5 Steps To Create Great Recreational Tourism Experiences

In this article, I will be discussing a few steps on how to ensure great experiences regarding recreational tourism in the state of Maine. These steps will be straightforward and easy to follow. However, many people miss these small details that truly make all the difference in the end to create lifetime customers.

1: Treat them like Family


When people travel all the way up to Maine they appreciate one great thing Maine has to offer, hospitality. People from Maine are friendly when a cashier asks “How are you today?” They mean it. They look into your eyes and smile with sincerity. This is not a common behavior everywhere.

If you are running a guide service, or whatever it may be, it is important to remember names, to ask them their concerns and to make sure they are comfortable. This is important to people. Remember they are on vacation, they want the most limited amount of stress possible while they are trying to have a great experience.

2: Be prepared

When people spend money on a fishing guide they are expecting to catch a fish. When people go hunting with a guide they expect to take home an animal, although, sometimes this isn’t so. Guides must be experienced. They should be prepared to work around the least ideal situations. It is important for them to schedule dates to go out accordingly to ideal conditions. It’s hard to predict these patterns and sometimes you will be forced to perform in the least ideal conditions. Going out on days by yourself and observing patterns is key. For example, a carter fisherman should go out on days they would normally not catch and attempt to do so. This will make them much more prepared for a day where the weather is not ideal because even on the least ideal days you want that customer to get the ideal experience they paid for. 

3: Look the Part


Whatever the activity is, it is important for professionals to look like pros. This means they must be using the best and most up to date gear. Backcountry ski guides should be using the most up to date skiing equipment and safety gear. Hunting guides should be wearing the proper equipment and if they have hunting dogs, they should look in shape and well-trained. If they are a fishing guide, having the proper tackle that gets the job done is important. This also goes for whitewater rafting guides with all their equipment. There are a couple of key reasons why this is very important. One is that it shows the professionals are prepared. The next reason is it shows the client that they have an idea of what they are doing. Regardless of what the business is, having the proper equipment makes a big difference and gives the client some piece of mind.

4: Capitalize on the great moments with Pictures and Video

Whether the customer has just hit their first great line on skis, shot their first big buck, or if they just caught a monster fish, it’s necessary to capitalize on these moments because it highlights what customers have been waiting for all along. Pictures and videos are a great way of doing this. For example, whitewater rafting professionals hire a photographer and a videographer on the river to capture moments of the customers experience going through the rapids. When the trip is over the customers can watch a video of themselves and hold those great experiences dear. They can even bring the video home to show friends and family. 

5: Have Fun

By showing the client that you enjoy the job you are doing makes the overall experience much more memorable. The definition of recreation is an activity done for enjoyment when one is not working. That being said, the activity at hand shouldn’t appear like work for the professional. Having fun with the clients shows them that you are truly living out your passion. Furthermore, when people are having fun all around you, this, in turn, should give the client the ability to have fun as well. This will ensure that great memories will be created. 

Steps to Get the True Maine Experience

 If you’re a business owner in the tourism sector and want to know the best way you can provide a more personal experience for your customer, you will find this article particularly helpful. Enjoy!

  Step 1: Know Your Customers.

It’s crucial for any business owner to fully understand the customers you’re targeting. There are so many different types of travelers that visit and all of them expect you to be able to provide for there wants and needs without you even meeting them. To start, study your location(s) and the resources that it has to offer. Knowing what resources your business has to offer will allow you to target the right customer segments. Consider things like: is your business family friendly, are people going to want to plan a family vacation here, or do your resources provide activities that are more oriented for a specific customer only? By deciphering between these things, you will have a much better understanding of how to target your customer.
Here is a link that will explain the different types of customers:

Step 2: Determine the Theme or Story That Best Suits Your Capabilities to Your Customers Wants/Needs.

To determine this, look back to your location and the resources that it provides. First, what attributes make this location authentic? A lot of local towns in Maine represent a long history of the area, how it was developed, and how some of the local businesses operate. For example, you can travel almost anywhere along Maine’s coastline and get a taste of the fishermen’s culture that has been a way of life for local families dating back many generations. This is a great example of showing how tourism businesses along the coast have utilized the deep history of fishing to provide a representation of the locations authenticity. Secondly, determine something unique about your location(s) that can differentiate yourself from competitors. By differentiating yourself you put your business in a better position to target customers looking for a unique experience.

Step 3: Plan the Experience.

It’s crucial that the customer has a positive travel experience from the time they leave their house to the time they arrive at your location. This includes any transportation or equipment needed, any accommodations for the customer, and any activities that are offered. The information about your business provided to the customer and how it is provided to them is key. Determine where the customer will go, what they will do, the activities they will encounter, and how is it unique and authentic compared to competitors? How will the customer be engaged and interacted with? Is there one specific activity or are there several? By targeting these attributes, you are ensuring that the customer’s experience is well-planned and that they are the main focus.

