By: Canadian Rockies Guide Will Woods
There are LOTS of tour companies out there. There seems to be a tour company for every type of traveler, every budget and every possible combination of logistics. If you wanted to do a bus tour of Italy to only visit cafes with other internet cat video fanatics there is probably a company out there catering to that demographic. So when you go to make choices about who to trust with your precious vacation time, how do you make sure you choose well?
To answer that question, let me tell you why I choose to guide for Austin Adventures. As a member of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, a graduate of a university level degree in Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership and with a 20 year guiding career under my belt, I have options about who I work for. I have chosen to spend my summers crafting jaw-dropping vacations for Austin Adventures guests.
Why? Two major reasons. They are committed to providing the highest quality vacations to guests, and they trust their guides to make these vacations happen.
The first is obvious. When stuff breaks, it gets fixed. When we need permits, we get them. We don’t scrimp on the food budget and we aren’t looking for ways to cut corners. Austin Adventures understands that it takes time and money to provide a luxury adventure vacation as advertised, and they aren’t afraid to invest what is needed to make that happen. Also a high quality vacation is a safe vacation, and I have NEVER been asked to sacrifice on safety when leading trips for Austin Adventures for any reason.
Second is maybe less visible to guests, but just as important. Austin Adventures trusts me as the guy on the ground to make appropriate decisions in order to deliver the highest quality vacation to guests. Maybe we need to do a different hike because of weather or wildlife concerns. Maybe we need to increase the level of physical challenge because everyone on the trip can handle more and wants to go a little further. Staff at the office in Billings trust their leaders to read the group, and the situation, and change things (or decide to keep them the same) to make sure that every day of every vacation is the best it can possibly be. This seems like a no-brainer, but isn’t the way that every tour company in the industry does things.
When a tour company is committed to investing in producing high quality vacations, and they trust their trip leaders to adjust things to tailor the experience to the individual guests who are on that trip (YOU!!) then great things happen on your vacation. That’s when the memories that you create on vacation last a lifetime, and keep coming up time and time again as those “remember when our guide surprised us with…” moments. That’s what I see ‘behind the scenes’ when I am guiding for Austin Adventures, and that’s why I choose to guide for them.
Will Woods has been guiding for over twenty years, the last five for Austin Adventures.