How to Write an Agritourism Business Plan + Example Templates

Agritourism business owner works with local plants.
Author: Elon Glucklich

Elon Glucklich

Elon Glucklich

5 min. read

Updated February 7, 2024

Agritourism is a rapidly growing industry. From winery tours, to concerts, to letting tourists experience a day working on a farm or ranch, farmers more than tripled their revenue through agritourism uses over the past two decades.

The practice has opened up valuable new revenue streams for entrepreneurial farmland owners looking to diversify their traditional farming operations.

But there are serious challenges to running a commercial enterprise on agricultural land. Any farm, forest or ranch-based business has to balance the expectations and safety of their customers with the need to preserve the environment and maintain daily agricultural operations. There can also be complex regulations to work through.

And even if you’re in the clear legally, you’re at the mercy of seasonal fluctuations and weather disruptions.

Yet all of these challenges can be mitigated with effective business planning. It’s an essential piece to secure funding from an investor or a loan from a bank, develop a solid marketing strategy, and identify opportunities for diversifying revenue sources.

An agritourism business plan contains much of the same information you’d see for other industries. Here on Bplans, we’ve got a great guide already on how to write a traditional business plan. In this article, we’ll look at how to write a business plan specifically for an agritourism business. You can also download our free sample agritourism business plan to get started.

1. Thorough market research is essential

Because of the startup costs and unique land use considerations involved in agritourism, it’s crucial to invest significant time in researching your market before getting started. 

If you’ve already identified the site of your business, make sure you understand the allowable activities on the property. Checking with the relevant government agencies and documenting that your proposed use meets all the legal requirements will add credibility to your plan.

Conduct your own research in the local and regional tourism industry by compiling information on:

  • Regional demographics and psychographics
  • Seasonal tourism and travel trends
  • Visitor numbers at regional tourist destinations
  • Direct competitors (other agritourism offerings) and indirect competitors (other recreation activities)

This information will help you understand what sets your business apart, so you can develop effective marketing campaigns around your competitive advantages.

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2. Emphasize the Mission in Your Plan

Succeeding in an industry that exposes the public to nature requires an authentic commitment to environmental stewardship. Your business plan is an opportunity to show that commitment. The plan lets you highlight the core values and mission that drive your agritourism venture, and explain how they align with the growing demand for authentic, sustainability-focused travel experiences.

Depending on the type of agritourism venture you plan to start and the atmosphere you hope to create, you can detail how your business will meet those demands. Will your business cater to an unmet need in an area with limited outdoor experiences? Or will it provide a one-of-a-kind offering in a region already known for nature-based attractions?

These are all factors to take into consideration when crafting your mission statement, and preparing to develop operations and marketing strategies.

3. Prepare for Unique Challenges

Operating an agritourism business comes with inherent risks, from weather-related disruptions to economic downturns that reduce tourism activity.

It’s important to identify the potential risks and challenges your business may face and develop contingency plans for addressing them.

Is your land owned or leased? Are your employees part-time, full-time or seasonal? From an operational perspective, you should show an understanding of the staffing, training, facility, maintenance and safety requirements.

Describe the processes and systems you will use to manage bookings, customer service, event coordination and visitor feedback. In addition, explain your plan for managing the agricultural side of your business. Your operations plan should demonstrate that you have a comprehensive understanding of both the tourism and agricultural aspects of your business.

4. Nail Your Go-To-Market Strategy

The sales and marketing section of your business plan is where you’ll outline how you plan to reach your target audience and promote your agritourism offerings.

Start by identifying your target market segments, such as families, couples, eco-conscious travelers, or educational groups. These are the audiences you’ll tailor your promotional efforts to.

Discuss your advertising and promotional efforts, emphasizing the most relevant channels to your target market. These might include niche travel websites, eco-tourism forums or local tourism boards. Consider creating content that will showcase your authentic experiences, sustainable practices and educational opportunities. Social media outreach and blogging can promote your business and create valuable partnership opportunities.

Speaking of partnerships, detail any plans to engage with tour operators, local businesses and other industry partners to create package deals, joint promotions, or referral programs that increase exposure for your business.

Your plan should also include a pricing strategy for your offerings. Make sure the prices you set cover your costs, and are competitive with other tourism offerings.

5. Plan for the Future

Though it’s growing in popularity, agritourism revenue makes up less than 6 percent of all farm-related income, according to recent data.

Some business models have been established around agritourism offerings like farm stays, educational workshops, farm-to-table dining experiences and seasonal festivals. But uncertainties around regional preferences, seasonal factors, and regulatory changes make it more challenging to plan an agritourism business than some other ventures.

That’s why you should explain in your business plan how you will measure success and make changes when they become necessary. Outline possibilities for scaling your business over time, including any new products or services, facility upgrades, or additional locations.

Also, consider how you will respond to external threats, from new competitors in your area, to economic downturns, to poor weather seasons.

Taking time to and plan your agritourism business will help you respond to unforeseen challenges and pivot to meet new opportunities. You’ll need it to ensure you can afford to add a new service, purchase new equipment, host events to promote your business or add employees.

Download your free Agritourism business plan template

If you’re ready to start your own agritourism business, you can download our free sample agritourism business plan from our library of over 550 sample business plans. Get started today, and see first-hand why businesses that plan grow 30% faster than those that don’t.

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Content Author: Elon Glucklich

Elon is a marketing specialist at Palo Alto Software, working with consultants, accountants, business instructors and others who use LivePlan at scale. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Oregon.