Travelers Seeking Outdoor Activities
Travelers increasingly seek out vacations oriented to outdoor activities, such as hiking, kayaking and snowmobiling.
The outdoor-recreation market will strengthen significantly in 2015, a new report from the American Recreation Coalition, Outdoor Recreation Outlook 2015, predicts. Reasons for the forecasted surge include the National Park System’s Centennial Campaign; continued recovery from Hurricane Sandy, in 2012; the government shutdown in 2013; and the National Park Service’s commitment to 2020 Vision: Interagency Stewardship Priorities for America’s National Wilderness Preservation System, an agreement among federal land-management agencies that aims to bring more visitors to parks.
Resorts that focus on outdoor activities—especially those near major national parks—are preparing for a rise in bookings. Some have already noticed a change. “We are seeing an increase in the number of guests who are interested in Yosemite, which is only three hours away from where we’re located, in Calaveras County,” says Jennifer Langdon, general manager of Mountain Retreat Resort, in Arnold, California, which is managed by Grand Pacific Resorts. “Guests appreciate that they can show up the day they want to visit, receive a walk-up pass, enjoy the sights and return at the end of the day to our cozy, mountain-inspired lodging.”
The first step in creating a positive outdoor-recreation experience for guests is making the great outdoors as accessible as possible—ideally, with help from the resort. To ensure that all staff members are up-to-date on park developments, Mountain Retreat Resort schedules annual outings and encourages associates to immerse themselves in the activities available nearby. “There’s so much to do and see in this area that owners and guests can easily suffer from information overload,” Langdon says. “We want our associates to be able to speak authoritatively about the area and make recommendations based on an owner’s interests.”
Mountain Retreat Resort partners with local businesses, parks and vendors to keep up with the latest tourism trends and updates its activities accordingly. The resort is hiring more staff members to support an expanding activities department that can offer guided hikes in summer and snowshoeing tours in winter. “Resort vacations are by nature a family affair,” Langdon says. “Consider everyone when planning your activity calendar so you have something for every age and ability level.”
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