. Reason: Flashier Title!!
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post #2 of 12 Old Sep 8th, 2006, 7:27 am
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Sounds exciting, and I would love to be a customer.

Riding through Bavaria on an LT sounds like a GREAT vacation.

Checking out the Autobahn wouldn't break my heart either!!!

'06 K1200LT Ocean Blue Metallic
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post #3 of 12 Old Sep 8th, 2006, 7:54 am
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Sounds like fun.

Make sure you include a crash course on what all those German road signs mean. They are pretty straight forward but it is like playing one of those picture games and you need to figure out what some of them mean before you end up with a ticket.

Kevin

1999 K1200LT, patiently waiting for a new model.
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post #4 of 12 Old Sep 8th, 2006, 8:56 am Thread Starter
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Bavarian tours

Yeah,
We would have a whole package of stuff like that, links to website, packing lists, recommendations on travel, stuff to see etc. We want our experience here to make anyones tour here to be as hassle free as possible!!
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post #5 of 12 Old Sep 8th, 2006, 9:03 am
 
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Oddly enough my spouse and I were discussing our next big bike trip and thought Europe would be fun. When we researched renting vereus shipping we discovered that shipping was a few hundred dollars cheaper than renting ( we are talking about to-14 days rental) but the resason we decided to rent is not having to deal with the hassles of a breakdown. How are you planning on addressing this issue?
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post #6 of 12 Old Sep 8th, 2006, 9:13 am Thread Starter
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breakdown

well richard,
ADAC is AAA here. It is AAA on steroids, they offer on the road repairs, pickup and transport etc. We think this would keep you from being stuck for more than 1 hour(say on autobahn). We would provide cell phone to call us and ADAC. We would then make arrangements for you to go pickup a rental car(if far away) or we would come pick you up. We would either put you on spare bike, or look at other options. thanks for the tip. This is the kind of stuff we want to address before offering a trip. Since we are all prior military, we are real big into the planning cycle and contingency operations!!(the 5 P's in the military-Piss Poor Planning leads to Poor Performance) etc.
We would probably offer a couple of tours at really reduced rate as trial/guinnie pig(like you pay for ticket over, rooms and ride bikes for free around our routes) so if your feeling froggy.....
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post #7 of 12 Old Sep 8th, 2006, 9:47 am
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Jack, I lived south of Frankfurt for 6 years and did extensive riding in Europe. I also attended the Krauser rally for 13 years, begging, borrowing and renting bikes when mine wasn't in country. A while back I thought of the same thing as you although mine would be guided tours with me as the guide. Other opportunities presented themselves so I didn't do it. I would recommend, if you haven't already, talk to a German business lawyer to find out the in's and out's of running a business not owned by a German national. I tried to by a house over there and was told nein, had to be German national. Also look carefully into the insurance. Are you currently running US (ie USAA) insurance on the bikes or locally purchased and what happens to those rates when they find out you are renting the bikes out? Those things aside, it's a great idea and I would be a customer. Good luck and keep us posted as to your progress and have a bier for me.

Tim Frederick
Woodbury, MN
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post #8 of 12 Old Sep 8th, 2006, 11:40 am
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Thumbs up Germany

My wife and I did a vacation in Germany this summer!

Where were you????? LOL

This sounds like fun. Keep us posted!

Later

Stevea2980
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post #9 of 12 Old Sep 8th, 2006, 1:19 pm
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I Like It!

I searched for something similar a while back when I traveled to Belgium on business. I just wanted to rent a bike and take a week to do some sightseeing in Belgium or Germany. I don't speak French, Flemish or German so I gave up on the idea when none of my communications were answered and my attempts to gather information by telephone proved fruitless.

I did find expensive group tours, but nothing that I could work into my trip. If you end up putting this together, please let me know.

Good luck!

Dan

Reelman
2006 K1200R (sun yellow) sold
2003 K1200LT (anthracite) sold
CCR's:
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2007 Osage Beach, MO
2008 Midway, UT
2009 Rapid City, SD
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post #10 of 12 Old Sep 8th, 2006, 4:42 pm
 
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i have toyed with the idea here in california. the one thing that stopped me cold in my tracks is fear of legal action, should a rider get injured while on one of your tours. that's life here in the good ol' USA ... where tort reform is long overdue.

don't know what the legal climate is like en deutschland.

the only other obstacle i can think of is competition. there are a number of good tour companies currently operating in europe. edelweiss being among the most prominent.

good luck ...
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post #11 of 12 Old Sep 8th, 2006, 8:51 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksalyer
OK fellow riders,
Give me some imput!! And dont be afraid to kick me in the crotch!! .....
It "may" be a great idea, but you may want to consider some possible "issues". Disregarding the potentially serious legal and insurance issues, I do have some thoughts for you.

1. Some riders may prefer to "do their own thing", but others may feel hampered by potential language barrier issues. A "guide - translator" makes sense for these people. Not offering one narrows you potential customer base.

2. You're talking about three to four principals (owners). Once you get up to speed, you will likely have enough work for that many. Checking bikes in, detailing them for the next rider, wrenching for minor repairs and routine maintenance, advertising, customer service, guiding, etc could easily keep that many or more busy. HOWEVER, I don't think you have enough bikes to bring in enough income to support that many investors. Think about ten times as many rental units, minimum. Perhaps you might want to offer some economy bikes as well, such as Suzuki DL650, BMW F800ST, BMW F650GS, or some such (cheaper for you to buy and cheaper for customers to rent, if they aren't willing to pay the extra for the big bikes).

3. This could be a somewhat risky business, and will have a lot of potential overhead. I'd look at the rates the major tour groups charge, and see what costs they incur compared to what they charge, and figure yours accordingly. Thinking cheap will just get you broke. I know that's not what you said, but it takes a lot of money and work to make a business grow.

4. This business would be somewhat seasonal. What is your plan for keeping the principals paid during the winter? (Another reason that rates can't be too low)

5. Advertising will be a MUST to keep enough customers coming to make it profitable. Advertising can be REALLY expensive! Plan for it, which again affects rates.

Anyway, maybe just drivel, but food for thought. Good luck

Ruben

2012 K1600 GTL
2007 R1200GS Adventure
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post #12 of 12 Old Sep 8th, 2006, 10:14 pm
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I like the idea. With a good legal advisor helping you it seems to have potential. I personally like to wander on my own but the suggestion to have guides available migiht be a nice idea. Understandably, the cost of a personal guide could be cost prohibitive without forming small groups. Good tour info with a list of language friendly hotels, restaurants, and places of interest would probably satisfy me.
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