Step 4: Map Out the Flow of Itinerary for You, Your Staff, and Your Partners.

Yourself, your staff, and your partners are what makes or breaks your business. These individuals are the frontline personnel that your customers are going to be interacting with. It’s very important that every staff member or partner understands the vision of the company and the goals they are trying to achieve when dealing with customers. To do so effectively, break each component of the experience into detailed segments that are easy for the staff and partners to understand and reciprocate. Promote safety standards and precautions, as well as a plan to execute such protocols. Plan and prepare for guest limitations (dietary restrictions, handicaps, age issues, etc). Being prepared for guests with any issue shows to the customer that you are taking the extra time to ensure that the experience for these customers is very important to your business.
Here is a link that will help you develop an easy to read and understand flowchart:

Step 5: Know Your Market Positioning.

Knowing your market positioning is very important in order for you to properly target your customers. Knowing whether you are targeting a mass market, niche market, major market or customized market is crucial for deciding how to market your business. To understand what your market positioning is, compare your businesses attributes with these questions: who are your competitors, how are they rated, what makes your business different, what about your location represents a sense culture or heritage, is your location nature-based or does is promote seasonal events, is your business targeting nationally, internationally or both? By determining these questions, you will have a good sense of what your market positioning is and how you can utilize your characteristics to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Here is a link that will help you understand how to determine your businesses market positioning:

Step 6: Market Your Experience.

Marketing your business to your customer is a must and to do it effectively will decide whether you attract attention to your location or not. Break the market into 4 sectors: Business to Consumer, Consumer to Business, Customer to Customer, and Business to Business. These 4 sectors are the ways that your organization’s information is passed throughout the company. It’s crucial that you target all of these sectors in order to effectively market the experience. Also, setting an attractive selling price is very important as a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Here is a link that discusses 7 ways to market your tourism business:

Step 7: Make It Unique and Authentic.

By providing a unique and authentic experience, you are able to connect with customers on a more personal level. Making sure that your customers are learning about your business and are getting hands-on in activities shows to them that your business is going above and beyond to meet the wants and needs of your customers. Connecting with your customers on a personal level makes the experience memorable for them, and they are more likely to share their experience with family, friends, or even post about it on social media. Making your service unique and authentic truly sets you apart from the competitors and proves that you’re providing a true Maine experience.

Step 8: Evaluate Your Progress.

It’s important to evaluate how the company is operating. If things are going awesome, see how you can introduce something new to test out. If things are not operating smoothly, see what you can do differently to make things more valuable to the customer. Or, should you save your money and choose a different path to the desired target market?

8 Essential Steps to Creating a Unique Tourism Experience

As we shift from a service economy to one focusing on experiences the tourism industry has the opportunity to connect with customers on a new level. Instead of promoting the same old tourism services to a blanket audience and competing on price, tourism providers can now create unique experiences that compete on value.  A unique tourism experience isn’t something that can be built in a day and it requires hard work and an understanding of your resources and your customer’s needs. Here are the eight essential steps to take when creating a tourism experience.


  1. Get to Know Your Customers.


If you don’t know who your customers are or what they want for an experience it’s difficult to even get started crafting a successful package. Knowing your target customers profile of likes and dislikes can help focus in on what types of experiences they would be interested in.  Customer profiles can be developed by simply surveying your current customers or by looking at your local tourism market research to gain a better understanding of who is visiting your region.  Using either method allows you to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and craft a better experience that meets or exceeds their expectations.

Now that you know who you are serving and who you could be serving its time to find out what will make our experience special.


  1. What is Going to Make Your Experience Special?

If you create an experience that can be copied by anyone you will be competing for customers on price alone. Understanding what makes your experience special adds value that cannot be copied so easily. Take a look at your community or region and think about what makes it special or unique? Who or what makes people want to visit your location? Are there some lesser known hot spots like restaurants or hiking paths that are only known to locals? Does your area have a historic industry that might allow you to partner with a non-traditional tourism business?

A great example of this would be the Kennebec historic log drives or ice harvesting business. Is there a local carpenter that uses reclaimed wood from those historic drives or someone who can bring the history to life and really engage your audience? Try to balance physical and emotional elements that can give your customers a well-rounded journey.


