Client Interview: William Tabone, Play Harder Tours, Jacksonville | SBDC UNF

Client Interview: William Tabone, Play Harder Tours, Jacksonville

William Tabone is all about having organized fun and his Jacksonville based tour business reflects that. We thought you would find this business particularly interesting.

What got you into the tour business?
After close to 30 years in financial services, which included 10 years of financial wholesaling I was forced to reinvent myself after the financial meltdown that occurred in 2008.  Reflecting upon the areas I loved in wholesaling, I was determined to build my future around those areas.  Entertaining stockbrokers was the fun part of that job, which included wining & dining, attending sporting events,  and of course, travel.  While many would complain about the ups and downs of the stock market, you would never have a complaint about an evening or weekend of fun! I believed that the same type of events that I assembled for my brokers would be well received by the public,  because after all, most people love to have fun!
What other cities do you visit besides Jacksonville?
While Jacksonville remains my primary focus for visiting groups,  we also offer a long list of Road Trip destinations. Play Harder Tours is a “Craft Beer” or beer-centric travel provider, with a destination list that includes Savannah, Tampa, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Boston as well as international destinations Amsterdam, Bruges and Munich.  We strive to include the best craft beer, great food, music and nightlife in all of our travel packages.  Our intent is provide our guests  an opportunity to play hard, have fun and never be at risk to drink & drive with all transportation provided at our destination city.
Who goes on your trips?
We have a wide range of patrons that share an interest in having a great time!  While most of our guests are beer drinker we do have a few that enjoy other libations.  On a typical trip you will find a mixture of both couples and singles, evenly mixed between male and female, with and age range between 30 and 55. We also offer bachelor and bachelorette weekend party trips, fraternity and sorority reunion trips, or simply a group of friends want to get away and have a great time!
How tour able is Jacksonville?
Jacksonville is great destination with so much to offer!  We have great weather, beautiful beaches, and some of the best golf in Florida.  The Jacksonville area boasts 8 breweries, plus several restaurants that brew their own beer,  We have great restaurants, affordable hotels, and some of the best entertainment values!  Our professional sports teams include the Jaguars, Suns, Sharks and Giants.  Play Harder Tours  was invited to this years Boston Globe Travel Show, attending along side Visit Jacksonville, we presented our city as an up and coming beer tour destination!
What is the hardest part of starting a business?
In my opinion the most important part of building a new business is to develop a workable, realistic business plan. That plan has to outline your goals, define your target markets and provide a flexible road map for the future success of your business.  The key there is to be flexible.  With that in mind, the hardest part of starting that business to know when and where to make adjustments.  It’s too easy to be married to an original concept, or to be inflexible in your methodology.  Adjustments are required, and can not be avoided.  Your business will evolve as you develop your markets and determine your areas of maximum profitability.
What advice would you give someone going into business?
At the risk of being long winded I would like to offer 3 pieces of advice:
Manage your assets!  It will take time to build your business and to develop a formula for success.  Be sure to use discretion in spending your business capital. You cant be cheap, but you cant be frivolous either.
Develop a support network, from time to time you will need a fresh set of eyes to see something that you might have missed.  Find successful people with a small business background to share ideas… Network!
Develop a social media strategy. Social media can be one of the most cost effective methods to spread the word on your business.

Play Harder Tours is based in Jacksonville, and needed a social media tie to the area to help drive our sales.  We created a conduit to the Jacksonville community with postings of trips, events and other things to do on the First Coast and beyond.  In the next few weeks we will be adding a RoadTrip JAX blog to the web site to tie it all together.  

Bill Tabone
Play Harder Tours

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