5 Secrets Of The Canadian Travel Industry
The Canadian travel industry, the tourism industry as a whole, has some great stories to tell… or not?
“The tourism and travel industry online may or may not want you to know what is really happening behind the tourism curtain.” based on our 10 year study of small, rural and urban Canada covering over 1023 communities.”
5 secrets that the Canadian travel industry does not want you to know. I have stumbled and tumbled my way around this beautiful country with blinders off, ears wide open, during my travels. I have spent most of my working life navigating the many trials and tribulations, the ups and downs, of the travel industry. Too many times I find myself shaking my head at what I am seeing and hearing coming out of the industry. I often wonder if any of them ever really talk or listen to the voices of small and rural Canada. You wouldn’t know it by some of the decisions being made by the global travel industry.
The People of the Canadian Travel Industry
With all the challenges and opportunities, I am still proud to say I am committed, more than ever, to playing a small part in developing a fair and prosperous tourism playing field for small towns. I love seeing community pride having a platform to grow on. I enjoy and cherish the opportunity to meet new good people across this great country of ours. The emphasis is on the word “good people” here. Just checking to see if you are still paying attention.
10 Year Study of the Canadian Travel Industry
Having completed a 10 year study of small and rural Canada with my ehCanadaTravel.com co founding brother, Colin Girard, has taught us many things about travel and tourism. As we battled the egos and politics along the Highway of Tourism”, we worked on our ideas and started creating our website framework nationally. In doing so we applied our research results and created the very first small and rural community content marketing and revitalization program called “Experience Community”. It is a huge success. Through the whole process, we have learned many things about the travel industry and what really happens behind the hospitality curtain. So, here are some valuable insights into some of the secrets of the Canadian Travel Industry.
5 Secrets Of The Canadian Travel Industry
(1) Book directly with community accommodation websites and you will get a better room, better price, more perks and stop sending billions of dollars out of Canada.
For travelers, these corporate out-of-country behemoth booking websites (called OTAs) like Booking.com, Hotel.com, Expedia, com and Trivago have made finding an accommodation in a certain price range and dates easy. Too easy. What is wrong with that? Here is what is wrong with that. For every booking you make on these OTA websites costs the accommodation dearly, and ultimately your community is the one who takes the biggest hit because these sites take as high as 18% – 25% on every dollar.
25% Gone From Your Town Too
Believe it when I say up to 25% of every dollar is leaving your town, right now too! One small hotel informed us that they are paying $30,000 a month to these out-of-country OTA websites! That is $30,000 that would of and should of stayed in the community. Dollars which use to be reinvested into renovations, development of community services, supporting local sport teams, participating in community projects and sponsoring events and on and on we go. Let us be clear, that is lost money that will never to be seen again by your community. You know what would be interesting! I would like to see some numbers on the total revenues from Canada tourism minus how much is leaving our country through the OTA’s. Then lets ask ourselves the question, “Are we really doing better?”
TIP : Find your accommodation on these big OTA websites if you must. But then search out the accommodation website online and book directly with them. On most occasions the price is better directly, selection is far greater.
(2) Book with privately operated travel planning websites as they focus on education and information so you can plan accordingly and not miss a thing.
Because OTAs are fast and easy, they make no effort in educating the traveler about the many attractions, activities, small businesses, adventures, tours, guides, parks, trails, lakes, rivers, beaches, etc. that are available in the region you are traveling to. It is a cash grab on the part of the OTA. They do not really care what you do at your destination, just that you paid for a room. Not cool because your travels pay the price. Not having enough information on what is located within 100 kilometres of your accommodation is a disservice to your travel plans and makes for missed adventures, lost time and a whole lot of “should ofs and could ofs”
The 1 Night Stay
Because of the lack of information provided by OTAs about communities, the OTAs are a leading source in creating the dreaded one-night stay. As a result too many small and rural communities are becoming 1 night stop-overs. The traveler arrives late and leaves early. The community is lucky if the traveler even grabs a coffee in the community before hitting the road. A growing disturbing trend is developing. The domino effect is in place too. When no new money is circulating in the community restaurants are empty, small businesses close, jobs are lost and families leave. Clients in small town Canada tell us that their guests keep telling them that if they knew more about the area they would of stayed longer.
TIP: Do not book with corporate OTA sites. Every community pretty much has a local privately operated travel website. I say private, because many public sites have hidden agendas. Most private sites are more personal, informative and educational about all that is in the area. They share information because they want to, not because they “have to”. Hence, why you will not miss a thing, you will plan for the right number of nights, and there are no more “should ofs”.
“ehCanadaTravel.com is home to 1023 communities. It is a new concept to marketing tourism, economic development and community revitalization programs. It is a growing classroom of local trained experts educating the traveller creating over 18000+ pages of information. Now, with the edition f of the “Experience Community Program” we are working with locals teaching them skills and providing them tools to be effective online and self sufficient.”
