Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Benavidez.
Hi Brian, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
San Antonio was growing as a cycling community. In 2015, I would help lead a ride called SATX Social Ride. During those rides, I would see graffiti, street art and murals in which I would then put my bright green bike in front of the Mural. Take a picture. Then post the picture on my social media pages. Once the ride ended and everyone was back home, I would get messages about where all this art was.
The leader of SATX Social Ride, Jeff Moore, suggested I lead a weekend ride, a Mural Ride, where I would show people the art. Now at the time I started forming relationships with the artist. They would give me insights on their murals which I would then pass to my guest of the Mural Ride. The first few months I would lead 30+ people on the second Saturday of the month for a 2-hour bike ride.
In 2016 the Mural Ride gained the attention from a local news station and I was interviewed about the ride. The interview aired a few times before my next Mural Ride and when Saturday rolled around I had over 300 people show up. I completed the ride and a lightbulb went off. I remember thinking this could be something I do for tourists and locals who are trying to get a different perspective of downtown San Antonio.
In 2018 I created my company, San Antonio Mural Ride, and a website, muralride.com. I then joined a few online tourist agencies platforms which helped me gain traction as being a premier tourist experience in the San Antonio area.
Since my first ride, I have guided over 2000 tourists and locals. My guest come from all over the world, the furthest one being from Singapore. It’s been extremely rewarding to read the reviews people give about their overall experience of the ride and their newly found fondness of the city of San Antonio.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It by no means has been a smooth ride. I have had plenty of learning opportunities over the last four years. Early on growth opportunities were learning what steps to take to become an actual business. There was a lot of googling, a lot of note taking on how-to be a business. As social media changes, so does my strategy to reach potentially new guests. I have had to learn how to be a social media manager, a communication manager, a video editing manager and content creator. I have had to learn how to partner with locally recognized companies and build relationships that are beneficial to both parties.
Additionally, I was doing all of this while completing my undergrad, working a full time job and volunteering as the communication chair for a local non-profit agency. I also had to find time to maintain a social life and spend time with my family.
We’ve been impressed with San Antonio Mural Ride, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
San Antonio Mural Ride or Mural Ride Bike Tours is local tour company that takes guests, tourist and locals, on a bike tour of San Antonio. Our tour is operated by local guides that take pride in their city. We show our guests the hidden gems of San Antonio by highlighting our local murals, artists and businesses.
Our specialties are offering a truly one of a kind experience that has been echoed in our reviews. We give a 100% authentic tour of downtown San Antonio. Guest learn about the artist and their art work. They learn where to have the best food and drinks in whatever area they are staying. During their stay here we communicate with them other experiences and events they can attend while visiting San Antonio that will amplify their time spent here.
I am most proud of being able to change the mindset of my guest with regards to how they view San Antonio. Most people view San Antonio as only having the Alamo and Riverwalk. We hear from locals how often they avoid the downtown area due to traffic and other driving circumstances. How there is nothing to do. But after our ride both parties have a new found respect for the city. One of our guests broke their lease to move in to the downtown area after experiencing our bike tour.
We often hear back from our guest after the ride on our social media channels, mostly Instagram, @mural_ride. They tell us they just visited a new city, saw amazing art and most times they send us pictures of the street art they see.
Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs or other resources you think our readers should check out?
I’ve really enjoyed listening to Shane Whaley’s podcast called Tourprenour. In his podcast, he talks to experts in the tour industry about how to start and grow your tour business. He also brings on tour operators like myself who have been successful in some aspect of their business. This is where I find some of the gold nuggets that help me grow.
I’ve also enjoyed listening to Donald Miller’s podcast, Business Made Simple. One of the tools he used that hooked me was he would interview businesses and give them website audits of how they could improve the overall site. Most of the time it was the simplest thing. However when you have hundreds of things going on, sometimes you miss the simplest things.
I’m also not big on recreating the wheel so I tend to follow other creative minds on Instagram. I’ll try to take what they are doing and incorporate in my business while using my own salsa.
- Guest needing a bike, pricing starts at $45
- Guest who bring their own bike, pricing starts at $25
- Email: Contact@sanantoniomuralride.com
- Website: Www.muralride.com
- Instagram: Www.instagram.com/mural_ride
- Facebook: Www.facebook.com/sanantoniomuralride
- Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCjY18F7dhOlDsx2MoBZVKtw
Dan Rosales Photography