Uspire has been working with Big Bus Tours for the last four years helping their senior leadership and commercial teams implement a vision for growth in their company. They are the largest operator of open-top sightseeing tours in the world, providing tours in eighteen cities across three continents.

The Big Bus Vision is to be: ‘The #1 thing to do in every world-famous city.’ Since they have implemented this clear vision, their sales have improved significantly. There is another measure that the team are particularly proud of, by 2017, fourteen out of the eighteen Big Bus cities have been awarded a Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence!

Uspire’s Head of Leadership, Amanda Downs, spoke to Big Bus Tours’ CEO Alex Payne about his leadership strategy.

How did you come up with your vision?

It was precipitated by an upcoming an offsite General Manager Meeting and strategy discussion. The actual vision was developed without much process: it began with some deep thought about where we want to go, followed by discussion and sense-checking with the management team. It has gone down well, both internally and externally, and everybody seems to remember it!

Describe an example of how the Big Bus vision has mobilised the people in your organisation?

The city teams are beginning to compete among themselves to be the first to achieve the vision! Chicago was rated the #1 thing to do in a tourist survey. We’ve also had success in Abu Dhabi, it was rated the #1 tour there too. They are both important stepping stones to our ultimate vision of being the overall #1 thing to do in every famous city.

What has been your biggest challenge, in keeping the vision alive?

If the vision is good, this should be relatively easy. Repeat it endlessly, show how people’s daily work connects and supports it, and don’t lose faith if you have any setbacks.

What would your advice be, to a leadership team, when working on a vision?

1. Understand the difference between a mission and a vision.
2. Make sure it is a destination, a place on the horizon, so you’ll all know when you’ve gotten there.
3. Be brave – a good vision should feel inspiring, ambitious and a bit scary.
4. Don’t make this a group exercise – or you’ll produce a donkey.
5. Keep it short and simple.

The Big Bus vision is clear and effective and has created an energetic and motivated global team.

If you need help in articulating an inspiring vision with your team, get in touch with Amanda Downs, to hear more about our Leading With Vision Day please email