This case study was written by Marie Stephenson, and published by Project Warwickshire, a tourism and hospitality business support programme by the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce

Please describe your business

Go Cotswolds is an award-winning, family-run guided tour company, based in Shakespeare’s Stratford-Upon-Avon.

They offer friendly guided tours of the glorious Cotswolds National Landscape, inviting you to sample the beautiful towns, villages and scenery on offer.

An award winning, guided tour company, their popular tours include ‘Cotswolds in a Day’ and ‘Cotswolds Walks and Villages’, as well as private Cotswolds tours for up to 16 people. Their team of driver-guides, who are all experts in their field, have a wealth of knowledge that they impart during the minibus tours.

Of course, there are stop-offs and places to explore along the way, including lots of scope for local gifts and lunch!

What motivated you to seek business support?

Tom Benjamin, who runs Go Cotswolds with his wife Lisa, said: “We had been running the business for 8 years and we were looking to improve our efficiency and explore ways of scaling. With the ongoing pandemic hanging around it was certainly a challenge.”

How did you feel before you received our business support?

“The support from Marie has really helped us”, continued Tom. “Working with Marie, we were able to see our business from different perspectives. We already had a marketing plan, and felt that our website served us well, but we had identified some areas for improvement that we wished to discuss with Marie.

“After sharing our vision for the future of our business, Marie was able to give us some more insights that we had not thought of. We knew that we struggled to take the business forward whilst working full time in it. I am a driver-guide and I love sharing my knowledge with our visitors, who come from all over the world. However, I knew that I needed to be a driving force if we were to grow and scale up. Marie’s suggestions took root and, as a result, we decided to change the way we work in certain areas. This allowed us to recruit more staff, leaving me to oversee the growth in a more focussed and structured way.

“She also helped us to get ‘post-pandemic’ ready.

“We now have 1 new additional driver-guide and we’re hoping to launch some new tours for next year, as well as working more closely with the travel trade. I still spend time as a driver-guide, but I am also being more productive on future-proofing the business and working towards our scale-up plans that were discussed with Marie.”

“The support from Marie was fantastic. As well has having more direction, we are also a lot more confident (empowered, even) to look for additional people to come and work for/with us, which is all part of our plans to scale up.”