Dear Adventure Family,
I have to start by saying I am incredibly humbled and grateful for the amazing support and encouragement to continue with my Saturday ramblings. I had no idea anyone even read them. When I suggested I was wrapping up and would be ending, I had over 100 emails asking, if not pleading that I continue. I am here to serve; I remain your faithful servant of the Saturday Musings. Be careful what you ask for and just don’t hold it against me. I am also eternally grateful for all the support and votes you cast in the recent USA Today’s 10 Best Poll. We know how we fared, but are in a media blackout period and can’t release the results just quite yet. Let’s just say your votes were not in vain, thank you. We will share more soon enough and let’s hope we get as good of a turn out this November.
OK let’s see, what to share today? I’ll start by sharing what I see as quite the accomplishment last week. I honestly think I set what should be a record for Zoom calls. Over 120 in 4 days! Alright, as for the rest of the story… Last week was Virtuoso’s Virtual Travel Week and I had 120 10-minute Zoom training calls with some of the top Travel Advisors on the planet. It was so refreshing to talk travel and hear the optimism and commitment to adventure travel in today’s uncertain world. Agents have been through the same hell as we have and the mutual respect and support to “rebound” was truly encouraging. Mad respect for these folks on the front lines of travel. Again, I have to note I was humbled by the interest and feedback on how Austin Adventures is gaining, not losing market share in these challenging times. We are trying folks, it’s not easy, but we are doing our best.
At the risk of being redundant, I have to say we are slammed with last-minute 2020 custom and scheduled departure requests. Scheduled trips are about sold out and we are doing our best to accommodate all the last-minute fall customs. Summer season is clearly our busiest time of year and this year was no exception. While we will finish up in the coming weeks at about 25-30% of our normal volume, the work to pull off these trips was incredibly challenging and I remain proud of both our staff and our travelers. It certainly hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies this season, but we have risen to each and every challenge as they pop up (picture the arcade game “Whack-a-mole”). 2021 is looking up and we are a heck of a lot more hopeful of the future of travel then we were a few short months ago. Our travelers remain optimistic we will be at some form of normalcy by spring and the pent-up demand is off the charts.
That said, we are taking advantage of the challenges at hand with some other travel companies out there and picking up some great new hires. And frankly, we need it to keep up (a bit overdue if you ask our crew). Kelly Palmer has now joined the team as our Southwest expert. She wasn’t on the payroll more than a few days before we put her to work creating and managing a handful of custom Southwest adventures. Steve Levine has also joined the team to help with both trip development and guiding out in the Southeast. He guided his first trip in North Carolina last week with my daughter, Kasey and they crushed it! We are excited to capture Steve’s passion and knowledge for the Southeast and Northeast United States. We will be adding new destinations out East as time allows. Kelly and Steve joined last month’s latest addition, Mike Smith, our new Marketing Manager. And to let you in on a little secret, we have one more sales spot to fill… hint hint! We are gearing up to keep up, especially in regards to the custom requests we are fielding. Personally, after 35 years of crafting adventures, I love the challenge and the creativity involved in creating the perfect adventure.
And last thing for today. Don’t forget a few months ago we launched our Essential Service Providers (ESP) Contest. Remember, nominate an ESP you know and trust, and we will be giving away Austin Adventures and Life is Good swag for the top 25 entries and having a random drawing to give away a FREE 2021 Yellowstone family trip to 4 lucky guests. We have received over 100 amazing submissions. Check out these special folks here and nominate your favorite and deserving candidate.
CEO & Founder