This personal story from Ragan Myers, one of Group Today's Top 10 Next Gens in Group Travel, is a perfect example of how tour planners need to be flexible and creative when things don't go as intended.
The Long Beach (Washington) Package Travel Program is six years old. The community population is roughly 1,700 residents in winter and 15,000 in summer. The first Culinary Mystery Tour Trip, which was hosted by Long Beach Package Travel and sold out in less than twenty-four hours, was with Roland Neave from Wells Gray of Canada, in June 2011.
We were scheduled to have "Taste of the Peninsula"-style picnic box lunches during the visitors' time in historically registered Oysterville, with the historically registered one-room schoolhouse our lunch venue. The morning of the visit, we received a call saying we'd be unable to use the venue due to an E.coli outbreak in the water system.
What was I going to do?
I couldn't disappoint Roland and our first bus tour! With the help of some creative minds, we decided to use the Old Train Depot building in Long Beach. We ran to Dennis Company and bought all of the red and white checkered tablecloths, I grabbed some patriotic décor from my house, and we set up, decorated, and served picnic-style box lunches at the Train Depot. It worked out perfectly! And other than Roland and the bus driver, no one on the trip knew we'd changed lunch venues in about two hours.
The tour we created for Roland and Wells Gray is now on our website. It's called "The Best of the Bog and the Bay."
Learning to go with the flow and change gears on the fly is something that I've learned to do better during my time in the industry. Helping people create memories of my community that are positive ones is something I pride myself on, each and every day!
Written by Ragan Myers, the tourism and events coordinator for City of Long Beach, Washington.