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Changing on the Fly: Year in Review from our President

2016…Wow it seems like yesterday that I was sitting with friends trying to figure out how old we would be in the year 2000, if we would be flying our car, hoverboard or simply teleporting to work? What would fashion be like? Well there are no hoverboards, nor flying cars, teleporting may never exist and fashion (as always) seems to flip between the 60s and 80s. They say history repeats itself, but the 80s?! Really?

What has changed since then is how travellers travel. With so many global events (good and bad) happening on an almost weekly basis, some are now a bit hesitant to travel. Others seem more likely to divert their travel plans to places that are safe, clean, fun, and relatively nearby. Since our opening in 1985, Vancouver has gone from a little city that could to a world-class destination on many people’s bucket list. And, as a tour company we need to stay a step ahead. We need to look into our magic crystal ball and see how the next year is shaping up and how many vehicles will be required. Sell some? Buy some? Like a newborn baby our new vehicles take nine months to arrive. They are ordered in August, for delivery in May just in time for cruise ship season. It is no wonder we treat them like a baby and greet them with a big smile on delivery day. I’ve only hugged and kissed a few – I swear!

May I add, back in the days of wondering what my future would be like buses were never given an ounce of thought. In fact I hated taking the bus as a kid, now one drives by and I almost embarrassingly know the year, model, chassis and manufacturer.

Our four seasons of visitors come in waves and no matter how many years we’ve been in this industry there is no exact science for being fully prepared. Like any good business we have historical numbers, forecasts, projections and budgets, but a lot of these numbers are frankly out of our hands. We simply cannot control the contributing factors to one’s decision to travel. As a city and country neighbouring the red, white and blue of the United States of America, our biggest market is of course Americans. With their dollar being stronger than ours it makes our country relatively cheaper to visit.

Conversely, during the most recent recession we saw a massive decline in visitors, with the UK and US markets being hit the hardest. Cruise ships began to reposition to the neighbouring city of Seattle, bypassing Vancouver altogether. In the years following, we watched as all of these ships, and more, returned to our beautiful port in downtown Vancouver. Of course this was one of the things we could actually plan for as the cruise ship schedule comes out fairly well in advance. The increase in cruise ship passengers helped contribute to Vancouver achieving record numbers in 2015. As a whole the tourism industry hopes this to be the new norm.

At Landsea Tours & Adventures, we have an amazing work family of 80. Like most tourism companies we are only as strong as our team. Finding the staff is no easy task. We have very high standards for our levels of service and this requires certain personalities. Actually we retain about 70% of our staff, a respectable number considering we operate a fluctuating high and low season. We are open all year round but the volume of visitors drop noticeably in the winter. With 2014 and 2015 being strong years, we’ve expanded our fleet and now focus our attention on greater recruitment. Tourism is all about adapting, or to use a hockey term “change on the fly”. Maybe that’s why we are all in it for the chase, and the highs of nailing it. Subsequently, we see ourselves adapting our hiring process, our training procedures and connecting to those who don’t work for us, yet. Who will be back? Who will submit their application? Who will be our next shining star? Regardless, we anticipate and equally welcome an active and energetic team.

There are so many unknowns in our line of work, but one thing is for sure, the main reason we just celebrated our 30th year in operation is because of our team. We will continue to search high and low to find the next shining star that will wear our Landsea blue with pride and care for our visitors like they are part of our family.

Here’s to my team, our guests, and our babies that take nine months to arrive and to a prosperous 2016 for everyone!

 

All the best,

Kevin Pearce
President and Co-Owner
Landsea Tours & Adventures

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