  1. What Type of Experience Fit Best With Your Business?

Now that you know what makes you special it’s time to refine your options. What elements of your community fit best with your already existing business? Is there a certain experience package that you could develop that fits or adds value to something you already offer? Start by grouping like experiences together under broad titles like outdoor adventures, reliving local history, or eating your way through Southern Maine. Start to think about what customers will leave your experience feeling and how they can share their experience with others. Will they write a review on Tripadvisor or will the share a video or their journey on Facebook for everyone to see?


  1. Plan Your Experience Program or Package!

Now that you know everything you can offer it’s time to plan what you are actually going to offer customers. Try to build your experience around a story or theme that fits with local attitudes. This will give your customers a consistent message throughout their journey. Now that you have a theme or story determine what the core elements or the experience will be. These elements should be the major focus of the program that customers cannot miss!

After you’ve determined your core elements develop a detailed plan that includes where guests will go and what they will do as well as all key players who will be guides or storytellers involved. Make sure you plan activities that will engage customers and immerse them in the story more than a demonstration would.


Ensure that for each step of the journey you have a contingency plan in place so the whole experience does not unravel if one thing falls through.


  1. Find your partners, suppliers, and staff!

With every element of your experience planned it’s time to find the people who are going to make this dream a reality! Find businesses and suppliers who will be your key partners in delivering this experience. This could be partnering with a hotel to use a dining room or a paddleboard rental to get equipment for an on the water tour.


When hiring your staff make sure each employee is ready to help deliver every element of the experience so the customer gets a cohesive message. Make sure each staff member knows their part in delivering the experience and how they fit into the big picture. Develop a detailed strict for each part of the customer’s journey but allow for flexibility so customer don’t feel rushed or miss out. Make sure you train each employee thoroughly and work out any kinks before real customers book. This may take a few dry runs with friends or family members at little or no cost to make sure everything is working efficiently.


  1. Find Your Place in The Market and Determine Your Price!

To determine your price you have to find your place in the market. Determine if you are offering this to domestic tourist, international tourist, or both. You should also decide if this is a niche experience or something that everyone wants to do. Answering these questions will help you define your experience and find its place in the market.


Once you know your place in the market it’s time to decide on your selling price. Understanding what similar experiences in your market are priced at will ensure you do not underprice.


It might be hard in the beginning to determine the value so it’s okay to set an exact profit margin and develop the price that way. Test prices and find what one works best in your market or perhaps develop different price levels for customers who might only want and value parts of the experience.


  1. Market Your Experience.

Market your experience on the best channels to reach your target customers. This will require the development of a detailed marketing plan for each channel you plan to use. Be aware of what customer are saying about your business and change marketing plans accordingly.


Look to your local chamber of commerce or state tourism organization for opportunities to market. Maine has two great websites https://www.mainetourism.com & https://visitmaine.com  that cater to tourist and can help you market you experience


  1. Deliver and Evaluate Using Feedback.

Deliver your experience and be ready to reevaluate the experience from yours and the customer’s mindset. Continue to identify ways to better the experience from feedback from customers as well as key partners. Use both of these methods to fine-tune your experience and make it the best in the market!

Now it’s time to  go through these steps to create your own  unique experience that customer will book in a heartbeat!

Into the Classroom Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

Into The Classroom

Maine is known as a world-class fishery, anglers travel from all over just to get a chance to catch Maine fish. Some may think that all of this just happens because Maine is a pristine landscape with abundant fish and wildlife. Actually, keeping Maine’s fish and wildlife in balance is a lot of hard work tasked to many people all across the state. Recently UMF’s Rec 106 class got a chance to dive into the world of wildlife and fisheries management.

On the first day of class, we learned that our professor, Sonny Pierce, wouldn’t just be teaching us from a textbook. Instead, he would use his 25 years experience working as a fisheries biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and his own personal passion for fishing. Most nights in class we would learn about habitat management, the life cycles of wildlife and fish, working with the public, and why it’s so important for Maine to care about its fisheries and wildlife. While students can learn a lot in the classroom Sonny knew we could learn just as much with hands-on experience and planned a field trip to the Embden Fish Rearing Station.

It was early on a Saturday morning when I and my fellow classmates arrived on campus half awake and ready to travel to Embden. By some miracle, all of our class was there on time and most were prepared.  After a quick roll call, we all packed into cars and made the 40-minute journey to the station not knowing what was in store for us when we arrived. As we drove I gazed out the window trying not to fall asleep and was happy to see the very habitats we had been taking notes on in class in their entirety.

Embden Maine

Photo courtesy of the Maine Encyclopedia.

As we pulled into the station it was not at all what I expected, which in all fairness might have been along the lines of the fish section at Petco or the tanks at Seaworld but I digress. Instead, I saw a house and a large building with two large doors on each end and the constant sound of bubbling water filled the air. We were greeted by our tour guide Gene Arsenault the stations Fish Culture Supervisor and he gave us a rundown of the stations’ stats and a bit of history. After that, we were off to explore the station piece by piece building by building.

