How to master Tour Management

Managing a tour is an art form that demands a unique blend of logistical prowess, interpersonal skills, and quick-witted problem-solving . It’s not just about getting from point A to point B; tour management is the art of crafting unforgettable experiences while ensuring that every aspect of the tour runs like clockwork.

Introduction to Tour Management

At its core, tour management is about meticulous planning and flawless execution. Whether you are guiding a rock band through a multi-city concert series, leading a group on an exotic adventure, or conducting an educational field trip, your primary objective is to ensure everyone involved has a safe, enjoyable, and seamless experience.

This guide is designed to transform your approach to tour management. From planning to execution, you’ll learn how to navigate the challenges that come with managing people, time, and resources on the road.

1. Understanding the Fundamentals

Let’s start with understanding the role of a tour manager. This position involves acting as a point person for all matters concerning the tour. From budgeting and scheduling to conflict resolution and customer satisfaction, a tour manager wears many hats.

To master tour management, you must develop a varied skill set. This includes logistical planning, financial management, personnel management, negotiation skills, multitasking, and adaptability.

2. Pre-Tour Planning

Your tour’s success greatly depends on a well-planned itinerary. Research your destinations, define routes, book accommodations, and plan activities while considering time zones, travel times, and potential delays.

Imagine planning a music tour. You’d need to coordinate venue bookings, accommodation near the venues, and ensure travel time allows for rest and rehearsals.

A solid financial plan is critical. This includes preparing the budget, managing cash flow, and keeping detailed records. An understanding of foreign exchange rates and taxes can also be beneficial for international tours.

3. Logistical Coordination

Transportation is the lifeline of any tour. Ensure that you have reliable transportation arranged, whether it’s a tour bus, van, plane tickets, or car rentals. Be prepared for last-minute changes.

For an adventure tour group, having a Plan B in terms of transportation, like an additional van on standby, can save you from last-minute stress if there’s a breakdown or accident.

Quality rest is crucial. Secure accommodations that are comfortable, safe, and within the budget. Consider proximity to venues or attractions and look into options like hotels, motels, Airbnb, or even hostels for budget tours.

4. Managing People

If you’re on a music tour, you’ll be managing the band, the tech crew, and possibly a support staff. Their needs vary from schedules to personal necessities. Excellent communication and organization skills are vital here.

You may also be responsible for the well-being of clients, such as a speaker or artist. This means catering to their needs, personal requests, and ensuring their comfort and readiness for performance.

5. During the Tour

As the tour unfolds, it’s your job to see the itinerary is followed closely. Keep all parties informed of schedules and any changes. Regularly check in with service providers to ensure all arrangements are in place.

When problems arise, staying calm and collected is essential. Develop a proactive approach to foreseeing potential issues and have contingency plans ready.

Perhaps a historical tour encounters an unexpected site closure. A tour manager with foresight might have a secondary list of sites to visit or activities that ensure the tour experience remains enriched and uninterrupted.

6. Enhancing the Experience

Being culturally aware can profoundly impact the tour’s success, especially when traveling to foreign countries. Research customs and educate your group to avoid offenses.

Going the extra mile could mean arranging special backstage passes for a group at a concert or ensuring there’s always bottled water available on a hot day. These touches can make a significant difference in client satisfaction.

7. Technology in Tour Management

Leverage technology to streamline tasks. Use apps for scheduling, accounting software for budget management, and social media for marketing and engagement.

8. Post-Tour Activities

After the tour, collect feedback from participants and staff. Reflect on what went well and areas for improvement.

A thorough financial review ensures you’re on top of expenses versus budget and helps with planning future tours more accurately.

9. Staying Ahead of the Curve

The tour industry evolves, and so should you. Stay updated with trends, attend workshops, and build a network with other professionals.

The demands of tour management can be taxing on your health. Managing stress and maintaining your well-being is just as much a part of mastering tour management as the logistical aspects.

Mastering tour management takes time, dedication, and real-world experience. It’s a balancing act of planning, people management, and adaptation. By following the comprehensive steps outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an artist in the realm of tour management, orchestrating experiences that resonate long after the journey’s end and ensuring a standing ovation for your meticulous behind-the-scenes symphony.

It’s your turn to lead the way, ensuring every tour is an ovation-worthy performance. With each successful tour, you don’t just travel from place to place; you craft unforgettable stories and experiences that resonate with every participant’s heart for years to come.

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Tour Management: A Guide for Independent Artists to Plan and Execute Successful Tours

James Hanserton | December 22, 2023 December 25, 2023 | Music Business

As an independent artist, managing your own tour can feel like a daunting task. But don’t fret! I’m here to break down the basics of tour management, making your journey from the studio to the stage a smooth one.

In this article, we’ll dive into the nitty-gritty of planning and executing successful tours. From budgeting to booking venues, and even handling the unexpected hiccups that inevitably come up on the road, we’ve got you covered.

So, if you’re ready to take your music on the road and connect with fans in a whole new way, read on! This guide is packed with practical tips and insights that’ll help you master the art of tour management.

The Benefits of Touring for Independent Artists

As we delve deeper into the art of tour management, it’s crucial to highlight the core benefits that touring offers to independent artists. Understanding these advantages can inspire and prepare you for the challenging yet rewarding journey ahead.

Increased Exposure and Fan Engagement

The first and perhaps most obvious benefit is increased exposure . On a tour, you’re visiting numerous different cities, each with their own unique communities and music scenes. This means you’re not only reaching a wider audience but also tapping into diverse markets that might not have been accessible through online platforms alone.

Along with broadened exposure comes the opportunity for increased fan engagement . There’s power in the tactile, first-hand experiences that live performances offer. You’re not just a digital image on a screen, but a living, breathing artist expressing emotion, connecting to the audience in a visceral way. This real-life interaction can foster stronger connections between artists and fans, creating loyal fanbases that are vital for independent artists.

Revenue Generation

Financial stability can be a struggle for independent artists, and a well-orchestrated tour can provide a much-needed income stream. Earnings come from various avenues:

  • Ticket sales
  • Merchandise sales
  • Sponsorship or partnership deals

The key is that it’s a more direct way of revenue generation. When fans attend your concerts, they’re more likely to buy your merchandise. They’re investing in you, your music, and your journey, which can lead to more consistent revenue rather than something more sporadic like online streaming royalties.

Networking Opportunities

Finally, touring facilitates ripe networking opportunities. As you travel and perform, you’ll meet venue owners, promoters, other musicians, and even fans who work within your industry. These connections can prove invaluable for future collaborations, gig swappings, and overall industry recognition. Always remember: people are more likely to remember and recommend someone they’ve met and liked personally. Networking is much more than a business strategy, it’s about building relationships and community within the music industry.

This is why it’s important to have proper tour management. It enables you to focus on these benefits—increased exposure, revenue generation, networking—and not allow the daunting aspects of tours to overshadow these gains.

Pre-Planning: Setting Tour Goals and Objectives

Preparation is the key to a successful tour. As an independent artist, you’ve got the freedom to make your tour align with your unique objectives and goals. The early stages of planning are crucial. Don’t rush this part. Take your time to properly establish your tour’s direction.

Define Your Tour Objectives

The first step is to define your tour objectives. Ask yourself what you want to achieve with this tour. Three common objectives for most independent artists are revenue generation, fan engagement, and exposure. Knowing your objectives will guide you in making informed decisions as you plan your tour itinerary and set your performance dates.

Determine Your Target Audience and Market

Next, you’ll need to determine your target audience and market. Who listens to your music? Who’s going to come to your shows? Understanding your audience is crucial to maximize the impact of your performances and to select suitable tour locations. Additionally, it’ll help you plan your marketing strategy, ensuring you’ll reach the people most likely to attend your gigs.

Not sure who your audience is? Extract data from your social media platforms and streaming services. This can provide insights about your listeners’ demographics, geographic locations, and musical preferences.

Research Potential Tour Routes and Venues

Lastly, research potential tour routes and venues. This step will depend largely on your objectives, target audience, and of course, your budget. Look for venues that cater is to your genre of music and are located in areas where you have a strong fan base.

Consider teaming up with local bands or artists who share a similar style. This synergy can increase your fan base and it often leads to exciting cross-promotion opportunities. Use digital platforms like Google Maps to visualize your tour route and to assess the distance between venues. This can help you to minimize travel costs and maximize your exposure.

Creating a Tour Budget

Crafting an accurate and practical tour budget is a must for all independent artists. Irrespective of your tour size and scope, understanding your expected costs and potential income plays a crucial role in your tour’s success. A well-planned budget provides the financial blueprint to accomplish your goals without incurring debt. Navigating financial elements may feel overwhelming given all the variables, but breaking it down into manageable categories can simplify the task.

Estimate Your Expenses

Your first task is to estimate your expenses. Costs can be wide-ranging and might differ significantly depending on tour specifics. Essential expenses include:

  • Travel: fuel, flights, accommodation, and meals
  • Venue fees: renting, sound, and light equipment
  • Marketing: posters, online ads, and promotions
  • Miscellaneous: emergency funds for surprises on the road

Be realistic and add buffers where necessary. Expect the unexpected and remember that costs can exceed initial estimates.

Accurate expense estimation also requires prior research about potential tour routes and venues, which you can accomplish through online resources, networking with other musicians, or possibly teaming up with local bands to minimize costs.

Identify Potential Revenue Streams

Subsequent to estimating expenses, it’s time to identify the potential revenue streams you can tap into. Start by assessing your primary income source – ticket sales. Analyze past shows to predict possible earnings, asking questions like, “What was the average turnout?”, “What price did the audience seem comfortable paying?”.

Next, explore other revenue generators:

  • Merchandise: T-shirts, posters, vinyl, etc.
  • VIP upgrades: Meet and greets, backstage passes
  • Online platforms: Live streaming, crowdfunding

Remember, the goal is not just to cover your trip costs but also to generate significant revenue where you can engage more with your fans and increase your visibility.

Allocate Budget to Different Tour Costs

Lastly, divide your budget among the various tour costs . Try to keep expenses as low as possible while also boosting likely income sources. If you’ve been utilizing insight from social media channels and streaming platforms, you already have a pretty good idea not only of who your audience is but also what they might be willing to spend on extra experiences or merchandising. Use this data to prioritize your budget allocations, striking a balance between necessary costs and strategic investments.

Budgeting is not about restrictions, but about making informed decisions. With a detailed tour budget in place, you’ll be well equipped to make the most out of your tour, achieving your goals, and pushing your music career forward.

Booking Tour Dates and Venues

The next essential step in your tour management journey as an independent artist concerns booking your tour dates and venues. As an essential cog in the wheel of tour planning, effective venue booking ensures a well-organized tour that aligns with your pre-set tour objectives.

Reach Out to Booking Agents and Promoters

The initial process of venue booking involves establishing contact with potential booking agents, promoters, and venue managers. These stakeholders play pivotal roles in securing venues, dates, and drawing in the right crowd.

  • Establish relationships : It’s beneficial to foster relationships with agents and promoters that share your artistic vision and align with your tour goals.
  • Reputation checks : Don’t simply settle for the first agent or promoter you stumble upon; it’s vital to check their reputation, past gigs they’ve worked on, and connections in your target markets.
  • Personalize the approach : The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach doesn’t work here. When reaching out, make it personal. Show them you’ve done your research and how they tie into your tour objectives.

