Starting a new business in any industry can be a difficult task; after all Bloomberg does report that 8 out of 10 startups don’t survive beyond the first 18 months. The medical tourism industry is no different, even if it is a thriving billion dollar industry. However, there are certain ways you can make sure your business not only stays afloat, but thrives like it’s meant to. Here are 6 mistakes that you should avoid as a medical tourism agency to make sure you do well.
1. Low Volume Of Consumer Referrals
The biggest office in the most posh area, the best website, partners and systems will not be any good if your customers are not referring other patients to you. The only way your business succeeds is through a growing customer base, and a steady flow of patients, and you can only achieve this by making sure your services are impeccable. Give each patient the best experience, and exceed all their expectations and they will surely talk about you. Word of mouth advertising is not only free; it is very effective as it helps assure your quality. Consumers will trust in your services when they hear good things from people who have experienced them.
2. Going In Without Proper Knowledge And Research
A lot of people assume that since they have experience as nurses, doctors or travel agents, they will be great at medical tourism. Medical tourism is a completely different ballgame entirely,an industry transporting patients overseas while they are critically ill or wounded, or recovering from major surgeries, and making sure their stay is pleasant at the same time.
This is why professional training in this industry is crucial to ensure you get it right, and it is important to get accreditation, training, or certification from a reputable company. It is tragic how many start-ups spend months trying to figure out complicated concepts within this industry just to save on costs, while in reality they end up financially hurting their business even more. It is important to have professional role models who can guide you along and save your time and money with knowledge and industry wisdom.
3. Attending Trade Shows Before Your Time
Trade shows can be a great way to meet potential strategic partners, but attending them before you have everything else figured out can be a bad idea. Trade shows can take up a lot of your time and money; taking time off, booking plane tickets and hotel rooms, etc, and when you’re starting out they are not really worth it for you. If you don’t yet have a website, B2B contracts, patient waiver forms, current patient flow, or any proper strategic plan or systems in place, you will not appear attractive to healthcare providers or other strategic partners to get you their support.
4. Having Bad Strategic Partnership
Your partnerships are an extension of your business, they are what build your brand as a medical tourism facilitator, as you will be known by the hospitals you affiliate with and the quality of care they provide. Having bad partnerships is a quick way to kill your business, as non-accredited doctors, hospitals and clinics can ruin your name and put your business at risk, in case certain procedures go wrong.
While it’s not necessary to only partner with accredited facilities, it is important to have rigorous screening processes in place to make sure the partners you work with have high quality standards and a good record.
5. Unappealing Websites
Most of your customers will probably find you online, and your website is what makes the first impression on them. If it is unappealing, confusing, or unprofessional, chances are people will instantly click off.
Your website needs to be professionally designed, should instantly grab attention with flash animation and appealing color schemes and images, while at the same time giving the patient all the information they need about medical tourism, the packages you provide, the countries you take them to and the partners you have. They need to be able to trust you, and your website should be able to do this. They should also be easily able to find your contact info to ask any further questions and to receive quotes
6. Targeting The Whole World
The last mistake many medical tourism agencies make is not focusing their efforts on certain areas. If you are a medical tourism facilitator in Costa Rica for example, and you try to attract customers from all over the world, you cannot possibly muster up enough energy, time and budget to do this successfully.
Focus on 1-3 countries however, such as USA, Canada, or Europe , and you can focus all this energy and money on these areas, earn a name and brand image in these areas, and attract a lot more customers. This way you can also make your services specific to these areas by providing a separate toll free number for these countries, arranging for cuisines specific to their taste, and arranging for entertainment that they would enjoy.
Avoiding these traps for new medical tourism businesses will help you develop strategies for your business that will ensure your long life as a medical tourism agency, and MTB guides you every step of the way. Whether you need to create an appealing website, generate consumer referrals, acquire facilitator certification or develop a 12 month action plan, MTB will cater to all your needs and make sure you are equipped with the knowledge and profit generating tools that will provide you with great returns and will grow your business to new heights.