If tourism is to be harnessed for poverty reduction, it requires tourism businesses to 'do business differently'. But how much can commercial businesses feasibly do to boost local impacts? The Pro-poor Tourism Pilot project (PPT Pilots) was established in South Africa May 2002. The aim of PPT Pilots was to work directly with 5 leading tourism companies, to help them implement pro poor tourism and to learn from their experience. The facilitators promoted strategies that tourism companies could use to increase the local development impact of their business, and which also made business sense to the company. By using these as a pilot, many lessons were learned about the types of local linkages that can be developed, the benefits and challenges faced by companies, the impacts for local people, and how facilitators can help tourism companies to do business differently.