We started at the source of all the water used in the facility. A small shed on the edge of the property with two large pipes that seemed to go on forever and disappear into the forest. These pipes actually ended in Embden pond, one in shallow water and one out deeper, bringing water all the way back to the mixing shed. Once in the shed, the water passed through screens and under lights to keep it debris free and somewhat sterile. The water was then pumped into the largest building which at the point we all assumed had the fish seeing as we hadn’t seen any yet.

On our way to see if our hunch was true we stopped to look at the large trucks fitted with tanks used for transporting fish. Gene told us that the trucks travel all over Maine and as far North as St.Agatha a 5-hour trip one way from the station. The trucks were pretty big and as you can imagine cant reach every body of water that needs to be stocked in Maine. For harder to reach or remote locations a seaplane flown by the Maine Warden service lends a hand or the fish get backpacked in by a team of two. These methods might seem a little extreme or like a lot of work but this is what goes into making Maine a world class fishery. 

IMG_2920We finally made it to the big building which at the point from the smell we knew the fish were there. As we walked in we could hear water bubbling and splashing from what looked like metal kiddy pools that filled the entire building. As I stepped closer to them the tanks looked empty but were actually completely full of small dark-colored fish.




Each tank was full and the fish got bigger as we moved throughout the building. Gene demonstrated how the fish were fed with automatic feeders stationed above the tanks and how their feeding habits changed with size. The bigger they got the more aggressive and the more we got splashed as Gene threw a handful of food into the tank.


IMG_2921We left the building just as we came in, following the flow of the water. The water in each tank is kept fresh constantly pumping old water out. This old water travels out of the building and into the drum building. No this not where Gene keeps his drum kit but instead two huge drums with nylons filters that the water runs through on its way to the evaporation pool. The station only keeps one drum on at a time just in case it breaks down they have a backup. Water then flows out of the drum room and into an outside holding tank that was by far the worst smelling part of this trip! But everything has a purpose and nothing goes to waste no matter how bad it smells. Filtered water leaves the tank and goes back into the water table while the bad smelling scum is left behind. This scum or sediment is actually sold to farmers to fertilize their fields. We had seen everything there was to see, smelt every smell, and no one fell asleep despite it being before noon on a Saturday.

I’d like to think that we all went back into the classroom with a better understanding and appreciation of Maine fisheries. I know I came back with a better understanding of just how much work goes into making sure everyone who casts a line in Maine has a chance of catching something.

For more information about the Embden Fish Station visit their page on Maine.gov

Wecome Back!


Welcome back!!! We hope everyone had a wonderful summer filled with rad adventures and lots of sunshine! All of us at TRAIL are pumped to be here and are excited to get back to exploring Franklin County and all it has to offer! This year we plan to bring you information about the best trails and outdoor activites, student events, business insights, and interviews with people making a difference in the recreation community!

Heres hoping you all had a wonderful first week of classes and spent some time outside enjoying our last bit of summer!





From the Classroom to the Slopes


When I walked in on the first day of class to Alpine Operations, Leadership, and Management I had no idea what I was in for. As someone who has never even had a pair of ski boots on her feet, I was a bit intimidated by this class dealing with an industry I knew nothing about. Luckily, my class was full of experienced alpine students many of whom work on mountains in and around Franklin county.

Our first task as a class was to decide on an event that we would all take part in planning. We decided to hold a ski and snowboard event over spring break. This gave us only three weeks to get our proposal approved and market the event. We choose Titcomb Mountain as our location and with the help of their General Manager Megan Roberts, our proposal was approved. With Titcomb offering skiing and snowboarding for every age and skill level we decided our events should be just as inclusive. With eight events planned my class got to work advertising our event The Titcomb Challenge. With events like a boot race, costume contest, ollie contest, and a light parade we hoped to attract all ages. We used posters, a facebook event, a press release, and tabling in the students center to get the word out.

Finally, the day had arrived, I walked into the lodge at 8 A.M. and set up the registration table. Everyone working the first shift was groggy and nervous, we had no idea if anyone would show up to this event we had put so much work into. Our Professor Clyde Mitchell kept morale up as we waited for people to arrive at the mountain. The first people to sign up were two little kids who couldn’t wait to compete! One of them was our first winner coming in first place for our boot race. As the day continued events were running smoothly and every team member was hard at work.

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The day ended at 9 P.M. with everyone participating in a light parade down the main slope and gathering in the lodge around a fire.

My class learned a lot about leadership and how planning an event can bring the community together.