Monday, February 2, 2009

Marketing 101 – Know Your Product

Or, how hard can this job be if you have to figure out trips like this?

Well, Marge and I have been talking to a lot of other people down here that have some sort of connection with the tourism industry and we find it very surprising that we keep coming up with the same comments from other business owners, tour guides, and local residents here in Belize: “Business owners (especially foreigners) do not go out and try all their tours before selling them to their guests.” We figure the only way to really figure out if a tour is right for someone is to actually do the tour, and in some of the adventures we are setting up for our guests, we have to actually “make” the tour since it doesn’t currently exist. Sounds pretty easy/hard, depending on what you are trying to do, doesn’t it? Well, here are some examples.

Caves Branch Black Hole Drop: Marge and I were interested in doing this tour when we first came here as tourists in 2005 but we did not have the time to do everything so we had to put that adventure on the back burner for a future visit. On our next couple of visits to Belize, as tourists, we just didn’t seem to fit it into our schedule. However, since we are now promoting the tour (it really is awesome – and I am scared of heights – sshhhh, don’t tell anyone), we knew we had to do it so that we knew what expectations the tourists should keep in mind, AND what the expectations of the tour guides are that are taking out tourists. While on the tour, I talked with our guide from Caves Branch to find out how many of the companies that provide accommodations for tourists actually come out to try the tour since they are the ones that are usually in contact with the tourists PRIOR to their arrival here in Belize, and he said that he knows of very few, and he has been at Caves Branch for years.

Blue Hole and St. Herman’s Cave: We had some tourists that wanted to stay with us and we had not been to that site yet so we personally took them there and went on the tour. As we were getting instructions about the sites from the park attendant, I asked how many other business owners they have seen coming out to tour the site to check it out for future tourists, and the gentleman replied that he rarely sees any business owners there in the park.

Elijio Panti National Park (EPNP): New destinations or interesting twists to current adventures currently available here in Belize are what we are trying to put together here at Moonracer Farm. With that in mind, and knowing that there is a lot more to see and do in the National Parks, we have been researching what would draw tourists to the EPNP, since it is just minutes away, walking. Horseback Riding, Hiking, Waterfalls, and Caving are what we found – isn’t that what most people come to the jungle to experience? In talking with one of the park rangers, Antonio Mai (a friend of ours that I met while helping to fix the town water supply in April 2007 - click here to see this post)

he said that the EPNP only registers a handful of tourists each year, and the park has so much to offer.

So, since we are all about setting up something new and different for our guests, we decided that Moonracer Farm can start offering tours that no other companies that we know of offer at this time here in Belize. Our goals here are to provide our guests with personalized tours, have them experience beauties of the jungle in a private setting, and challenge our guests physically and mentally while learning about the nature, history, and culture here in Belize.

After a long preamble, I guess that is why I could justify going for a hike, exploring two caves, and camping for the last 2 days, and still call it WORK! Our current motto is now: “Man, this job is tough, but someone has to do it


richies said...

I sure do need to return to Belize. If I am ever able to afford it, I will definitely look you up. Being knowledgeable about the tours is a great asset to your visitors.

An Arkie's Musings

jean said...

It would be best to personally experience the tour as you suggested. Then you have the passion and stories to share and promote to others. Real experience sells. Or another approach, if the local tour guide could promote to their clients directly, as they are most familiar of the tour, and could tailor client's needs. This is what OurExplorer tries to achieve.

Happy Exploring!

P.S. Like the concept "experience beauties of the jungle in a private setting"

OurExplorer - Tour Guide & Tourist Guide
local guides, local wisdom

Terdal Farm said...

Good business sense to actually try the tours you are promoting.
I especially like that you are promoting the Elijio Panti National Park. That gives you something special to feature.