(3) In Canada book accommodations and adventures independently for freedom of choice and authentic personal experiences.
Booking the individual elements of your travels is almost always cheaper than pre-made packages. The flexibility to book the type of accommodation you want and for how long is attractive to many. To be able to participate in a tour, guide and attraction of your choice is a big plus. And the freedom to drink, eat and play when you want and where you want has to be an even bigger plus for the independent traveler. However… there is a big BUT…. it takes more time and effort. However, with time and effort comes education about your destination. I believe the effort is now when planning the vacation so virtually no time is wasted booking, phoning and arranging while on vacation.
Canada Travel Industry Packages Has Benefits Too
If you like the scheduled, safe, convenient, programmed and pre-determined travel experience then there are plenty of those too. You know the ones where everything is done for you. In most cases they are much more expensive and you must follow a more rigid travel program. However, the challenge one faces in a package is that every thing is on a schedule. This means you will probably not be able to participate in any interesting venues along the way because of time constraints of your rigid travel package schedule.
(4) Manners will go a long way in your travel experience.
We are a nation of please, thank you and sorry. It is just that way here. When visiting Canada politeness is very well received and appreciated by tourism operators and small businesses. Believe me when I say, “Manners are noticed and rewarded by our tourism operators in many different ways.” We understand you are trying to get away from stress and do the “shut down” thing for a period of time. However, that does not give anyone the right to be arrogant, rude and disrespectful to another human being.
The Canadian Travel Industry Code Of Respect
Your accommodation host, your guide, and your tour operator is not there for you to walk all over when things go south. They are not there to think for you because you do not want to. My advice is to show some sensitivity and do not act entitled. We understand you worked hard for your vacation, but so do the tourism and travel businesses who are there to entertain you and to make your adventure even more memorable.
(5) Whether you like it or not, we do not control the weather.
We have nothing to do with it when it rains and you want sun. That fog rolling in is not our fault either. That non existent snowfall on our ski hills… well, we have nothing to do with that either. You know the weather is out of our control. So why do some people, have a tough time accepting it on an emotional level. To rant and rave like a mad man (or women) and hold your accommodation host, guide or tour operator responsible for bad weather is never productive nor fair to anyone involved. It is time for you to take a “reality pill.”
Make The Best With What You Are Given
We here at eh Canada Travel try to make the best with what we are given. A good attitude plays a big part in dealing with what life throws at you and any of those nasty little surprises which pop up during ones travels. I know because I have been on many adventures, good and bad, when the weather goes bad, cars broke down, losing my wallet, running out of gas, forgetting to put the emergency brake on when parked on a hill, etc. I know right. Pretty funny!
I grew up on Vancouver Island, on the west cast of Canada. I have turned poor weather experiences into great life long memories on more than one occasion. One such experience was when a group of us went backpacking on the Keeha Bay Trail on Vancouver Island. We hiked into a wilderness campground on a massive sandy beach under a beautiful hot sun. A couple days later we hiked out under the thunder and lightening of a massive rain storm! Tents were rolling down the beach under the hurricane-like winds. People were scrambling. We were soaking wet in minutes like we were taking a shower with our clothes on. Nothing was dry anymore. Everything just doubled in weight. People were $%#@*&. The “bad attitude” virus was kicking in.
Myself, with two of my best friends, (also seasoned backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts) sort of thought it was cool! Our lives were not in danger. We were just in an “eye of a storm” per say. There were massive crashing waves. The heavy sent of forests came alive. It was fun helping others chase their tents, clothes and everything else that took flight down the beach.
Cool heads always prevail with our little group of adventure addicts. Here is the kicker to the whole “weather gone bad” thing. The hiking trail we hiked in on, was now a waste deep roaring river! How cool is that! I mean… oh now the world is ending, if you chose to listen to the others. Seeing the chaos, we decided, being good backpackers, we would be the last ones out and bring up the back-of-the-pack in case they were stragglers having issues. Me and a few like minded individuals embraced the unexpected adventure, and made sure we left no person behind. However, during the moments walking the river, we had a blast having water fights, swimming the current, teasing and laughing at each other. So many funny stories came out of that weekend for some of us. It was absolutely fantastic! So, in this case, thank you to the weather for a great adventure.
5 hacks, and tips for the Canadian Travel Industry
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Canadian Travel Influencer post by : Greg Girard
Small Town Canada Community Consultant / Co Founder at eh Canada Travel
Greg Girard is a co founding brother of the award winning adventure and travel website and blog ehCanadaTravel.com. Greg is also a top ranked Canadian travel blogger who enjoys public speaking, and working with as many small and rural Canadian communities as possible. Greg is an avid outdoor enthusiasts and amateur photographer who enjoys backpacking, road trips, wilderness camping, snowboarding and what he calls hacking (what others would call golf).
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