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competition

Gotta say that the concept of competition has become a bit ugly lately. I’ve been running my Sevilla Tapas Tours for five years now, and my Sevilla Tapas website has been going for eight years. Along the way I’ve met many like-minded people doing similar things and for the most part we have seen each other as colleagues rather than competitors and have helped each other out. Okay by me.

To be honest, the growth of my business has been very organic, with one natural step leading to another, then another… even my latest venture We Love Tapas came from the basic concept that I am not able to clone myself, yet I still want to offer people a fabulous food experience here in Sevilla. So a new brand was born, offering a shorter but just as tasty version of my already established signature tour. And my friend Victor in Málaga, being in the same boat,  also saw the sense in that, so he joined me in creating We Love Tapas Malaga.

Unlike five years ago, there are now whacks of people offering tapas tours, jumping on the bandwagon. Fair enough, but for many their main ambition is clearly to make a buck. Don’t get me wrong, I am also offering my various tapas and food & wine tours in order to make a living, but I was long ago involved in the tapas scene in Sevilla, knew everybody, had a well-established website, so doing tapas tours was the obvious next step.

And so I have become a bit “whatever” when it comes to having competition here. I reckon there’s lots of work out there if you are good, and good luck to you. EXCEPT. A couple of years ago someone here started using my name – Sevilla Tapas Tours – all over social media. When I asked why they were using an already established brand their response was to REGISTER my name. WTF? More recently someone trying to break into the food tour biz in Sevilla actually bought Google Ads and used Seville Tapas Tours as their heading (though they had previously told me to my face they weren’t actually doing tapas tours here, they were doing “food tours”). Again… WTF? What the hell is wrong with people? Why not try making a name for yourself based on your own experience and credentials instead of copying others? Do you think people will be fooled when they see that Google Ad next to my Trip Advisor reviews? Is that what they want? To get a booking by mistake? The mind reels…

Some say I should feel flattered and that it’s inevitable that people are trying to cash in on my success… except, wait a minute. I have worked long and hard over the past eight years building my Sevilla Tapas site (long before anyone was talking “brands”). It was – and still is – a labour of love. And it is still probably the best English language resource on tapas in Sevilla. My Sevilla Tapas Tours have been mentioned in various international press articles, countless travel blog posts, inflight magazines, and last year the Sevilla Tourist Board asked me to be a member of their expert panel to develop the Seville Gastronomy Heritage website. This is because they know that I know what I’m talking about. And of course I am honoured to be acknowledged in this way.

Bottom line… there’s ambitious and then there’s, well, that image up there. Hey, I’m ambitious too, which is why I work 14-hour days, 7 days a week. But I also love what I do, and for the most part don’t worry about “competition”. Heck, having competition tends to keep us on our toes and I always learn a lot by reading about ways to improve my own biz. But what to do about people using underhanded tactics to promote their new biz by piggy-backing on your own well-established name? Now that it’s happened more than once, it’s beginning to piss me off. And you know what? You REALLY don’t want to piss me off. 😉