Submitting Your Tour Package

Once you’ve established contact with potential agents and promoters, you’ll need to submit a comprehensive tour package. This showcases what you bring to the table as an independent artist and includes:

  • EPK (Electronic Press Kit) : This digital portfolio should include your music tracks, high-quality photographs, previous press coverage or reviews, and a bio.
  • Marketing Materials : These show how you intend to promote your tour. It could include flyers, postcards, posters, and social media campaigns.
  • Technical Rider : This list presents what you’ll need technically. The list might include sound, lighting requirements, and stage layout.

Submitting a well-structured and comprehensive tour package can enhance your credibility and increase chances of securing your desired dates and venues.

Negotiating Contracts and Fees

After you’ve submitted your package, you’ll likely enter a negotiation phase. This critical juncture defines the terms of your tour including the fees, payment details, and other contract terms.

When negotiating:

  • Be realistic : Understand your worth but don’t overestimate it. It’s crucial to balance your aspirations with the realities of the market.
  • Think Holistically : Keep in mind that contract negotiations are not just about performance fees. Consider merchandising opportunities, catering, accommodation, and transportation provisions.
  • Legal Advice : Ensure you understand all the terms in the contract. A lawyer or experienced manager would be helpful here to prevent unfavorable terms slipping in.

Remember, effective negotiation forms the backbone of a successful tour . A mutual agreement that respects both parties’ interests will cultivate relationships that may pave the way for future gigs and collaborations. As an independent artist managing your tour, attention to these details can make or break the success of your endeavour.

Promoting Your Tour

When I’ve finally secured my tour dates and contracts, the work doesn’t stop there. Next, I need to create awareness about the tour. Promotion plays a significant role in tour management, ensuring that tickets are sold for each concert.

Utilizing Social Media and Online Platforms

Perhaps, traditional forms of marketing may not be as effective as they once were. As I deal with a digital world, I’ve found social media to be a greater ally in promoting my tours. My audience is more likely online than anywhere else. I use platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and even Pinterest to reach out to fans. I usually post about upcoming performances, backstage events, rehearsal snippets, and band member interviews to hype my shows.

Additionally, I’ve embraced the power of email marketing. It’s a more personal way of reaching out to my fans. At every show, I create a fan email list and distribute newsletters about my music, future tours, and behind-the-scenes snippets.

Engaging with Local Media and Press Outlets

But the digital world isn’t the only place to promote my tours. I’ve found local newspapers and radio stations valuable in engaging my potential audience. I contact these mediums ahead of time, offering exclusive interviews about my music and upcoming tour. They usually appreciate community-based stories. Aligning with a local cause on some concert stops maximizes media engagement, and it can create a deeper connection with my audience.

Collaborating with Other Artists and Influencers

Finally, there’s the power of collaboration. Not only has it propelled my music but it has also broadened my fan base. I reach out to fellow musicians for possible partnerships – be it on-stage appearances or musical collaborations. I also identify social media influencers who resonate with my music and fan base. Their engagement with my tour amplifies its visibility.

Whether it’s engaging on social media, leveraging local press, or collaborating with other artists, each angle provides a unique pathway to promote my tour. It’s essential to combine these strategies, tailoring them to fit my music, my tour, and most importantly my fans. The aim? To guarantee a successful tour with sold-out concerts. It’s all about finding the balance and adapting to new opportunities as they present themselves.

Organization and Logistics

** ## Organization and Logistics ** Navigating the eventful landscape of tour management requires strategic organization and keen attention to logistics. As an independent artist, you’ll bear the brunt of these daunting tasks, a crucial detail often glossed over in stardom’s allure. Yet, the whirlwind adventure of touring life rests largely on these less-glamorous aspects of your music career.

In light of this, let’s delve into three significant areas:

Transportation and Travel Arrangements

For starters, wrapping your head around transportation and travel arrangements is paramount. Let’s face it: it’s not enough to simply know where you’re going, you need a rock-solid plan on getting there.

This can take the form of private vehicle bookings, airline reservations, and even coordinating public transport use in certain cities. It’s pivotal to note that you must factor in time for rest, soundchecks, rehearsals, and, of course, sightseeing – you’re travelling after all!

Key Takeaway : Proper transportation organization safeguards against unexpected hitches and offers a seamless experience moving from point A to point B.

Accommodation and Tour Bus Rental

Next up is accommodation arrangements and – when it makes sense – tour bus rentals. This step requires zooming in on your tour schedule and budget, which will shape your decisions.

Remember, it’s not just about where you’ll lay your head at night – hotel bookings, Airbnb rentals, couch surfing, etc. – but also about the travel between gigs. For example, a tour bus can double as both a mode of transport and a place to rest, making it a worthy investment for some circuits.

Key Takeaway : Prioritizing accommodation and transit rental decisions based on tour demands and budget constraints ensures comfort and efficiency on the road.

Equipment and Merchandise Management

Lastly, you’ll need a foolproof system for managing equipment and merchandise. This includes musical gear, stage props, along with branded merchandise such as T-shirts, CDs, vinyl, posters, and more.

As an independent artist, you’re likely to be juggling multiple roles. Thus, it’s vital to have an inventory system in place to track what’s been sold, damaged, or needs replenishing. Some artists even designate specific crew members for this responsibility to ensure this critical aspect doesn’t get neglected.

Key Takeaway : An effective merchandise management system boosts tour profits and prevents lost or damaged equipment.

On-Tour Management

Once you’ve meticulously planned and executed every preparation for your tour, you’ll step into the most exciting and challenging part: the actual tour. In this stage, effective management is crucial to ensure a smooth run of shows. You’re responsible for managing finances, dealing with unforeseen challenges, and maintaining your and your team’s health and well-being.

Managing Finances and Expenses

Sound financial management during your tour is of utmost importance. It’s not enough to simply settle your bills as they come up. Keep track of all expenses and collections to ensure you’re staying within your budget. The easiest way to manage this is by having a tour accountant or someone reliable —could be band members or management staff— taking charge of the money. Daily tour expenditures include food, accommodation, travel, and incidental expenses.

Here is an example of a simplified daily tour expenses breakdown:

Selling merchandise is a great way to offset these costs. Make sure the gains are properly accounted for and managed.

Dealing with Unexpected Challenges

On tour, there’s bound to be instances that don’t go according to plan. It could be van breakdowns, venue cancellations, bad weather, or even illness. Handling these issues professionally and calmly can make a huge difference in ensuring the show goes on.

Delay in show-stopping gear arriving? Have backups ready. Booked venue canceled last minute? Leverage relationships with booking agents and other contacts to find alternatives.

Preparedness is key. But remember, it’s not possible to predict all mishaps. Hence it’s important to keep a cool head, be quick on your feet, and act decisively and collaboratively.

Maintaining Health and Well-being

The physical strain of touring can be exhaustive as you’re always on the move. You’re performing one night, packing up the next morning, driving for hours to get to the next city, setting up, and doing it all over again. It’s crucial to take care of your and your team’s health and well-being on tour.

Proper diet, decent sleep, and adequate hydration mustn’t be neglected. Recharge your batteries with some downtime whenever you can. Avoid long stretches of shows without breaks. Manage stress by means of exercise, meditation, or any other activity that gives relaxation.

Post-Tour Follow Up

Following a tour, it’s important not to forget about your fans and the professionals you’ve met along the way. Post-tour follow-ups allow artists to build lasting relationships, and set the foundation for future tours. This is the crucial moment to analyze, build, and plan.

Analyzing Tour Performance and Fan Engagement

After the tour ends, it’s time to review how everything went. This includes looking at how many tickets were sold, which cities had the biggest fan turnout, and where merchandise sales were highest. You’ll want to look at your social media engagement during the tour period as well – noting any spikes in follower growth, likes, shares, and comments. Analyzing these metrics will allow you to understand which aspects of your tour worked best, and which ones need improvement for future tours.

Important : Track and monitor all relevant data from ticket sales to online engagement. Ensure you’re using a reliable analytics tool for this process.

Building Relationships with Fans and Industry Professionals

An independent artist’s greatest asset is their fan base. Therefore, interacting and engaging with fans after a tour is crucial in maintaining loyalty and keeping them excited for future music and events. Responding to comments on social media, creating post-tour fan content such as behind-the-scenes vlogs, or sending a personally addressed thank-you email can significantly foster these relationships.

With industry professionals like venue owners and booking agents, a simple thank you can go a long way. You’ll be remembered for your professionalism and might secure your spot on their stage for future shows. Let them know how much you appreciated their support.

Remember, networking is instrumental, so maintain those newly established links and continue to reach out. Become part of the music community and grow with it.

Planning for Future Tours

Based on tour performance analysis and the relationships built, it’s now time to start thinking about your next tour. Keep the variables of success in mind when considering where and when to tour next, which booking agents to approach, and what kind of support to bring on the road.

This is arguably one of the most important aspects of post-tour follow-up because your next steps directly influence your future success. Consider challenges faced and lessons learned during the previous tour. Remember to explore new potential cities and venues based on fanbase growth and engagement data.

Remember: Don’t rush this process. Proper planning and foresight will ensure an even more successful tour next time.

Taking these essential steps in the post-tour period will solidify the longevity of your tour life as an independent artist. This reflection time provides valuable insight, and the connections made become a vibrant part of your artist journey. Don’t underestimate the power of thorough analysis, consistent engagement, and well-informed planning for future tours.

Why is post-tour follow-up crucial for independent artists?

Post-tour follow-up allows artists to analyze tour performance and fan engagement. It provides insights into what worked well and what needs improvement for future tours.

How can analyzing ticket sales and fan turnout benefit an artist?

Analyzing ticket sales and fan turnout provides data about the market’s response. It helps in understanding the fan base better, which can be instrumental in planning future tours.

Why is fan engagement on social media important?

Fan engagement on social media maintains relationships with fans and boosts their loyalty. It gives artists a platform to interact with fans on a personal level, thereby deepening their connection.

How can artists build relationships with industry professionals?

Expressing gratitude and maintaining regular contact with industry professionals can secure future opportunities. These relationships may lead to more exposure, bookings, or collaborations.

What should be included when planning for future tours?

Planning for future tours includes analyzing and considering past tour performance, building relationships with fans and industry insiders, and exploring potential cities and venues. Proper planning and foresight are crucial for tour success.

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Tour Management: Efficient Ways to Get Things Done

Are you looking for a complete guide on how to manage a tour? Look no further! In this article, we will provide you with all the information a tour manager needs to know in order to make your tour a success.

It doesn't matter if you are running a concert tour or a hop-on-hop-off city tour , taking care of day-to-day operations can quickly consume too much time without efficient management.

From planning and organizing to training tour guides and marketing and promoting, we will cover it all! So read on and get ready to take your tour business to the next level!

A Guide for Tour Operators

Running a successful tour requires effective management. Your tour needs to kick off without a hitch if you want it to be successful.

Aspects such as planning, organizing, marketing, and promoting the tour, as well as handling any issues that may arise, are all included in what a tour operator handles.

By managing your tour business effectively, you can ensure that your customers have a pleasant experience and that your business is profitable.

In this post, we will cover tour management:

What are the basics of tour business management?

  • How can a tour manager effectively plan and organize a tour?
  • What is the most effective way to market and promote a tour?

