Telling People Where to Go
Boy, do I like to do that!! I can bark orders with the best of them! It just dawned on me that I have been experiencing telling others "where to go" for a very long time!
Grayline Bus Tours
For as long as I can remember, (yes that is a long time), I’ve been directing people where to go. And by that I mean—what highway, what by-way, what tourist attraction, and what bus to take.
During my summers in high school and college, my job was working for Grayline Bus Tours in the Black Hills. I sat at a desk in numerous hotel lobbies in Rapid City. Some summers I also drove to other motels and touched base with them about Grayline Tours and brochures..
It was at the height of the tourism ‘years’ that our tour busses were packed full. It was a great time to be in tourism. We had buses going to the Southern Hills and to the Northern Hills and then three times a week to the Passion Play in Spearfish. I worked hard talking to customers and making it easy and convenient for them to get a tour and inform them about what they would be visiting by bus or by their own transportation. Oh, the questions that came up--I could have written a book!
I’ll Be Their Guide
Another job I had during this time was working at a very large campground in Rapid City at the time. It was when Holiday Inn’s had campgrounds and I worked the desk, helping tourists. Those were the best times and I loved my jobs. It came easy for me to guide them on a map and tell there what sites they needed to see. The Holiday Inn Trav’L Park had over 200 sites for camping and that did not include tenting space. There were times that we needed overflow too as the tourism business was booming.
Family and friends had always come out to the Hills when I was growing up. There would be discussions as to what to go see and how to make several days of it, and how to make those destination stops. It continued on into my adult years-- what tourist attractions to go to and what not to miss or any special events going on that we wanted to be sure to visit. Even my father and uncle, during their college years, drove tour buses in the hills.
It’s In My Blood…
I LOVE guiding people and making sure they get to the sites they want to see, or even sites they had no idea about. There are many times that I wish I had gone into tourism as a profession, but now I get the best of all worlds. I get to work on the economic and community development side in our state, rural countryside, and I also help others through Travel Backroads .
Via my online directory, I am wanting to help tourists and weekend travelers find their destination and business, or a service that they should know about. Some people want me to sample a business's chicken, or pie. I love knowing that and enjoy marketing businesses and services. My problem is there is only one of me and thousands of businesses. But I believe I have a service to offer and it IS of VALUE.
I care more than many about local business, I believe that. I will do what it takes to help others know how to find my customers' business. My directory is just getting it’s “feet wet” and we're off and running.
…It Does Comes Natural to Me!
Let's do this!
What are you Passionate about?
I had another conversation the other day with a gentleman. He told me that he does not care whether he shops local or not. He does not care if his community shrivels up and dies, or not. Surely he does care somewhere inside of him.
When do things become an obsession with someone? I think I have crossed over into that obsession zone. My heart kind of fell when I heard him say that so emphatically. Here I am so concerned for our small rural communities and small rural businesses, and he does not really care.
Then I ask myself, why do I care so much?
They say to be worried when you talk to yourself, but be very afraid when you answer yourself back!
I do not know why I care so much, I just do.
I suppose if our grocery stores disappear, we just do the "Amazon" thing or the new Walmart Blue Box, or Hello Fresh or Blue Apron. We can now shop and get a boxed meal and drive up to get it, or if you live a distance away, they will probably mail it to you. This too shall run its course. Entrepreneurs and big box stores have found a new niche'. Big stores especially have to remain pertinent and viable too or they are looking at bankruptcy.
It is Not Easy...
I thought selling Ads, Videos, "The Works" would be easy for me at Travel Backroads. It is not. Some have jumped on my bandwagon and see my vision for their businesses. I live, eat, and breathe Travel Backroads but it's not an easy thing to sell my vision to other businesses. One problem might be that I'm not a salesperson, yet this is the easiest thing in the world for me to sell. I believe in it and I am passionate about what value I am bringing to the table.
We all have to find our passion. I know day in and day out you might face another day where there are few customers or the weather has shut you down again. Maybe you have had to go out of business and your dream came crashing down. Be open to working with others in your community because it is that "co-opetition" that is going to help you in the long run and the "collaboration". It is not easy day in and day out to find that passion. But I think we all just need to think back to what got us started on our dream to begin with.