I understand that guided tours offer a lot that unguided tours don't. I don't have to worry about choosing destinations, activities, booking accommodation, the language barrier, and the like. And that you can organize something with a company well in advance, unlike (I assume) booking with a solo tour guide.
However, I'm a bit surprised at the quoted cost for guided tours in Mongolia. They seem to be one, two, or a couple of hundred US dollars per day, not only for solo but also group tours. (Here's one example, slightly more expensive than others, but not an outlier, and a search on tour radar). This doesn't seem to happen only with foreign-based tourism companies, but also locally based ones. Some of these prices seem comparable to what I pay in developed countries for a group tour to ski resorts or with Contiki.
Is this normal? Is it because of the expenses incurred during a trip, such as paying for staff, petrol, and accommodation, or just the overhead that such companies have (sunk costs, administration, profit, etc.) for a low volume market?
If I'm booking a solo guided tour (with an English speaking guide and an experienced driver, presumably two separate people) which drives to a couple of different locations, and involves some sight-seeing and a couple of riding sessions, has meals provided, and provides some nights at a tourist ger, and some with a local nomadic family, is there much in the way of optional extras that can be meaningfully removed? (I could ask the tour company itself, but I'd like to make sure it'd be even worthwhile asking before doing so)
Some information about the costs of guided tours in general, whether it's in Mongolia or in other countries, would be appreciated.