How can the outdoor and adventure travel industries better collaborate?


We're heading to the next Adventure Travel Trade Association conference, in Idaho, to find out.

Couer d'Alene

Couer d'Alene, Idaho. // Photo: Bureau of Land Management

Next month, SNEWS will be traveling to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, for the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s annual AdventureELEVATE conference.

Lately, we’ve been asking how the adventure travel and outdoor industries can collaborate better to help each other grow. We’ve also been watching stores, like #CoolShop of the week Next Adventure, that have created opportunities for their customers to use the gear they buy from them on curated adventures.

At ELEVATE, we’ll learn about the ways in which the adventure travel industry is growing, how you can work with bloggers and influencers to reach more people, and how to better sell experiences, among other topics. We’ll come back with advice you can use to engage your customers more and build your audience.

“A lot of people on the outdoor recreation side are seeing that customers are more motivated by experiences rather than stuff, yet that stuff is key to having a good experience,” says ATTA President Shannon Stowell. “Having the right or wrong gear could have a dramatic impact on an adventure travel trip.”

Retail shops offering trips is just one way these two industries can collide. Stowell has a few other suggestions, too, including:

  • Gear companies partnering with tour operators in other countries. Lots of people from the United States go on trips in South America, for example. If the local guides are wearing their gear and it works well, tourists may be inclined to get their own when they return home.
  • Tour operators giving their customers a shopping list before a trip, and encouraging them to shop at the local independent specialty retail shop
  • Gear brands, tour operators, and destinations working together for lower-cost photoshoots and/or to offer trip giveaways that result in email list generation

Hundreds of representatives from gear companies, tourism destinations, and guide companies across North America will be at ELEVATE to learn from each other and find ways to collaborate (not to mention participating in a whacky “Disruptive Networking Adventure,” or D.N.A., which is the most fun we’ve ever had swapping biz cards). We’ll be there looking out for examples of brands that have collaborated outside their immediate industry to great success, and we'll report back on what we learn.

There are still a few spots left for ELEVATE, which starts with an optional Day of Adventure on April 11 and ends April 13, and you can sign up here. If you can’t make it but have an adventure travel collaboration question or story idea you want us to explore, send a quick note to SNEWS Assistant Editor Kassondra Cloos.

Your turn: What motivates you, or your customers, to head outdoors?


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