Plan for the small details

8. Design the Guest Experience

a) Choose the Environment

Where to go to get the experience we want to offer.

Does it need anything setup or is it ok as is?

How to best use the space / features available?

b) What is the group size?

Max or min based on activity, location and logistics.

Balance between enough people to create conversations and small enough to feel intimate.

c) What food is included?

Create connection to place through local food.

Slows down the pace, allows conversations.

Create the right mindset for visitors. Nobody wants hangry guests thinking about lunch instead of the experience.

d) Memorable Moments

Goosebump and aha moments that create lasting memories

Conversation starters. Especially important on longer tours with quiet time, drive time, etc.

Photo opportunities.

Relevant take-away. Avoid things that will end up in the garbage.

Feelings / Reinforcing memories.

e) Add-ons and customizations for the guests

What can be tweaked and adapted for the group?

What can be added to enhance the experience? breakfast, complementary activities, hotel, etc.

How can the guide personalize the tour for each guests through stories, adapting activities, etc.

9. Determine the Logistics

a) Season

When can the tour be offered?

b) Duration


c) Departure time and location


d) Resources, gear and vehicles

e) Partners

Packages or support services (sell venue or program) or collaboration (guests can’t tell the difference between partners).

SHiFT page 123 for things to look for in a partner.

10. Risk Management

a) Permits and Certifications

b) Guide Training and Certification Requirements

c) Risk Management Plan

Hazard assessment, work procedures and EAP.

12. Price For Value

Margins are often the same at product / service / experience level.

Move from simply increasing mark-up to pricing based on value.

13. Train The Guides

Create the guide manual that includes:

  • Create detailed itinerary
  • Create the experience map
  • Put together maps of the trail / area or floor plans as needed.
  • Define stories that can be used by guides.
  • Define variations (personalization, customization and add-ons)
  • Risk Management Plan
  • Equipment and Task list

Training session to cover all of this.

14. Build the Sales and Marketing Plan

Create the sales and marketing manual that includes:

  • Customer journey vs path to purchase
  • The right message and info at each stage.
  • Booking process
  • Anticipation and seding the right info
  • Working with travel trades
  • Message start with why, not USP.

Visitor Experience Statement (SHiFT p.94)

  • Tile (3-5 words)
  • Lure Statement (50 words)
  • Experience Description (150 words)
  • Decision Information (25-50 words)

Training session to cover all of this.

15. Bring to Market and Continually Improve The Experience

Pilor the tour. Make changes as needed. Use a mix of industry and ideal guests to get the best feedback.

Evaluate the tour for improvements on a regular basis based on guides, partners and guests feedback.