Let's begin with the basics.

Tours run smoothly when they are managed efficiently. Managing a tour involves a lot more than just herding people from one place to another.

Tour managers are responsible for both the administrative side, such as booking hotels and transportation, as well as the operational side, like keeping the tour on schedule.

But a tour manager also needs to be a people person, able to manage both tour guides and anyone working for your tour company. After all, it's the tour manager's job to make sure everyone has a great time.

Here are the areas of management that every tour manager and all touring professionals need to know:

Resource Management

To achieve a truly outstanding customer experience, you need to ensure that your tours and activities do not get overbooked so that you can deliver a fantastic guest experience.

A packed tour can make you feel like you are part of a cattle call, and you don't want your guests to feel that way!

What can you do to prevent overbooking?

Use a booking system with resource manager functionality. This way, you can limit your trips to available resources if one or more of your tours or activities rely on the same resources - like bikes, guides, or boats. You can also block off a resource for routine maintenance for a few days.

No overbooking means happy customers...and that's good for your tour company business!

Distribution Channel Management

A channel management tool can simplify your management if you're using online travel agencies and marketplaces, like Viator and Expedia.

Using channel management tools, you can connect all of your booking channels to one central system, making it easy to update your listings, availability, and pricing.

Not only will this save you time, but you'll also avoid double bookings and overbookings. Plus, you can make sure your customers see the most up-to-date info with real-time updates.

Managing Tour Guides and Staff

As a tour operator, you have a variety of responsibilities every day. The job description can be long, which includes juggling day-to-day operations, helping guests, hiring local guides and managing them. Your tour guides are one of the most helpful resources you'll have. You can tell a good tour guide by the quality of their service.

As your business grows, you'll need more staff or tour guides to handle the growth. More staff means more onboarding and tour guide training .

But don't just copy your current operations and management processes.

Consider simplifying and streamlining your systems instead.

Consider switching to a booking system that gives your tour guides rough idea to clear details about upcoming trips. By doing this, tour guides will always know how many guests to expect, the age group to host, and what special requirements they need to be aware of.

How do I plan and organize a tour?

Everything from managing your calendar to tracking bookings to connecting with guests to invoicing and payments requires management.

What can you do to make sure you're doing it right?

To begin with, know what each area of administration needs.

Booking Management

Is your tour and activity booking process efficient? You could be losing out on potential bookings if you use a contact form or email address for booking inquiries.

Consider using an online booking system instead.

Need help managing refunds and cancellations?: 5 Tips On How To Manage Tour Cancellation Policy In 2022

Booking systems make it easy for customers to see available times and dates, choose the one that fits their needs, and make a booking right away. You can automate key tasks like sending confirmation emails and reminders, so you can focus on providing a great experience.

We've got a magic link feature to help activity operators deal with guest booking changes. Guests can manage their bookings, change dates, or convert them into vouchers.

Find out more about the magic link here . 

Receiving and managing payments.

When it comes to payments, you want to give your customers as many options as possible. That's why you need a payment gateway for your online bookings on your website, like Stripe, SumUp, Adyen, and PayPal- so you can accept online payments.

But you don't want to stop there.

You also want a Point-of-Sale solution for your business, so you can accept payments in person, too.

multiple payment gateways

With a payment gateway and Point-of-Sale solution, you'll be able to take down payments and deposits, so you can make sure that your business is always running smoothly. And the cool part is that your customers will have more options to pay , which means convenience for them. 

Calendar Management

It's easy to overbook or make mistakes when you're keeping track and managing your calendar manually. Additionally, you might not utilize your capacity because you are concerned about overbooking guides or resources.

what is post tour management

Live inventory booking systems ensure that your bookings are updated across all channels.

Additionally, you can sync your Google Calendar. This allows you to easily see upcoming tours and activities and avoid overbooking . Moreover, its a key part to maximize your business capacity.

Keeping in touch with customers

customer relationship management

Pre- and post-trip notifications are an excellent way to streamline your business and improve customer satisfaction.

Your customers will receive email and SMS reminders to bring the things they need to complete a great tour experience. In addition, you can inform them of any changes to an upcoming trip.

By sending them an email after the trip, guests can also provide more feedback about their recent tour. With this system, you can save time and money while providing customers with a better experience. 

How do you price a tour?

Tour operators' business plans depend heavily on pricing. Choosing the right price for your tour will influence the tone of your entire business and help you stand out from your competitors.

When planning a fee structure for tours, factor in your target market and the types of tours your business will offer.

Consider these questions when pricing your tour:

  • How are competitors targeting their tours?
  • Organizing a tour can be expensive, so how do you balance customer interest with costs?

You can price your tour business using two main strategies: raising the price and lowering it . As with any strategy, there are advantages and disadvantages.

The most common strategy for tour businesses is to mark up their prices. By setting your prices higher, you are able to generate a larger profit.

One drawback of this strategy is that it can sometimes make it difficult to attract customers as it prices your tours out of the market.


Instead of raising your prices, you'll lower them to generate a smaller profit by marking them down.

You can use this strategy if you're trying to attract a large customer base since lower prices are usually more attractive.

The downside is that you won't make as much profit per tour.

What is the best way to market and promote a tour?

Marketing and promoting a tour can be a tricky task. With a dash of creativity and effort, it can be a great way to boost sales . The most effective way to market a tour is through a combination of traditional methods and digital media.

Reaching Local Audiences with Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing techniques, such as flyers and brochures, can be effective at reaching local audiences. Displaying marketing materials in high-traffic areas, such as airports or hotels, is a cost-effective way to reach potential customers.

Attracting International Guests with Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is also essential for reaching a wider audience, including international guests. Utilizing social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is a great way to promote a tour.

"83% of US adults want to book their trips online" - Over 60 Online Travel Booking Statistics (2022) by StratosJets

Tour Reviews Matter

Additionally, leveraging customer reviews is an excellent way to generate word-of-mouth marketing. After every great tour, be sure to ask guests to leave reviews on your own website or on popular travel review sites , such as TripAdvisor , TrustPilot , or Google Reviews .

Start thinking by figuring out which platform people prefer. When you ask for reviews, add a little personal touch. It'll get you far in the long run. Popular tour operators can prove this tested method of marketing. You'll get more bookings with more positive reviews.

By using a combination of traditional and digital marketing techniques, you can effectively promote your tour and attract more guests. Spend time keeping tracking of your marketing strategy's growth, then tweak it if necessary.

Get started with digital growth hacking with our free guide: SEO For Tour Operators: 4 Tactics To Generate More Leads

Use the Right Online Booking System for Your Tours

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Save time by simplifying daily operations & grow revenue by marketing smart. All of these require effective management. Here's what works!

what is post tour management

Tour Route Example (Lizzo US + Europe Tour)

Mechanics • 20 min read

The Mechanics of Touring: How the Live Music Industry Works

what is post tour management

By Dmitry Pastukhov

Published April 28, 2019

The Live Music Industry: An Overview

Key players in the touring industry, artists and managers, booking agents, tour managers and technicians, festivals & venues, label & publisher, the touring cycle, 1. finding the talent, 2. building the tour strategy and producing the show, 3. booking the tour, 4. selling the tickets, 5. preparations, 6. the day x, 7. the show, tour simulation, tour gross revenue.

Touring makes up a huge portion of an artist’s life and the lion’s share of the industry’s revenues. At the same time, it is the only part of the music career that remains 99% “physical” in what is otherwise the digital-first industry. While some of the artists can easily reach millions of fans via streaming, putting together an international tour for the same crowd is an extremely complicated process.

Despite the rise of digital streaming platforms, make no mistake, live music is still the cash cow of the industry. Even though streaming revenue is expected to grow to $23 billion by 2022, by that same year the live music industry is projected to reach a whopping $31 billion in global value. Global live music revenue continues to increase (with the substantial portion of this growth attributed to the worldwide explosion of EDM festivals, which we've traced in our analyses of Chinese and Indian markets). At the same time, if we take a look at the well-established music economies, a recent Nielsen study found that 52% of Americans attend live shows at least once a year.

Nevertheless, the touring industry’s decentralized and network-based system remains a complex landscape to navigate: artists often work with dozens of local promoters, booking agents and venues in the course of a single tour. So, let’s start with the basics and identify all of the parties that are usually involved in a mid-sized tour:

Artists and their managers are the crucial elements of the live business. As we’ve laid out in our Mechanics of Management , manager’s role is to build and coordinate the artist’s team on all sides of the music industry, and that, of course, includes the concert business. The artist’s management usually takes part in the initial route planning, helps the artist pick the touring team, and serves as a bridge between the live entertainment and all other sides of the artist’s career.  

The job of the booking agent itself is very easy to define: the agent represents the artist across the live industry. Their goal is to book the tour and sell the shows to the local talent buyers, finding the venue and negotiating the price. The booking deal is usually pretty straightforward: “an artist A, represented by the agent B, commits to play an N-minute show in the venue C on the day X for a $Y. ” A good agent is the one who’s able to get all those As, Bs and Cs right — so that the venue is sold out, but there are no fans left without a ticket; the artist gets paid well, but the promoter doesn’t feel cheated, and so on. While the deal is relatively simple, it’s hard to nail all the details — especially given the fact that the show are usually booked from 8 to 24 months in advance, depending on the scope of the venue.

Promoters are the side of the live business that funds the tour and buys the shows. The landscape of concert promotion is complex, and promoters themselves come in various shapes and sizes. To make it a bit simpler, imagine that promoter is a middle-man, connecting the concert space and the artist to put together a show. You can start building that bridge from either side, however.

Tour promoters set out from the artist side, contracting musicians to perform a series of concerts, paying for rehearsals, audiovisual production, covering the travel expenses and so on. Once the show is ready, tour promoters, working closely with the artist’s booking agent, either rent venues themselves or subcontract (read: sell) the shows to the local promoters (or a mixture of both).

Local promoters, in their turn, embark from a concert space. Affiliated, or at least connected with local venues and performance spaces, they buy gigs from the agents and/or tour promoters to own the ticket sales. An art-director of a small club, a local group of party promoters, a team of the major US festival — all those event promoters of different scope would fall into that category.

In that context, the role of the agent becomes clear. If promoters are the middle-men on the side of an artist or a concert space, the agent is the middle-man between the middle-men, who builds up the network of promoters (on both fronts) and artists, serving as a liaison between all sides.

However, some of the biggest tours today can be put together without the agent’s involvement.  One of the main shifts in the live business is the consolidation of tour and local promoters under the umbrella of entertainment conglomerates, with the most notable examples of Live Nation and AEG .

Essentially, these companies have grown their operation to the point where they can build the bridge from both sides, internalizing all the processes. They both produce the concert tours and own (or, at least, establish partnerships with) a vast network of clubs and arenas, providing venues for the tour. Live Nation, AEG and alike can now create centralized international tours, offering artists 360° deals. However, touring under such exclusive promotion remains reserved for the artists of the top echelon — so most of the shows out there are still put together in collaboration between the tour promoters, booking agents and local partners.

