Activity holidays have become something of a ’cause celebre’ in theworld of tourism.
The increased interest in this specialist form oftourism has resulted in the formation of many new companies – some of them without any relevant experience or particular abilities.
As an example, when on a photographic holiday, are you to be taught how to take photographs by a professional photographer or a gifted amateur?
When on safari, do you expect your guide to be able to identify the difference between a leopard and a puma?
It has become common in France for ex-pats to first of all open a Chambres d’Hotes and then attempt to keep it full by offering all kinds of activity holidays, including our specialism, photographic holidays.
Despite the fact that one of the most popular forms of activity holiday is the photographic holiday, it is nonetheless a form of “entertainment” rather than “arts” tourism.
An organised tour around a specific area, showing the area to a group of gifted amateur photographers and helping them make the best of the “shot” opportunity.
It does rather sound like “the arts” in-the-making and so it could be – because what’s to say that this week’s landscape shot is not the winner of next year’s photographic competition?
So, what if you are contemplating this kind of holiday? Investigate, ask questions, make sure the tutor can teach – some people are fantastic photographers but they simply can’t communicate the subject with passion and flair.
Ensure lots of variety each day and ensure the accommodation is good, with experienced providers.
Your customers might not be used to sharing the bathroom with 10 other people!
Another thing to establish is the level of fitness required for your holiday.
Photographic holidays in particular need you to be fit enough to, say, walk over rough terrain whilst carrying all your photographic gear – a little like marine yomping!
Or when ballooning, are you expected to help get the balloon ready for take-off and take it all down again at the end of the flight and pack it away.
It takes a certain level of fitness to achieve this – establish the facts!
Different types of activity holiday supply different levels of comfort.
If you are on safari, are you to expect total luxury or a tented camp.
It won’t have been much of a holiday if you returnfeeling like a wrung-out rag after yomping through Alaska, carrying your gear, only to find at the end of the holiday, you were too tired to absorb the subject and therefore don’t know any more about the subject than when you left.
And accommodation providers – try to ensure that the quality of the food and care provided is up to the standard your customers would expect – not your own personal standards!
Its no good saying “well, I wouldn’t mind arriving to find no air conditioning”. Your customers well might – and that will ensure they are not going to be happy and returning customers – and almost all your profit is provided by returning customers.
I’m not saying spend a fortune on AC. I’m just saying make sure your customer knows the absolute level of yourcapabilities – both as a Chef and as an accommodation provider.
Its better to have 200 happy customers telling everyone what a fantstic time they had than 250 unhappy customers telling everyone how dreadful it was!
Remember – whatever type of holiday you provide – satisfied customers
tell 3 friends – angry customers tell 3,000!
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