The Technical and Service Skills

Once we have these in place it’s time to tackle the building blocks of the adventure. That’s where the smaller details come together to create the moments.

These are the elements that frontline staff facilitate on a daily basis to deliver a positive experience for the guests. Unlike the authentic experiences and constraints blocks that happen mostly behind the scenes, these blocks happen in front of the guests.

The technical skills refer to the actions performed by the staff and guests as part of the activities and to ensure a safe experience. How these are performed is often prescribed through certifications, legislations and industry standards.

The service skills refers to the actions performed by the staff to create a warm, welcoming and engaging environment for the guests. Each company tends to have a unique approach to hospitality and storytelling that helps differentiate the experiences offered.

After all, the guests expect certain things like that the chef knows how to prepare the dish and that the guide has a safety plan for their adventure but how we make people feel is what leaves a lasting impression.

The Activities

There are two parts to the activities: the skills needed by the staff and those needed by the guests.

On the staff side, this means providing the training required for each activity, whether it’s cooking, housekeeping, hiking or snowshoeing.

Example: Expanse Cottages trains their cleaning staff to their specific standard and has developed cleaning procedures to ensure the accommodations are to the standard advertised to their guests.

On the guest side, it means ensuring that the guests have the minimum skills required prior to the activity, providing instruction as required and choosing activities that offer an appropriate level of challenge for the skills required.

Example: We provide winter hikes to frozen waterfalls on easy to moderate trails so that they can be enjoyed by guests with minimal winter hiking experience.

Safety

Great experiences require a safe environment, physically and emotionally. Going outside of our daily lives is mentally demanding and requires a level of trust between the guest and the experience provider. Creating a safe environment allows the guests to focus on the task at hand and to enter a state of flow that is conducive to enjoying the moments.

Creating a safe environment means a number of things, from showing inclusivity and diversity early on in the journey to ensuring that the guests have the information needed to be comfortable with their decisions.

This is achieved through a combination of staff training and the implementation of risk management programs. In most cases this process is prescribed by OH&S legislation and industry standards, and requires us to think about the staff, our guests and the public that may be impacted by our operations.

Example: Our guides are trained on and follow a risk management plan and emergency action plan for each tour offered.

In many cases, safety is the perfect example of something that goes unnoticed when done well but where a failure can quickly overshadow the best parts of the experience.

Example: Food safety protocols are provincially enforced for all restaurants so that guests can focus on their meals rather than checking kitchen procedures.

It does not necessarily mean removing all risks but rather managing them to an acceptable level. This will vary with the experience offered but in most adventure a certain level of perceived risk is key to creating memorable experiences.

Example: The perceived risk associated with ice climbing is desirable and enhances the feeling of accomplishment.

Hospitality

While how we approach hospitality varies between experience providers, great hospitality always make the guests feel welcomed with warmth, cared for and that the experience was created just for them. 

Creating a sense of arrival, making charitable assumptions in difficult situations, focusing on the positive and paying attention to the small details, especially at the peak and end of the experience, are all ways that we can create the feeling of being welcomed and cared about.

Crafting guest-centered experiences starts with knowing our guests and reading their minds (i.e. observing and listening) so that we can anticipate their needs. 

Example: A warm smile and friendly welcome always await you upon entering the Beehive Artisans Market. The market offers meaningful gifts and locally crafted items that appeal to their guests while the thoughtful layout shows care in both the small details and the guest experience.

Stories

Stories allow us to go beyond simply sharing facts to create something that resonates with our guests. As with hospitality, this is an opportunity for each experience provider to differentiate themselves. 

Using the story spine framework or the 5-star framework helps create a storyline that flows throughout the entire experience with shorter stories building on each other as the experience unfolds. While we often tell stories intuitively on products we create, spending the time to define these stories creates consistency when multiple staff facilitate the same product.

There are some differences in the types of stories and how we share them depending on the type of moment we aim to create. For example:

  • Learning moments rely on information to help our guests understand the region’s natural and human history. 
  • Accomplishment moments rely on motivational stories.
  • Connection moments rely on the personal stories of the guests, local characters and the experience provider.
  • Goosebumps moments rely on stories that elevate the significance of the moment.

Sharing stories starts long before the guests arrive with marketing setting the stage early on in the journey for the in-person experience.

Example: The website of Rockies Heli Canada is crafted to share the story of breathtaking aerial views, adventures and intimacy from a unique perspective. These storylines continue as the guests head out on a flight with the pilot sharing stories of the local characters that have shaped the region before taking them to those breathtaking views of peaks and glaciers.

Another aspect to consider is the storytelling techniques and the staging required. This includes the props used, where staff stand when engaging the guests, the hand gestures used, the uniforms worn and much more.