Tour managers that stay on the road with the artist's crew are the oil that makes the wheels of the tour spin. Even a nationwide tour involves extremely complex logistics, and it becomes exponentially harder to manage the travel as the tour passes onto an international level. For the first-tier acts, staying on the road with the artist crew, technicians and 30 trucks worth of equipment can cost up to $750k per day . The goal of the tour manager is to make sure that the money doesn't go down the drain when the artist’s bus breaks down in Nowhere, Oklahoma . Getting the band from point A to point B seems to be a pretty straightforward job, but in fact, the routine of the tour manager is dealing with unexpected and solving a dozen of new problems each day — all while keeping the artists happy and ready to perform. To give you a taste of an international tour route, here's an approximate map of the Lizzo's tour in support of "Cuz I Love You" release, stretching over 64 locations and 74,575 km — and that is just the straight routs, not accounting for the actual roadways.

what is post tour management

"Cuz I Love You" tour route, 30.04.2019 — 28.10.2019 (interactive version available here )

Tour managers also run the technician crew, and, while the technical support of the tour is often overlooked, the fact is that behind every show there’s a team that turns the performance into an audiovisual experience that the audience has paid to see. It takes hard work and expertise to assemble the stage, set up the lights and the sound system, etc. The live industry relies on the tech crew to make the show actually happen.

Festivals and venues are at the very core of the live business, providing the space and (usually) the base infrastructure for the show. As we've already mentioned, there’s often a great deal of vested interest between local promoters and performance spaces.  That means that there’s usually a local promoter “attached” to the venue, and same goes for music festivals.

Outdoor events are a distinct part of the live performance landscape. Operated by promotion groups, prominent festivals can introduce artists to new audiences, both in terms of fans and music industry executives — all while offering a fat pay-check. A major festival performance puts the artist on the map, and the promotional effect of the show itself has to be considered. It can become even more important than the immediate monetary gain — especially for independent, up-and-coming artists. That’s why the tour routing will often be structured around a couple of big music festivals — and then filled up with solo concerts along the way. A good example is Coachella: as the event takes place over two separate weekends, most of the Coachella artists also book “side-gigs” around the area during the in-between week.

Although recording and publishing industries are not directly engaged in the live business, we have to remember that the music industry is built on collaboration . By convention, most music tours follow the release of an album, and each artist has to report his set after the show to PROs so that the proper songwriters get paid. The music industry is made up of separate companies and people working on the different parts of the artist career — and, while not completely aligned, they are always interconnected.

The six key parties described above work together to bring the live show to the concert-goers. However, it’s important to mention that they won’t always be represented by separate entities. Often some of the roles will be internalized by the different sides of the touring chain: independent artists and their management might produce the tour themselves, internalizing the job of the tour promoter; conglomerate promoters, as we’ve mentioned, can now offer exclusive touring deals; and so on. That said, in the next section we will go through the tour cycle step by step to showcase how all these players interact to create the tour. As it usually is in the music industry, it all starts with the artist.

On the first step, agents and tour promoters find and sign the performer. This process is not much different from the scouting of recording or publishing A&Rs, although the criteria might differ. For some types of artists (like DJs, for example) touring can be relatively huge, while the recording revenues might stay almost non-existent. Agents and A&Rs look for different things in the artist, but the essence of scouting remains the same across the board — identify and sign the promising acts before anyone else does.

There’s another twist to talent hunting in the live industry that is probably worth mentioning. As an average show has to be booked 9-10 months in advance, tour deals are usually signed around a year prior to the actual performance. At the same time, the vast majority of concert tours follow the recording releases to build up the momentum and ride the promotion wave. That has one unavoidable implication: tour promoters and agents sign the artist to perform the material which is not written yet, which can be quite risky.

That is especially true when it comes to the debut artists, that might not even have a 40-minute set or any solid live performance skills when they get their first touring deal. There is a lot of gut feeling that goes into scouting on the live industry side — more than in the recording business at least, where licensing deals allowed labels to mediate the risks of the creative stage.

Once the artist is on board, it’s time to produce the show and define the tour strategy and routing. At this step, the tour promoter starts the preparations: building the light show and live visual materials, booking rehearsal sessions to perfect the live performance, and so on. Meanwhile, the artist, manager, agent and tour promoter work out a general timeframe and draft an approximate route of the future tour. The initial tour planning is usually done around priority shows, like major city performances or music festivals, while the rest of the route is defined in broad strokes. Unless we’re talking about the top-tier, established artists, the tour will always follow a recording release. Once the initial planning is over, the tour strategy will be defined in terms of “The artist will play a priority city/music festival in a specific area N weeks after the release”.

Ones the initial route is set out, the agent goes on to book the tour, pitching the show to local promoters and festivals. Starting with the priority shows and then filling in the details, the tour route gradually takes its final form. The agent negotiates with local promoters to pick out an optimal venue (in terms of volume, style, conditions, etc.) to host the show. As Tom Windish, a senior executive of Paradigm Talent Agency mentioned in our recent interview , picking the right venue is perhaps the hardest part of booking a tour: the material is not out yet, and there’s no way to predict the reception of the release that’s almost a year ahead. Go for a small but safe venue — and you risk losing potential ticket sales and disappointing the fans; go big, and you might end up in a half-empty room, losing on the investment and leaving every side of the deal disappointed. The agent has to make risky decisions in a situation of uncertainty, and given the venue landscape in some of the regions, sometimes that means choosing between a venue capacity of 500 and 2000 for what is reasonably a 1000-ticket show.

As for the conditions and splits of the booking contract, generally local promoters, tour promoters, and artists will split the net profits of the show. Artists might also get a flat fee to ensure they'll make some money even if all other parties do their job poorly. Usually, the more the flat fee, the less the artist’s share of the net profits (and vice versa). In that sense, the structure of the contract splits often reflects the artist's risk appetite: some artists self-produce the tour, sacrifice the flat fees and end up getting almost 100% of the net. Others might ask for a higher "safety" fee, lowering both the profits of the tour and their own stake in it.   Booking agents, in their turn, earn a flat percentage on the revenues ‘on top’ (though they might put their share back in the pot if the tour doesn’t turn out a profit). That might be a lot to take in, but don't worry, we will get back to the splits and give you a clear example with a tour simulation you can find below .

Once the tour is booked, it’s the time to promote it and sell the tickets. On paper, the ball is in the promoter’s court here, but in reality the marketing of the tour is carried out in close collaboration between all the sides — from managers and booking agents to the artists' record labels. Concert marketing is a topic worthy of a separate article, but if we were to simplify things, it could be separated into two main parts.

First is the overarching tour marketing, implemented by the tour promoter and synchronized with the record release. The tour marketing campaign utilizes wide communication channels to promote the tour in general rather than a particular show. Second is the regional marketing owned by the local promoters, which aims to boost the sales of a specific show, focusing on narrow communication channels, like radio, OOH and locally targeted digital advertising.

As far as the actual ticketing strategy is concerned, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so most teams go through long and numerous meetings to define tit There's a lot of decisions to be made when settling the details of the ticketing strategy — especially as technology has put new tools into the hands of promoters — but generally accepted sales process follows an “announcement → pre-sale → general sale” pattern. First, the tour is announced through the label- or artist-owned channels. That announcement is both a chance to communicate the tour to the wide audience and build up the artist’s CRM-base by nudging fans to leave their contacts to get notified when tickets go on sale. On the live event market, the buying intent might not realize itself on the first day — so having direct contact with fans and growing the artist's CRM-base is a key tool in the hands of the industry.

Then, the pre-sale takes place: first, reaching out directly to fans in the CRM database — after all, artist-fan relationships are one of the most important assets of an artist, and a fan pre-sale ensures that engaged followers will be able to get tickets to the show. Pre-sale strategy might also involve sales through “preferred partners”, focusing on direct sales through systems like American Express PreSales in the U.S., or even Spotify, that allows to reach the artist’s fans and followers across the tour route based on their listening habits and geo-location. Finally, to complete the pre-sale, local promoters can also use the local communication channels, like CRM-base of the venue and local airplay.

All the pre-sale strategies have two primary objectives. Firstly, based on the pre-sale figures (and historical concert attendance data), the promoter can roughly tell how the show is going to sell in general — and adjust the marketing campaign accordingly. Secondly, pre-sale through reasonably closed off channels can help to mediate the problem of the secondary ticket market. In fact, most of the ticketing strategies aim to sell as many seats as possible before putting the show on the general sale. Ticketing platforms like Songkick, BandsinTown or Seated allow promoters to reach the widest audience but they also puts the show at risk of selling out to the scalper bots in a matter of hours. This is especially true for the biggest artists out there — the more the demand for the show, the more attention it's going to get from the scalpers.

At this point, the tickets are on sale and the date is coming up, but there are still a lot of details to cover to make the show actually happen. Carrying out a 100-show tour means getting the artist and his tour team to a hundred different locations across the globe — all while staying on a tight budget and an even tighter schedule. Then, you have to make sure that every step of the way the artist has the infrastructure to do the actual show. Big tours are extremely complicated logistics, that require a lot of planning (usually carried out by the tour manager, affiliated with the tour promoters). Plane tickets, car rental, backline equipment shipping — this is just a fraction of what needs to be taken care of before reaching the venue.

The venue is (hopefully) sold out, the material is well-rehearsed, the equipment is delivered to the club — but the show is still to be done. Someone has to set up the sound, check tickets at the door, take care of the security, prepare the guest list and set up the bar. This routine can seem insignificant at times, but in fact, a solid on-site setup is a must if you want the audience to enjoy the performance. Surely all of us can remember that one concert with that hour-long queue, delayed performance and warm beer at the bar — a poor concert organization can ruin even the best of shows. Making sure that the concert goes smoothly is a group effort of the tour crew and the local promoter's team, from tour managers and technicians to local sound engineers and the venue stuff.

Finally, one year, tens of thousands of kilometers and thousands of man-hours later, the artist will go on stage. Then, the team will get back on the road to repeat steps 5 through 7 over and over again, until the final row of the tour announcement is crossed out. The artist will eventually get back in the studio and start working on the new material, while tour promoters and agents will begin planning the next tour. That’s the tour life .

To conclude the Mechanics of Touring, we want to share with you an example of how the tour budget and profits are structured. Below, you will find a somewhat simplified (yet accurate at its core) budget simulation of an averaged tour. While the actual “business plan” will be much more detailed, the data below should give you a good idea of who pays for the tour and who ends up making money on it.

what is post tour management

Total Fixed and Variable Costs

So, the tour has fixed costs of 70,000€, which have to be covered regardless of the tour length, and variable costs of 7,000€, per show. Such costs structure means that (and this is true for practically every tour) we will enjoy the scale effect , as total costs per show (calculated as (FC+ VC*N)/N, where FC is Fixed Costs, VC — Variable Costs and N is the Number of shows in the tour) will go down as the tour grows, due to the depreciation of the fixed costs.

what is post tour management

Total costs per show, for 10-150 concerts in a tour.

To go forward with the simulation, we will assume that the shows of the tour are all booked at the same price (which is never the case due to the difference in the local ticket prices, venue and market capacity, and other specifics). However, to simplify things, we will use the following revenue structure:        

Guarantee per show = 8,000€

Bonus if sold out = 2,000€

If we plotted the tour’s total profits as a function of the number of shows, P/L = (Revenue per show * N) - (FC+VC*N), we would get the following:

what is post tour management

Tour P&L (overall profit/loss before splits)

As the total costs per show go down against a constant revenue, the tour turns a profit, breaking even at the 24th and 70th show for “Sold Out” and “Not Sold Out” scenarios accordingly.

