So you’ve found online reservation software you’re interested in using. It has all the features you’ve been looking for, more benefits than running your tour operations solo, and its team is competent. Another important component of online booking technology that shouldn’t be overlooked is its payment transparency. In other words, do you know how the online booking system collects your customers’ credit card information and deposits, what shows up on your clients’ bank statements, how you get paid out, what they charge to use their platform, and do they ever hold your money from you? These are our top five...

Read More

The Winter 2022/23 travel season is hurdling towards us with Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Years plans on the horizon. With the “Summer of Revenge Travel” and a lackluster Fall, here’s what tour operators can expect this winter travel season. Online Bookings Drop For The Fall Season A new report by Similarweb used data from Airbnb, Expedia, and Booking.com to assess global web traffic and U.S. travel conversions and it seems like it’s in line with historical travel trends. Despite a murky economy and high inflation, summer saw the “revenge travelers” who spent their extra cash on travel. This...

Read More

There’s a saying that’s along the lines of, “If you want to go somewhere fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with people.” When starting your outdoor guiding business, you’ll have to network with other people and businesses to help your company grow. Because it’s true: no one is an island. This just means that you can’t build your business alone. Sure, you might be able to build it fast, but you won’t get very far by yourself. The biggest challenges with networking are (1.) knowing your partnership goals, (2.) who’s best to partner with, (3.) what...

Read More

Tour pricing can make or break your outdoor guiding business. Price your services too high and you won’t get enough customers to cover your costs or make a profit. Price your services too low and your costs will overtake your profits. Maybe you want to start an outdoor guiding business because that’s your passion, your hobby, and your lifestyle. Sure, it could be cool to make money on the side guiding, but if you really want to start a full-fledged tour operation, you need to make a profit, not just break even, but to make money so your business stays,...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

“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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Plogging, a not-so-new radical idea. We’re celebrating Earth Day with Outdoor Prolink by plogging! This year we are teaming up with Outdoor Prolink to give away two National Parks Passes to reward acts of plogging. HOW TO ENTER: - Post a picture of your trash on your Instagram feed or story - Tag @outdoorprolink and @exploreorigin - Use hashtag: #AdventureTrash - For more entries, tag your friends in the comments of our official posts (coming out every Friday) - Enter between April 8–April 28, 2022 Head to our Instagram to enter! Not sure what plogging is? You came to the...

Read More

The guiding season is non-stop. There’s always an adventure to go on with an expert guide, but some guiding companies only operate during a specific season or two. For those preparing for their upcoming season, here are eight tech aspects to have dialed before you take clients on their next adventure. Review Or Update Your Liability Waivers Have liability waivers for your guided trips? It’s a good idea to review your liability waiver text and make sure they’re up-to-date. If you have a new trip that requires an additional waiver, it’s important to upload that before the season. Origin users...

Read More