West Adventures’ First Anniversary!
From the Owner – Ron Geddert
A time for gratitude, a time for reflection, and a time to look forward. That’s what you expect when you celebrate an anniversary. That’s particularly true of First Anniversaries, and it’s true of West Adventures as we celebrate our First Anniversary.
Let me share with you a few things from our first year. A lot has happened to be grateful for. When the decision was made to proceed with a plan to provide the best adventure travel experiences available in our part of the world–and the West, generally—we knew the project would take great personnel.
If you want to be the world’s best provider of these tours, you’ve got to have the world’s best staff. I’m so grateful for the personnel we’ve attracted. We found Tanya, a 25-year tourism industry veteran, to manage the operations. We found Katie, arguably the world’s best guide, to lead our initial tours and mentor the guiding process. We found Ellie, an award-winning photographer/videographer, to document our trips. She came initially as a client, but ended up guiding our last two trips, and doing such an amazing job, she virtually challenged Katie for top guide designation.
Meantime, we knew from the start that our mission was far larger than our corner of Western Canada, and that we would need a year-round operation. So we hired Becky, previously the senior staff person with a large worldwide competitor in the area, to be our destination manager for Mexico and Central America. In short order, we had six great trips arranged for that region, taking the best from what others were offering, and making them better.
People found us on the internet and trade shows, identified with our vision, and started coming to us to see how they could help us to further our mission. And so it was that Cindy, from the Netherlands, became a strong advocate and our European representative.
I’m grateful, too, for investors, who saw the potential of our vision and joined the cause to bring us the strength we would need right from the start.
I’m especially grateful for clients, travellers who saw what we had to offer and signed up for their own experiences of a lifetime. Our start was modest, but the clients were impressed and every review so far has given us a five-star rating! “The best trip of our lives,” wrote Alex, from Germany. “The best travel company I have ever been on a trip with,” wrote Ellie, from the UK (when she was still just a client, before she decided to guide for us). “We feel like family,” wrote Giselle, from Canada.
And, we’re grateful to our larger community, represented by you, who make up this contact list. We’re grateful for the high ratio of people who read each of our mailings. It’s clear that you’re travellers, too, or at least enjoy reading about travelling and about the travel experiences we talk about.
What have we learned from one year’s experience?
Well, first of all, it’s clear that people are identifying with our vision. They like that we highlight the bucket-list attractions that people want to see here (like others also do), while at the same time immersing them into the landscapes and providing the active adventures that make a region special (like many others don’t). For us, it’s about the journey, the destination, the adventures, the experience of nature, the group interaction, the local flavour, and the learning component, all blended together in a perfect, unhurried mix. Our guests liked the itineraries we’ve created that bring all these elements together.
We’ve also learned that we have a larger local market than we imagined. We initially targeted Europe, Australia, and the distant regions of Canada and the United States, but we’ve learned that we may also have a market right on our doorstep.
We’ve also learned how personable, flexible, intensely detailed, and hard-working we need to be to ensure each guest gets the experience they’ve been imagining! You don’t create the world’s best travel company by slacking off or overlooking details. We always knew that and we have, from the start, been willing to “roll up our sleeves” to get the job done. It’s something we’ll continue to embrace with energy and even greater efficiency.
Looking ahead, we’re proud to have our six Mexico and Central American itineraries ready to depart at the end of October. They will be done with the same passion and flavour that mark our brand in Western Canada. Despite the superior adventures we’ve included, compared with other companies, our pricing structure matches theirs. And with their best staff now working for us, we know these trips will be the best in the region.
Our Central American trips will run through that region’s high season until May, when we’ll focus again on the North American trips originating out of Vancouver. Besides our main itineraries in Western Canada, we’re offering two next summer that reach into the United States. One is a three-week trip that takes in ten national parks, including all the iconic landscapes and attractions of the Western US. The other is a northern trip that combines the best of the Yukon and Alaska, and originates out of Whitehorse. The two trips were on our roster already this season, but a bit of a stretch to implement in our first year. We’ll also be offering a number of short trips that easily connect to our main trips, and some that are more wilderness oriented.
We look forward to welcoming you to Western Canada/USA or Latin America in the future.
Thank you for everyone’s warm anniversary wishes!