Then the time comes to divvy up the profits. First of all, the agent takes a share of all revenues “on top”. In this simulation, we will use a 15% split for the agent. So, if the tour is made up of 100 sold out shows, the agent would get (10,000*100)*15% = €150,000 in fees. However, it’s not customary in the music industry for one side of the deal to make money while the rest are losing. So, usually, the agent won’t take their share if the tour doesn’t turn a profit. But what if the tour makes a bit of money, but not enough to cover the agent’s 15% “on top”?

There are a couple of roads the agent might take in that case, cutting their share down to 5% or taking a percentage of the profits, rather than revenue, but for purposes of this simulation, we will assume that the agent will take their part of the share, but won’t put the promoter back in the red. So, if the tour has made €5K in NET profits by selling out 25 shows, the agent will take €5,000 instead of agreed upon (25*10,000)*15% = €37,500.

Tour promoter will take a share of the NET profits (Total Revenue — Agent’s Share — Costs). That would mean that, although the tour itself will break even on a 24th show in the Song Out scenario, the tour promoter will start making money only after the 47th show (once the agent is fully compensated). If we assume the tour promoter’s share at 20%, on a 100-show, sold out tour they will make ((10,000*100*0,85) - (70,000 + 7,000*100)) * 0,2 = €16,000 . It might seem that the promoters get the short end of the stick here, but in fact, they will often make quite a bit of money in the venue itself on things like bar and parking. This can be a substantial or even primary revenue stream for the promoter, but we’ll have to leave it out of the scope of the simulation for the sake of simplicity.

As for the artist , they will earn a flat fee (in this simulation €1,000 per show) as well as the remaining 80% of the tour’s NET. This sum will make up the artist gross, which in its turn will be divided between the artist and the management (an average manager’s share is around 15% ). So, for a 100-show tour the artist gross will be: (100*1,000) + ((10,000*100*0,85) - (70,000 + 7,000*100)) * 0,8 = €164,000 , which would then be split 85:15 between the artist ( €139,400 ) and the manager ( €24,600 ).

what is post tour management

Tour profits distribution, by party

Of course, the actual tour will be much more complicated than in the simulation above. However, it should give you a good idea of how the tour is structured and budgeted. That’s it for this episode of Mechanics, but don’t worry — we’ll keep working to bring you insights on other parts of the music industry. If you liked this article, take a look at our Mechanics of the Music Industry to get the overview of the topics we covered so far — and the ones we plan to cover in the future.

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Dmitry Pastukhov

Content creator for Soundcharts. Deciphering the music business so you don't have to.

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Becoming a Tour Manager: Responsibilities, Skills, and Salary

Are you a recording artist looking to hit the road and embark on a successful tour? Or perhaps you’re simply curious about the role of a tour manager and what they bring to the table. Look no further, as this article is here to shed light on the world of tour managers and their invaluable contributions to the music industry. (Photo by Aleksandr Popov on Unsplash .)

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Music production: crafting an award-worthy song.

Tour managers are the unsung heroes behind the scenes, ensuring that every aspect of a tour runs smoothly. From planning and logistics to financial management and artist well-being, they wear multiple hats to ensure a seamless experience for both the artist and the audience. But what exactly does a tour manager do? And how can you find the right one for your needs? Join us as we delve into the world of tour managers and uncover the key qualities to look for when hiring one.

Whether you’re an aspiring artist or a curious music enthusiast, understanding the role of a tour manager is crucial in navigating the complex world of touring. So, let’s discover the essential tasks and responsibilities of tour managers, as well as where to find them and how much they typically cost. Get ready to unlock the secrets behind successful tours and the key players who make it all happen.

What Is A Tour Manager?

A tour manager is a crucial member of an artist’s team, especially when it comes to touring. Their role is to ensure that everything runs smoothly before, during, and after the show. From planning and logistics to financial management and artist well-being, tour managers handle a wide range of responsibilities to make the tour a success.

Tour managers serve as the lynchpin of the entire touring cycle. They travel alongside the artist and the crew, overseeing all aspects of the tour. They are responsible for coordinating venues, transportation, accommodations, and other logistical details. This ensures that the artist and their team can focus on their performances without distractions or disruptions.

In addition to the logistical aspects, tour managers also serve as a personal manager to the artist. They play a vital role in ensuring the artist’s overall well-being throughout the tour. This includes managing schedules, handling day-to-day tasks, and addressing any concerns or issues that may arise. A tour manager’s ultimate goal is to ensure that both the tour and the artist are successful and thriving.

It’s worth noting that tour managers often double as personal managers. This means that they not only oversee the logistics of the tour but also manage all aspects of an artist’s life. They are responsible for not only ensuring a smooth-running tour but also ensuring the artist’s happiness and well-being.

A tour manager is a highly skilled professional who plays a crucial role in the success of an artist’s tour. They handle everything from logistics to financial management and artist well-being. With their expertise and dedication, tour managers ensure that the tour runs smoothly, allowing the artist to focus on delivering outstanding performances.

What does a Tour Manager do?

Roles & responsibilities.

A tour manager plays a crucial role in the smooth running of a tour. They are responsible for managing all aspects of the tour, both before and during the shows. Here are some key roles and responsibilities of a tour manager:

  • Logistics Management : A tour manager is in charge of coordinating all logistics related to the tour. This includes arranging travel accommodations, booking transportation, and ensuring that all equipment and merchandise needed for the shows are organized and ready.
  • Financial Management : Tour managers work closely with artist management and business management to create a tour budget. This budget serves as a roadmap for all financial decisions during the tour, from choosing hotels to hiring crew members. They also handle various financial transactions throughout the tour, such as paying vendors and ensuring that everyone is paid correctly and on time.
  • Artist Well-being : Alongside managing the tour, tour managers also serve as personal managers, taking care of all aspects of an artist’s life on the road. They ensure that the artist is comfortable, happy, and well taken care of. This can involve arranging for personal needs, such as dietary requirements or specific accommodations, and addressing any issues that may arise during the tour.
  • Team Coordination : Tour managers are responsible for managing the entire crew involved in the tour, including band members, roadies, and technical staff. They ensure that everyone is working together cohesively and that tasks are being completed efficiently. This involves overseeing rehearsals, sound checks, and coordinating schedules.
  • Problem Solving : In the fast-paced environment of a tour, unexpected challenges can arise. Tour managers are skilled problem solvers who handle any issues that may come up, whether it’s a technical glitch during a show or last-minute changes to the itinerary. They remain calm under pressure and find solutions quickly to keep the tour running smoothly.
  • Tour Documentation : Tour managers also handle various administrative tasks, such as managing contracts and legal documents related to the tour. They keep detailed records of expenses, receipts, and other important documents to ensure a smooth reconciliation process after the tour.

Tour managers are the lynchpin of the entire touring cycle. They handle a wide range of responsibilities, from logistics management to financial and artist well-being. Their expertise and dedication ensure that the tour runs smoothly and that the artist can focus on delivering outstanding performances.

How To Become A Tour Manager

Qualifications & skills.

To become a tour manager, there are certain qualifications and skills that aspiring individuals should possess. While a bachelor’s degree is not always required, it can be helpful in gaining the necessary knowledge and skills for the role. Some relevant fields of study include music business, music industry studies, business management, marketing, or related areas.

In addition to formal education, practical experience in the music industry is highly valuable. Many tour managers start their career by working in various roles within the industry, such as live sound, venue management, or working closely with artists. This hands-on experience allows aspiring tour managers to learn the ins and outs of the industry and develop essential skills.

Some key skills that tour managers should possess include:

  • Strong organizational and planning abilities are crucial for managing all aspects of a tour, including scheduling, logistics, and travel arrangements.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are necessary for effectively coordinating with artists, crew members, venues, and other stakeholders.
  • Problem-solving skills are essential for addressing any issues or challenges that may arise during the tour and finding effective solutions.
  • Financial management skills are important for handling budgets, negotiating deals, and ensuring financial success of the tour.
  • Attention to detail is vital for ensuring all necessary arrangements and requirements are met, such as visas, travel documentation, and equipment.

Schools & Degrees

While there is no specific degree required to become a tour manager, obtaining a degree in a music-related field can be beneficial. Many universities and music schools offer programs in music business, music industry studies, or related disciplines. These programs provide a solid foundation in the business and management aspects of the music industry.

Some recommended courses to take during the degree program include psychology, business law, logistics, accounting, or tourism and travel management. These courses can provide additional knowledge and skills that are applicable to the role of a tour manager.

In addition to formal education, seeking internships or entry-level positions with music promoters, record labels, or concert venues can provide valuable hands-on experience and networking opportunities. Learning directly from experienced tour managers can offer insights into the daily responsibilities and challenges of the role.

If you’re a tour manager aiming to enhance your market value by building your personal brand, consider enrolling in GRAMMY GO ‘s ‘ Building Your Audience for Music Professionals ‘ specialization on Coursera . This course provides essential insights into branding not only for creators but also for creative teams. In today’s industry, every professional stands to benefit from cultivating a strong personal brand. This specialization will equip you with the skills necessary to effectively promote and distinguish yourself in the competitive music business landscape.

Tour Manager Salary

One of the key factors that people consider when pursuing a career is the potential salary. For those interested in becoming tour managers in the music industry, it is important to understand the earning potential in this role.

According to , In Los Angeles, CA, the average salary for a Tour Manager is $124,177. The salary range usually varies between $103,589 and $143,528 based on factors such as education, certifications, additional skills, and years of experience in the field.

$124.177K AVG

It is worth noting that these figures represent an average, and there are opportunities for higher salaries, especially for those who work with high-profile artists. Additionally, the length and frequency of tours can also impact the overall income of a tour manager.

While the salary range is important to consider, it is essential to remember that being a tour manager offers other benefits that go beyond monetary compensation. Here are some additional advantages that come with being a tour manager:

Challenges & Rewards

Advantages & disadvantages of being a tour manager.

While the salary range is important to consider, being a tour manager in the music industry comes with its own unique set of challenges and rewards. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing a career as a tour manager.


  • Travel Opportunities : One of the most exciting aspects of being a tour manager is the chance to travel to different cities and countries. Tour managers get to explore new places, experience different cultures, and create unforgettable memories along the way.
  • Networking Opportunities : Tour managers have the opportunity to connect with various industry professionals, including artists, promoters, agents, and venue managers. These connections can open doors to future opportunities and collaborations.
  • Job Security : The demand for talented and experienced tour managers is high in the music industry. With the continuous growth of live music events and tours, tour managers can enjoy a stable and secure career.
  • Variety of Responsibilities : As a tour manager, no two days are the same. From coordinating logistics to managing finances and ensuring artist well-being, tour managers have a wide range of responsibilities that keep them engaged and challenged.


  • Long Hours and Workloads : Tour managers often work long and irregular hours. They are responsible for overseeing every aspect of the tour, from planning and logistics to problem-solving and troubleshooting. This can result in extended workdays and periods of high stress.
  • Constant Travel : While travel can be exciting, it can also be physically and mentally demanding for tour managers. Constantly being on the road and away from home can lead to fatigue and a lack of personal time.
  • High-pressure Environment : Tour managers are responsible for ensuring that everything runs smoothly during the tour. From managing unexpected challenges to dealing with last-minute changes, tour managers need to thrive in a high-pressure environment and think quickly on their feet.
  • Limited Personal Life : Due to the nature of their work, tour managers may have limited time for personal relationships and hobbies. The demanding schedule and constant travel can make it challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Overall, being a tour manager can offer a rewarding and fulfilling career in the music industry. However, it’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before pursuing this path. If you thrive in a fast-paced and high-pressure environment, enjoy traveling, and have a passion for music and live events, becoming a tour manager can be an exciting and fulfilling choice.

