Registering your tour company and getting the right licenses and permits to legitimately operate is actually a really big pain. Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post wrote an article in 2021 detailing just how messy the permitting process is.Wingerter said, “Due to understaffing at the U.S. Forest Service and a cumbersome process, it can take several years and hundreds of work hours before Colorado guides receive a permit to take small groups fishing, hiking or do other recreational activities on federal lands.”We all know how dangerous it can be climbing up a mountain. And it’s especially dangerous when an amateur...

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So, you’ve decided you want to start an outdoor guiding business. You’ve chosen your guiding business niche and you’re ready for the next step: creating a business plan. But how do you even start creating one? What kind of information do you need? Why can’t you just text friends and family, asking them to send rock climbers your way? Because if you want to start a guiding business, you need a plan, otherwise, this idea may stay just that: an idea. Traditional Business Plan Vs. Lean Startup Plan A quick Google search will likely show you how to create a...

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Airbnb’s service fees can make a cool one-bedroom in the heart of the mountains go from cheap to shockingly expensive. Rarely do we go from “Kickass mountain cabin” to “guess we’ll stay at the motel on the outskirts of town because we can afford that.” Travelers are savvy. They know when they’re getting toyed and they know they can expect higher prices—especially now. It’s why Airbnb can charge extraneous service fees and people will pay them. Higher costs aren’t deterring travelers any time soon. Travelers are too excited to experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to let Airbnb’s 20% service fees stop...

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Adventures in Arkansas are easy to find because there are loads of them. With 52 State Parks seven national parks (home of the first national park), nine Arkansas Game and Fish Nature and Education centers, mountains, caves, rivers, and hot springs, you’ll be hard-pressed to find yourself bored when you visit this state. They seriously have it all—two mountain ranges, limestone caves, craters full of diamonds, and roughly three million acres of protected forest. After adventuring with all these operators and you’re ready to soak your bones, visit both the smallest and oldest national park in the United States, Hot...

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Alaska has an unlimited number of things you can do, places to discover, and limits to reach. It was hard to narrow our list down to eight guiding companies in Alaska that hit all our interests. Below, you’ll find mountain guiding companies, anglers, ATV’ers, snowmobilers, rafters, and everything in between. Credit: Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours About them:  The owners of Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours, Matti and Dan, have a common passion for sharing the beauty and wonder of Alaska’s wild frontier with others. A born-and-raised Alaskan, Matti has snowmobiled for the better part of her life...

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Rock climbing in Arizona means you have more exposed rocks than any other state in the US. While it isn’t all climbable, Arizona has the best year-round climbing with crags at nearly every elevation. From The Pit and Paradise Forks in the north, to the crags of the Watson Lake Dells in Prescott and Queen Creek Canyon just outside of Phoenix in the center, and then Mount Lemmon and Cochise Stronghold to the south near Tucson. Arizona has a ton of climbing to choose from without the crowds. We found eight rock climbing guiding companies you should check out the...

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Finding guiding companies in Alabama is pretty easy when you know what to look for. In fact, we found nine guiding companies who will introduce you to an Alabama you’ve never known before. We found everything from kayaking under a full moon to climbing deep below the Earth’s surface. What You’ll Find In Alabama Alabama is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers alike. Considering that it’s actually 70% covered in forest, time to rethink this isn’t an outdoor lover’s paradise.  And while mistletoe might not be the first thing you think of when you consider what grows in...

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We’ve all abandoned a booking for one reason or another. But when your guiding company depends on as many reservations as you can handle, it’s important to know why your website visitors may be leaving before paying for an adventure with you. What are abandoned bookings? Abandoned bookings are when a customer doesn’t complete the trip reservation process. They may have started selecting a date for their adventure or entered in their details, but they left your website at some point. There could be a number of reasons why too. Why is it important to lower them? The more booking...

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A website design can make or break your chance of getting more online tour bookings. With a strong website, your customers can go through the booking process quickly and with ease. Everything on the website fulfills a need, it’s all easy to find, and navigable. While your customer browses your site, it should cause some sort of emotion in them and they should feel like they can trust you. Further, your site should help customers along their path to book a trip with you. By clearly showing steps, making the interaction seamless and efficient, and having the system perform when...

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An online booking process needs to be quick and simple or your customers will go somewhere else. We’ve seen too many sites with clunky booking steps either using online booking software or a manual process like calling to book a trip. Neither is good for your customers and prevents you from making sales. The current problem with websites we’ve seen is too many clicks to book. Step after step after step of entering information, confirming that information, and entering more details. Or, alternatively, making website visitors call or email you to book a trip. Both methods deter guests, especially Gen...

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The SOAR Act will make your life as a guide easier. At least, that's the hope. As we know, federal land management agencies require guiding businesses and outfitters to get special recreation permits so they can operate on public lands and waters. Even though this is a legal requirement for professional guides, they aren’t easily obtainable. Not only is the process totally convoluted, a lot of businesses ask agencies about available permits to only be told there aren’t any available. Because of this, guiding companies can’t take their clients out on public lands and their businesses suffer. I. What’s the...

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We scoured the internet for online booking stats that our clients will care about. While researching, we saw the shift to online booking has seen significant changes from pre-pandemic levels. While many guiding companies are making the move to online booking, there are still too many putting it off and gripping too tightly to the pen and paper. Those who don’t jump on board now will be left behind and lose out to their competitors. Here are 25 online booking statistics showing the shift to online booking, travelers’ habits and interests, and how important it is to adopt reservation technology...

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“I realized guiding was another path in the industry and a blend of passion, sense of purpose, and being in nature,” said Jeff when we asked him why he wanted to become a guide. Smile Mountain Guides was founded on trust, caring, and respect for climbing. It’s a small but mighty team and we got the chance to hear from Meg, Michael, and Jeff about their experiences as guides.  Why did you want to become a guide? Michael: I think at first it was seeing a lot of the people I looked up to in the climbing community working as...

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Marketing for guiding companies doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, you can keep it super basic if you want. We’ve previously written about all the aspects of digital marketing in our Journal, but it helps to put it together in a digestible way. So, that’s what we’re going to do here. Here’s a simple strategy for marketing that should help you get started marketing for your guiding company. In other words, to spread the word about what you do and who you can guide. 1. Determine Your Target Audience Figuring out who your ideal customers are will help you...

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