It’s not the information that has value, it’s how we use it. We’ve benefited a lot over the years from seeing how other businesses, in tourism and elesewhere, operate.
We’ve been sharing our trail guides and recipes for a few years now and have seen tremendous benefits for us and our guests. It provides a free resource for those who just want to go explore on their own. For those who prefer going with a guide, they now have a better understanding of what to expect on the tour. It’s been a win-win situation and we’re now looking at expanding on what we share about the business side of running a tour company.
Sharing information about how we craft experiences, how we set prices, how we train our guides and other parts of the business may seem counterintuitive. The way we see it, collaborating and making information easier to access gives us the tools we need to innovate. Working together we can create better guest experiences and grow our local visitor economy.
It’s not always easy to share but we’ve seen the positive results so often, whether it’s sharing our pricing calculation sheets with other operators or behind the scene details with our guests.
Trust: It leads to trust from our customers, partners and staff about what we are doing. Being open about why we offer certain tours or make certain decisions makes challenging situations that much easier.
Innovation: We need to move beyond looking for best practices to implement and instead look at them for inspiration as we try new ideas. By sharing information about what has worked for us, and more importantly about what didn’t work, we can find better ways to move forward. It also allows outsiders to get a better picture of what we’re trying to accomplish, creating conversations that spark new ideas.
Doing the right thing: We’ve learned a lot from others and feel it’s right to share forward.
What about the competition? Crafting outstanding experiences is about much more than logistics and numbers. We’ve seen a number of companies come and go since we started. Some have offered similar activities, but all have had something different to offer visitors to the region.
John Dewey wrote back in 1938 that “We do not learn from experience … we learn from reflecting on experience”. Creating memorable experiences is about the emotions and connections that are created, it’s about creating moments that allow our guests to reflect on their adventures. It’s not about following recipes or adding “hands-on activities” to existing tourism products. Our tours are about more than the information we include in our handbooks, pricing sheets and itineraries.
One of the biggest challenges with transparency is actually finding the time to write the story, to share the information.
Transparency is about more than just PR or marketing. It’s about raising the bar for all of us. If you find value in what we share then we hope that you’ll also share what you create.