Tools & Equipment

Tour managers rely on a range of tools and equipment to effectively execute their responsibilities and ensure smooth operations during a tour. From planning and logistics to financial management and artist well-being, these tools help streamline processes and enhance efficiency. Here are some of the key tools and equipment that tour managers utilize:

  • Project Management Software : Tour managers often use specialized software designed for collaboration and project management. These platforms offer features including budget tracking and task management. With these tools, tour managers can keep track of important details, communicate with team members, and stay organized throughout the tour.
  • Communication Devices : Effective communication is crucial for a tour manager’s success. They rely on devices such as smartphones, walkie-talkies, and two-way radios to stay connected with the entire team, including crew members, artists, vendors, and venue staff. These tools enable quick and seamless communication, allowing tour managers to address issues promptly and coordinate operations effectively.
  • Financial Management Tools : Managing budgets and expenses is an essential part of a tour manager’s role. They use financial management tools, such as accounting software or spreadsheets, to track costs, manage invoices, and evaluate financial performance. These tools help tour managers ensure that expenses are within the allocated budget and provide accurate financial reports to the artist and management team.
  • Travel and Accommodation Resources : Tour managers and their teams handle the logistics of travel and accommodation for the entire touring party. They rely on online booking platforms, travel agencies, and hotel reservation systems to secure transportation arrangements, hotel accommodations, and other travel-related services. These resources help tour managers ensure that all logistical arrangements are in place, ensuring a comfortable and efficient experience for everyone involved.
  • Emergency and Safety Equipment : Safety is a top priority for tour managers, and they are responsible for preparing for emergencies or unforeseen situations. They carry first aid kits, emergency contact lists, and other safety equipment to handle medical emergencies, accidents, or other crises that may arise during the tour. Having the necessary equipment readily available allows tour managers to respond promptly and effectively in challenging situations.

By leveraging these tools and equipment, tour managers can navigate the complexities of tour management with ease. These resources enable them to stay organized, communicate effectively, manage finances, and address any issues that may arise during the tour.

Famous Tour Managers

Frequently asked questions, who employs a tour manager.

Tour managers are hired by booking agents or artist managers to organize logistics, personnel, communications, and schedules for concert tours.

What is the difference between a manager and a tour manager?

A tour manager plans and ensures smooth tours, while a business manager handles overall career and business affairs of an artist or band.

What is the job outlook for a tour manager?

Tour manager jobs are in demand, with a projected 8% growth from 2018 to 2028 in the United States.

What is the daily life of a tour manager?

Tour managers handle travel plans, venue coordination, financial management, media interactions, and local services at each tour stop to ensure smooth operations.

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Different types of tours and how to manage them: A guide for first-time tour operators

what is post tour management

By Rezdy — 13 May 2014

operations   tour operator   tourism business strategy

Updated September 2022 – So you’ve decided that you want to start running tours. But now, you’re stuck on exactly how to approach your tour operator business and the types of tours to offer.

There are a lot of moving parts in any tour operation management. When it comes to understanding how tour operators work , you need to know:

What market you’re working with? What are their demographics, and where do they do their research before they decide what to do at your destination? How much capital do you need? You may require a significant amount, as it can take up to 5 years to establish a recognized presence in your destination.

The answer to these questions will rely heavily on the structure you choose for your tour operation.

Types of tour packages

With a vast variety of different types of tours, it can be an overwhelming task to narrow down your options into a detailed tour plan.

Here are some of the different types of tour package options to consider:

Full and half-day tours

These tours are run within a day or less. Tourists typically love them because they can experience a destination easily and without much hassle.

Target market

Types of tour package

Your exact target market will depend on the location and activities included in your tour. Some common target markets for full and half-day tours include:

  • Tourists for business or leisure
  • Families, backpackers, or single travelers
  • People who share a specific interest
  • International or local travelers

Typical size

Full and half-day tours typically tend to include anywhere from 2 to 50 individuals.

Typical costs

Costs that may have to be accounted for when organizing full and half-day tours include:

  • Transportation
  • Admission fees
  • Tour operator software

Example activities

  • City walking tours
  • Surfing, snorkeling, cruises, or any other water-based activities
  • Wine tasting

Extended or multi-day tours

Also known as multi-day tours, these tours cover 2 or more days linked together with overnight accommodation stops. They generally use coaches for transport, with included accommodation at a hotel or motel.

They have regular departure dates that can be pre-sold to individual customers well in advance of the date of travel.

You shouldn’t confuse these tours with safari tours that use four-wheel drive vehicles and camping or budget accommodations. Those are slightly different in nature (more on that later).

  • Adventure tourists
  • International tourists

Extended or multi-day tours tend to be smaller than half or full-day tours.

Typical cost

Due to their prolonged duration, there are comparatively more things that must be addressed when organizing multi-day tours:

  • Accommodation
  • Hiking or cycling tours
  • Cross-country/ multi-city tours

Group package tours

Types of tours

Specialized groups will jump on organized one-off itineraries that are aimed at their demographic.

  • Overseas/interstate tourist groups
  • Pensioners groups
  • Sporting clubs

Group package tours can be both large and small.

There are numerous different costs that may have to be considered when organizing a group package tour. This includes:

  • Admission costs
  • Touring historic and cultural sites
  • Adventure experiences
  • Educational experiences

Safari camping tours

These are extended tours that are aimed at small groups of people with similar interests. Using a four-wheel drive or coach, those interested in adventure or eco-tourism experience will camp outdoors or use budget accommodations. There is often a communal approach to preparing campsites and meals.

  • Adventurists and hikers
  • Individual travelers or small groups
  • Younger travelers in their 20s and 30s

While there is no fixed number, safari camping tours tend to comprise somewhere between 10 – 20 individuals. The recommended number will depend on the location of the tour and the level of expertise of the tour guides.

Factors that influence the cost of safari camping tours include:

  • Camping goods (i.e. tents, portable cooking utensils, camp chairs, lanterns)
  • Mountain hikes
  • Wildlife observation
  • Adventure activities

Passenger charter

Unlike the previous tours we mentioned, this type of tour operation provides vehicles for general hire by individuals, sporting clubs, social groups, and school groups.

Organizations that are running specific events or activities for a larger number of individuals.

Passenger charters can be of any size. Unless multiple vehicles are hired, they will require vehicles that accommodate for their tour size.

The typical cost to run a passenger charter service is mostly determined by the mode of transportation you choose. To ensure an efficient service, it’s also important to invest in an all-in-one vehicle or boat charter software to schedule your drop-offs and pickups.

  • School excursions
  • Hotel transfers

Small charter vehicles

Tour operation management

These are vehicles used to provide limousine services and personal tours. You may have to obtain a license to do so.

  • Families, couples, and small groups
  • Individual travelers
  • Luxury travelers

Small charter vehicles will typically be between 2 to 6 individuals.

The cost of running a small charter vehicle service will depend on the activity you are providing. Costs that may be associated with this type of service include:

  • Personalized tours
  • Hot air balloon or helicopter rides
  • Winery tours

How to market your tour operations and ensure streamlined tour operation management

Once you have decided on the type of tour you are planning to provide customers, it’s time to finally get started on solidifying your plans by setting up and marketing your business.

Here are 9 stages that must be considered when marketing different types of tours and reaching valuable customers:

1. Research the destination

What kind of travelers are most likely to visit your destination? Is there anything specific that they are looking to experience?

Understanding the demographics that your destination attracts is vital to creating a strong marketing plan that takes into account your target audience. By researching the location of your tour business, you will gain a better understanding of how to refine your marketing strategy and advertise your business in a way that resonates with your target market.

2. Understand your target market

Who is your target market? What channels do they typically use for booking? Is there a specific type of marketing that they will respond to more strongly (i.e. social media)?

After you’ve pinpointed your target market, a key part of effective tour operation management is creating a strong marketing plan that responds to the behavior of your ideal customer. If a majority of your target customer base is staying in a specific location or visiting similar businesses, think of creative ways to lean into this in your marketing. Could you form partnerships with specific hotels? Or, if you are aiming to target your tour services to a younger demographic, can you start an Instagram campaign for your business?

Conducting target market research will also allow you to tailor your tour operation management and structure to better respond to the wants of your customers.

3. Prepare an itinerary of your tour

How long will your tour take? Will you require different itineraries if your tour is dependent on the weather or the interests of your customers?

Create several different itineraries and carefully analyze each one to determine the itinerary that makes the best use of its time. Research how your competitors are structuring their itineraries and invent creative ways to enhance their itinerary by providing a more fulfilling experience.

Sample different routes and consider trying out the tour in person to better assess the time you’ll need to complete it from beginning to end.

4. Find and negotiate with suppliers

different types of tours

Can you partner with local hotels, businesses, or travel agencies? Will you consider partnering with online travel agencies to reach your target market?

Now that you’ve determined your target audience, it’s time to find suppliers that will enhance your access to them. Possible partnerships with suppliers may include:

  • Car rental agencies
  • Visitor information centers and tourism bureaus
  • Local businesses
  • Other tour businesses

Before approaching suppliers, ensure that you collect the necessary information to convince them of the mutual benefits of partnering with your business. Discover tips on how to develop local strategic partnerships with businesses here .

5. Set a price for your tour package

What are competitors targeting for their tours? How can you balance what customers are willing to pay with the cost of organizing your tour?

Pricing is incredibly important for a tour operator business plan . The price of your tour package will influence your ability to compete with the different types of tour businesses within your local market. To ensure that your pricing both attracts customers and generates a profit, you will need to create a solid tour pricing strategy that takes into account the different types of tours your business will offer.

There are two main strategies when it comes to pricing your tour business: marking-up and marking-down. Both are pretty self-explanatory: with a markup strategy, you will set your prices to a higher amount in order to generate a decent profit. Meanwhile, a mark-down strategy offers lower prices and generates a smaller profit.

Each strategy has its advantages and drawbacks. Learn more about selecting the right price for your tour package here .

6. Create a brochure for your tour

How can you best represent your tour using eye-catching pictures and short, engaging content? If you are offering various different types of tour packages, how will you communicate their differences in a visual format?

Brochures may sound outdated, but they play an important role in attracting tourists who rely on physical handouts to plan out their daily schedules while traveling. Hotels also often use brochures to provide information to their visitors about local attractions. But when your brochure is set amidst a sea of similarly-themed pamphlets in a hotel lobby, it can be difficult to stand out.

Creating a tour brochure relies on creativity and a touch of graphic design skills. Luckily, there are numerous free software packages on the web (including Microsoft Word) that can be used to create stunning, unique brochures.

Try creating several different brochures and researching which one appeals best to your target audience through A/B testing.

7. Get a tour booking system

handle different types of tours with an online booking system

How will you manage bookings? Does your system offer real-time booking that takes into account the various channels of booking and different types of tour packages?

