Recently, our owner and founder, Allan Wright, was interviewed by Charlie Katz of Authority Magazine. Allan reveals what led him to start Zephyr Adventures as well as other interesting tidbits that you may be curious about, such as how Zephyr got our alcohol policy…
Check out the excerpt below:
(Or read the full article)
What was the “Aha Moment” that led you to think of the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
I have a graduate degree in Entrepreneurial Management, so I had been looking for the right business to start for five years. But I was determined to only start a company doing something I loved. The “aha” moment was when a friend sent me a business plan to review that involves starting a chain of skating specialty stores. I didn’t like that idea but, seeing participation statistics, suggested he start a tour company instead. He didn’t want to do so, so I did.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
In my first year, I included alcohol in our tour packages. On the very first tour, with a small group of three, I had two partiers and one teetotaler. One night the partiers hosted us in their hotel room and it was not a good mix. After that, we decided to let people purchase their own drinks!
Zephyr is purposely small with a limited number of staff leading the limited number of annual tours. Is there room for growth in your business model? Or, is the model predicated on being able to pay the bills and live life as you wish?
The adventure travel business is very dispersed. There are a few large companies but no one dominates and most companies are still owner run. This is very likely because the owners all love to do what they do. Yes, we have room for growth but if we grow too much, we’ll all be on our computers more than in the field.
Being small allows you to provide personal attention. But many companies have small-tour groups guided by experienced tour guides. Where do you see the unique benefit that you provide to your clients?
Yes, tour groups can be small regardless of the size of the company. But in our case, our guides are often also office staff — or me, owner. More importantly, if you travel with us once, we’ll remember who you are. You can then call us up and have a real conversation, potentially with the guide you traveled with to Asia or Europe the previous summer. That doesn’t happen with larger companies where office staff is mostly confined to the office.
You can read the full interview by Charlie Katz HERE.