Your tour booking system will form the foundation of your tour operation management. It’s crucial that you find the right kind of online booking system  that supports your business and streamlines the tedious processes related to booking management including:

  • Guest communication
  • Sales activity analysis
  • Inventory management
  • Price management

Rezdy is a leading booking software that allows you to manage your business on the go. No matter where or how you’re receiving bookings, Rezdy provides you with an all-in-one tour and activity booking system that’s simple to use and updated in real-time. Start a 21-day free trial of Rezdy to enjoy more bookings with less stress.

8. Start promoting your tour package

How will you promote your tour package? Are you reaching the right places to communicate with your target audience?

Once you’ve addressed the nitty-gritty details of your tour or activity, you’ll finally be able to start promoting your business and the different types of tours you are offering. Some key ideas to consider in your marketing include:

  • Start establishing a steady presence on social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube
  • Optimize your website and ensure it’s mobile friendly
  • Harness the power of online reviews by encouraging customers to leave positive reviews
  • List your business on Google
  • Consider starting a blog on your website
  • Reach out to local businesses to develop partnerships

9. Deliver an unforgettable tour experience

One of the best ways to attract new opportunities is to deliver a unique and enjoyable experience that will transform customers into advocates for your business. After all, each customer has access to a broader network of friends and family, who may one day be interested in signing up for your tour.

Of course, the way you go about organizing an unforgettable tour experience will depend on the nature of your tour itself. But having an organized system set in place that encourages efficient resource management and guest communication is key to providing customers with an incredible experience.

If you want to enhance your tour operation management, begin a FREE 21-day trial of Rezdy to experience how automating your booking management can transform your business. Alternatively, book a demo session with our team to see how Rezdy can fit within your business.

If you enjoyed this article – Different types of tours and how to manage them – make sure to subscribe to our newsletter , where you’ll receive the latest marketing tips, business operation advice, and industry news straight into your inbox.

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8 Keys to Becoming a Successful Tour Manager


Managing tours can be wildly difficult. It’s not for the faint of heart.

The days and nights can be long, and it’s easy to become discouraged out on the road.

But if you follow a set of guiding principles, your job will become easier, people will respect you more, your team will achieve great results, and you’ll go farther in your career.

I’ve been a tour manager for the last 12 years, and I want to share with you 8 things that helped me succeed along the way.

1. Secure Your Job

First, it’s important to ​ secure your job ​.

I always tell young tour managers, “You can’t effectively take care of other people unless you take care of yourself first.”

And that starts the moment you get contacted about managing a tour.

You need to know exactly what you’re expected to do and how much you’re going to be compensated if you complete the job and do it well.

This concept of knowing how much you’ll be paid may seem elementary to you, but I’ve seen so many touring crew (including myself) get so caught up in how cool the job is that they forget to clarify how much money they’re going to make.

If you jump into managing a tour without first clarifying your job description and compensation, you’re setting yourself up for future disappointment and possible resentment - forcing you to regret working your dream job.

2. Learn the Artist’s Vision

The second key to becoming a successful tour manager is to ​ learn the artist’s vision for the tour.

You can better prepare for a tour when you know the overall vision.

This includes the whole touring process - travel styles, production, personnel, spending, culture, vibe, etc.

And I recommend learning all of this before you start doing any planning, budgeting or advancing.

When you learn the artist's vision, you’ll be able to make quick and easy decisions about what has to happen in order to execute each show.

Plus, you’ll be able to anticipate what your artist needs before they even realize they need it.

3. Communicate Well

The third key to becoming a successful tour manager is to always ​ communicate well ​. Great tour managers are great communicators. On the phone, over email, and in person.

There are three general guiding principles that I like to follow when communicating in my job: be quick, be concise, and be considerate.

These principles are especially important to remember while sending emails, but they also carry into other means of communication as well.

First, let’s talk about being ​ quick ​.

Respond quickly when someone reaches out to you.

We’re working in a fast paced, constantly changing industry and our communication should reflect that.

No, you don’t always have to be on your phone or in front of a computer, but don’t neglect your email or texts about an important subject.

The longer you wait to communicate about a problem, the bigger it can grow. Second, be ​ concise ​. Get to the point. Be direct.

You’re going to be very busy on the road, and the people you’ll be talking with are just as busy, if not busier.

Managers, agents, and labels have rosters full of artists that have different schedules and teams to attend to.

So be concise, but don’t leave out anything important - which may seem contradictory.

You’ll need to learn to filter through the information, communicating only what is essential.

It’s also important to learn how to read and write emails without tone.

Being short ≠ being rude.

Most people aren’t being rude when sending an email that says a single sentence like, “Please send.”

Being concise helps us maximize our time. Sometimes that means sending a really short email.

But being concise does not give you permission to intentionally be a jerk.

Even if you’re at odds with someone you’re working with, rude communication is always looked down upon and will never fare well for you.

Third, be ​ considerate ​.

Think about these things when communicating to your team:

Who is my audience?

Does this person need to know all of this information?

How should I communicate with this person?

Consider who you’re communicating with. Are you communicating with your crew? Your manager? Your artist? A venue representative?

For example, you may only need to communicate a schedule to your crew, but you may want to communicate every detail to your manager.

You may want to make sure your artist’s personal email isn’t copied onto a chain with the venue staff when going over production details.

One of the most important things to learn when communicating is how to communicate with your artist.

You need to learn how ​ they ​ like communicating.

Every artist and team you’ll work with will communicate differently. So you’ll need to learn how everyone likes to communicate and then adhere to those standards.

Tour managers and production managers are typically expected to be better communicators than other types of touring professionals.

But no matter what job you have on the road, if you communicate well with all parties, people will love working with you.

Remember to be quick, be concise, and be considerate in all of your future communication.

4. Follow Up

Key number four, ​ follow up on ​ all ​ show details. You can’t assume promoters, production personnel, and venue representatives will always know what you need.

I didn’t learn this until I made a ​ huge ​ mistake.

About a year into my career as a tour manager, I got a call to go on the road with an artist.

On my first day as the new tour manager with this artist, we showed up around 10AM to headline a large US festival.

Everyone was excited because it was a warm, gorgeous day and we were about to play for over 10,000 people.

Then the stage manager brought me some bad news. There were no instruments on the stage, backstage, or waiting for us on a truck.

We had flown to this show, and typically when you fly to a show you have to rent backline locally.

I realized in that moment I had forgotten to follow up on ordering backline for the show.

Through some quick and creative problem solving, we found the right instruments and saved the show.

But unfortunately, my first weekend with a new artist quickly became my last weekend with that artist.

If only I had followed up on the backline order.

Not following up on that ONE detail cost me my job, over $20,000 of income that summer, and an important business relationship.

Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Even if everything has already been confirmed weeks in advance, following up on all the details 24-48 hours before the show will help keep small items from falling through the cracks.

5. Stay Organized

The fifth key to becoming a successful tour manager is to ​ stay organized. A huge part of being a great tour manager is knowing how to organize the flow of many different types of information.

At times you might feel like you are drinking from a fire hydrant with the amount of information being thrown at you, but you have to stay organized.

There are many different project management apps you can use to stay organized, but I recommend simply using Google Sheets.

It’s free, it’s customizable, it’s collaborative, and it’s in the cloud - meaning you always have the information you need at your fingertips.

In case you’ve got an event coming up and you don’t have a good advance sheet, I want to share mine with you.

I’ve organized arena-level tours, mini-festivals, single shows, and live stream events all with the same sheet.

Click here , download it, and customize it how you want by clicking File > Make a copy.

6. Keep a Great Attitude

Key number six, ​ keep a great attitude! No one wants to be around someone who’s a drag on the road.

In our ​ How to be a Tour Manager ​ course, I teach about what it means to be a good “hang” on the road.

Touring is extremely interpersonal. You’re always surrounded by people you have to live and work with.

How you interact with others and how you respond to tough situations on the road will ultimately determine whether or not you will be hired again by that artist.

Touring professionals who are in extreme demand typically have good attitudes and are enjoyable to be around.

I said it earlier, touring is not for the faint of heart. There will be days on the road where you will just want to scream (or cry).

Learning how to be extremely optimistic and keep your stress levels in check even in tough situations will be a major key to your future successes on the road.

7. Don’t be afraid of conflict

You may strive to always have a good attitude, but ​ you can’t be afraid of conflict ​. That’s key number seven.

I’ll be the first to admit, engaging in conflict is not fun. But it’s absolutely necessary! Because nothing great can ever be done without engaging in some form of conflict.

You can’t hike up a mountain, lose weight, win a ball game, learn something new, or manage a great tour without engaging and navigating through some type of conflict.

The word conflict has a bad connotation; it gets a bad rap. But did you know that conflict within a team can actually be ​ healthy ​?

If you’ve built trust with your team and your team respects each other, conflict becomes more than just an argument.

With trust present, conflict ultimately becomes the pursuit of truth or the pursuit of the best possible outcome in a scenario.

So if you are in pursuit of the best possible outcome in a scenario, why wouldn’t you confront someone if they’re hurting the vision or the goal of the team?

Why wouldn’t you have a conversation with someone who is not helping your team (or tour) achieve great results?

Learning how to actively address conflict head-on rather than sweeping it under the rug is going to help you overcome many tough situations in every part of your life, and it’s going to help you manage a more successful tour.

8. Continually Improve Yourself

Lastly, you have to ​ continually be improving yourself ​.

Why do you need to continually improve yourself?

Because ​you are a product.

You get paid in exchange for what you’re worth and for the services you provide.

And if you want to keep getting hired and paid more money on the road, you have to continually be improving the ​ value ​ of the product or service that you provide.

For example, say you only know how to push cases and pack a truck. Well, you’re only economically worth about $15 bucks an hour.

And if you know how to set up and tune instruments properly, you’re worth a little more.

If you know how to lead a crew, you’re worth a bit more.

And if you can manage a tour, mix a show, lead a crew, set up instruments, and make sure every piece of gear is in top working condition every night, your value will keep going up and up and up.

You as a product become way more valuable because you are able to provide more services.

You save the artist money because they don’t have to bring out multiple people on the road to do all the jobs. You’ve got it covered.

You save the artist money because you keep all their gear in working order.

You give your team peace of mind because they know they can count on you to lead them on a tour.

And when you can prove that you save the artist lots of money, they’ll have no problem increasing your pay.

Because to them, working with YOU is a great investment, rather than working with someone else who doesn’t think like you.

I’m sure you get the picture here.

No matter what job you have, you are a product on the market, and you should continually be improving your skills and services to increase your value.

Once again, here are 8 Keys to Becoming a Successful Tour Manager:

Secure your job.

Learn the artist’s vision for the tour.

Communicate well.

Always follow up on ​ all ​ show details.

Stay organized.

Keep a great attitude.

Don’t be afraid of conflict.

Continually improve yourself.

A Great Way to Improve Your Skills

If you’re ready to up your game and learn how to lead your team on the road, join Tour Management Made Easy . It’s a program for young tour managers with bi-weekly coaching sessions and access to our ​ How to be a Tour Manag ​ er course. It could be the best thing you’ve ever given yourself.

Whether you’re a current touring professional or a student dreaming of becoming a tour manager, Tour Management Made Easy will help you gain the knowledge, the tools, and the confidence to be able to hit the road and successfully manage your next tour.

When you enroll in the program, not only will you immediately start gaining a new skill that’s valuable to artists on the road, but you’re also going to learn tips, tricks, and step-by-step processes that will make people love working with you. Plus, you’ll be surrounded by a community of people who are growing together.

Click here to learn more

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Welcome to Tour Management 101, a Youtube series that teaches basic and advanced level courses of managing concerts and live music events. Our show helped many music groups during the Covid-19 pandemic, and now we're here to help you. Subscribe to our channel to learn more!

Tour management 101 is a free online learning resource dedicated to teaching the next generation of the concert touring industry. Our weekly webinar series focuses both on the fundamentals of touring and the wide-ranging skill set required to be successful in the live event industry. Through group panels and one-on-one interviews with some of the most respected names in our industry, we are educating and growing a global network of students.

Hosted by a diverse group of experienced tour managers and featuring guests from across the touring spectrum, our shared goal is to strip away some of the mystery surrounding life on the road and make learning about the concert industry accessible and fun.

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Tour Manager

Career Overview

A Tour Manager manages transportation, scheduling, and the financial aspects of an artist’s time on the road.

Alternate Titles

Road Manager, Concert Tour Manager

Avg. Salary

Salary Range

$46K – $71K 1

Table of Contents

Career Description

Career outlook, career path, experience & skills, education & training, additional resources.

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People also ask.

What is the role of a tour manager?

What education is needed to become a tour manager?

Do tour managers make a lot of money?

The job of a Tour Manager is to make sure that life on the road runs smoothly for everyone involved. This means getting the band safely to venues and hotels, managing money coming in and money going out, and dealing with Promoters , Ticket Service Directors and Venue Managers .

Tour Manager David Norman says that his “day consists of moving the artist and the band from city to city. Along with my Travel Agent, Tour Coordinator , Tour Bus Driver , Tour Publicist , booking flights, ground, hotels, etc. Doing day sheets (info on what your day will be like including departure times, showtimes, soundcheck times, travel after the show, etc.)”

Tour Managers also work with Band Directors , Travel Agents, Band Members, Sound and Lighting Techs , Instrument Techs ( Guitar Technicians , etc.), Sound Engineers , Tour Bus Drivers , Tour Coordinators , Production Managers , Tour Accountants, Advance Person , Festival Directors and the Road Crew .

A tour manager is the logistical backbone of an artist’s tour, overseeing all aspects of planning, coordination, and execution to make sure everything runs smoothly. This includes organizing transportation, accommodations, budgeting, negotiations with venues, and schedules for the touring party. And the touring party often includes musicians, crew members, and support staff. Many times, a tour manager will stand in as one of the band members.

On average, Tour Managers earn approximately $54,300 annually. The average salary range for Tour Managers runs from $46,000 to $71,000.

Tour Managers are paid week-by-week, and payment varies based on the tour budget, the length of the tour, the stature of the band, etc. Usually, a Tour Manager gets a base salary, plus expenses (meals, for example), and sometimes a per diem for incidental expenses that come up on the road.

The income of tour managers vary widely depending on things like the size and popularity of the artists they work with, the length and scale of the tour, and their level of experience and expertise. Tour managers, especially those just starting out or managing indie acts, usually make enough to get by. But you should’t expect to get rich by being a tour manager. If you’re up for the responsibility and living life on the road, it can be a rewarding and fulfilling career.

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Tour Managers have a lot of responsibility, and not a lot of days off. Norman says, “I generally work at least 8 – 9 months out of the year. I’m a workaholic and need projects to keep me motivated.”

The best way to advance in this career is to have a handle on several different aspects of touring so that you can work in varying capacities. Norman says that “when I was coming up, my mentor advised me to learn EVERYTHING about touring, so I did. I can tour manage, production manage, [do] tour accounting, Promoter Rep, etc. Learning all of these different things will make your phone ring with more jobs over being just one dimensional.

“For example, this year I was the Tour Manager/Tour Accountant for John Legend (finished in February after 5 ½ years touring with him). Then I filled in as Tour Manager for a one-off date for Aaron Neville and then was Tour Director for the Brit Floyd tour and then Production Manager for Prince.

“In two weeks, I’ll go out as Tour Accountant for Avicii (filling in for a friend) and then I go out with One Direction as Promoter Rep August – October.” Advancement also comes from experience and building connections; most Tour Managers start with smaller, lesser-known bands before hitting the road with Grammy-winning, millionaire Rock Stars .

Like so many music industry careers, networking and word-of-mouth recommendations are the best way to get a job as a Tour Manager. Many Tour Managers start off by working with a friend’s band or in another music industry career.

UK-based Tour Manager Bob Slayer says, “There are so many ways to get into a career in music but like any creative field most of them involve working for next to nothing for quite a while, this is because a lot of people want to follow this path, so if you won’t work for nothing there are plenty of other people who will and they will get the breaks.

“If you have some aptitude for what you do then there comes a time where the experience and knowledge you have picked up working endless free or low paid hours begin to make you a scarcer, more valuable commodity.

“Back in 2002/2003, I was trying to get into music journalism. I was reviewing bands for a bunch of fanzines and just starting to get the odd bit of work from magazines. I interviewed a band by email – Electric Eel Shock, a Japanese band who were touring America at the time.

One of the questions I asked them was “Do you have any plans to come to the UK?” and this was the only one they answered! ‘You get gig; we come.’ And so I did.

“A few weeks later they came and stopped on my floor and did a few gigs around London. They blew a few people away and were asked to support a couple of larger bands.

The band then, impressed with what I had set up, invited me to go back to [the] USA with them and to SXSW. There I set up an interview with MTV for them and managed to get the head Booker from Roskilde Festival in Denmark to come see them live.

“She immediately booked them to headline a stage… This sealed it and they asked me to be their Manager . This I did for the next 6 years solid as well as tour managing and also acting as Agent in some territories.

I still work with them and just set up a European tour with them. Working and touring with Electric Eel Shock led to working with a number of other artists such as The Bloodhound Gang, Public Enemy, MC Devvo, etc.”

  • Start at the bottom. Get experience in different facets of the live music industry.
  • Network. Get the word out that you’re available to work as a Tour Manager.
  • Be willing to work for free or very little.
  • Brush up your budgeting skills.
  • Stay responsible and don’t get sucked into partying! You’re the one who needs to see that everyone gets to the next location safely and on time.

Norman, like many Tour Managers, started off as a musician himself. This experience gave him an understanding of what tour life was like, and what band members would need from their Tour Manager. He also has experience as a recording studio Sound Engineer and Mixer.

After working with the S.O.S. Band on an album, they asked him to come along on tour with them as a Front-of-House Engineer and Tour Manager. In general, Tour Managers have experience in one or more music industry careers before heading out with a band. Skill-wise, they must be able to handle finances, stay on schedule and handle all kinds of people with varying temperaments.

Working as Tour Manager isn’t for everybody. Norman says this is a good career for “someone who’s patient, is proactive instead of reactive and is a forward-thinker and can multitask!”

”Learn everything you can,” Norman says. “Read everything you can and above all, find a mentor to help guide you. College would be great to learn people and life skills.” Although higher education isn’t a requirement, an understanding of finance and budgeting is.

You don’t necessarily need a formal education, but a degree in music business or a related field can help. The more important thing is getting experience, being passionate about the artists and tours you manage. It can help to first go on tours as a different member of the tour crew, like the road crew, merch crew, or just general support crew.

There are no unions for Tour Managers, although UK-based Tour Manager Bob Slayer recommends the Music Managers Forum for those interested in artist management.

This site has some useful insight into the business of being a Tour Manager .

What skills do you need to be a Tour Manager?

To be successful, Tour Managers need skills in time management, interpersonal communication, budgeting and finance. They must be able to solve issues on the fly, deal with all kinds of people, and ensure everyone’s having a good time.

Most Tour Managers know the music industry inside-and-out, having worked in some other capacity before getting into tour management. It can be helpful to have an understanding of live concert sound, performance gear, and musical instruments.

What education do you need to be a Tour Manager?

Majoring in Music Business or Music Industry Studies as an undergraduate can be helpful for aspiring Tour Managers. However, many Tour Managers get all the education they need through working in various music industry roles such as live sound, venue management, and performance. These positions help them get to know what life on the road is like.

What they haven’t already learned, they learn on the road.

Who goes on tour with an artist?

Touring is big business and therefore all kinds of people go on tour along with an artist. Some people you might find on the tour bus include the Tour Manager, Production Manager , Roadies / Stagehands , Tour Bus Driver , Guitar Tech , Lighting Tech , Background Singers , musicians, and the people selling shirts, tote bags, and other memorabilia at the merch tent.

What is the single biggest suggestion you would give to someone wanting to get into this career?

Bob Slayer says, “Get whatever experience under your belt. Bands always need to get to gigs, if you want to make yourself indispensable, buy yourself a van and offer yourself for free, or for expenses, or cheaply to bands. Maybe you don’t always want to tour but it will give you an insight into the goings-on of bands and you should be able to go from there into other areas.

“One fan of Electric Eel Shock used to come to all their gigs and so when I couldn’t tour manage them for a while I asked him if, in return for us taking him to the gigs, he would do some production. He said yes and became their Tour Manager for a while. Another fan got Electric Eel Shock a feature in his local newspaper.

“I encouraged him to do some more and he got us features in several other local newspapers on the tour. I introduced him to other bands he could also help out and within a year he packed in his job and started a PR company.”

What’s the #1 mistake people make when trying to get into this career?

Slayer: “Being a dick!”

Norman: “Thinking that it’s all glamorous and so easy. It’s definitely NOT. Also, people who think they know it all. I learn stuff each and every day from people who know less than me, to people who have much more knowledge and wisdom than myself.”

What is the question people should ask about this career but rarely do?

Slayer: “What the feck am I doing?”

Norman: “Do you think this would be right for me based on my personality?”

What is one thing I should have asked which I didn’t?

Norman: “I’ll have to think on that one. GREAT QUESTION!”

If you could describe in one word what makes you successful, what would it be?

Slayer: ‘I am far from successful—but I am happy!”

Norman: “Diligence.”

Extra Credit: The Beatles or Rolling Stones?

Slayer: “There was a time when this was a polarizing question. You were in one camp or the other. There have been many other this band vs. that band. But I think it is hard to say anything other than both.”

Norman: “Beatles. The Rolling Stones are SOOOOOOO overrated.”


David Norman & Bob Slayer

David Norman  is a veteran Tour Manager who has worked as a musician, Recording Engineer and Mixer, Tour Accountant, and Production Manager. From 2008-2014 he worked as the Tour Manager/Tour Accountant for John Legend and recently worked with Prince on his European/UK tour. Norman has worked with stars like Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Toni Braxton, Arcade Fire, Joss Stone, Alicia Keys, Green Day, and They Might Be Giants.

He has been profiled on Roadies of Color United , FOH Online , and Billboard .

Bob Slayer is a Tour Manager in the UK, where he has worked with Snoop Dogg, Electric Eel Shock, Iggy & the Stooges, Public Enemy, The Bloodhound Gang, and the Magic Numbers. In addition to his work with live music, he also now works with Comedians. He has appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival every year since 2008 and is himself an award-winning Comedian.

  • 1 . "Tour Manager Salaries" . published: Dec 22, 2019. retrieved on: Nov 7, 2019

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