Hello Highland Explorer!
Background – Alastair Kennedy (Al) and George Murray had worked together as Tour Guides at the Cruise Centre in Invergordon – so they knew each other and had always had a good laugh, prancing about in their kilts and entertaining tourists from all over the world.
Al had recent experience in the hotel sector and first hand knowledge of guest requirements when visiting the Scottish Highlands.
The IT Wizard – Al also knew that George, apart from being a very affable and amusing tour guide, was a bit of a wizard on the IT front – he designs websites and has significant expertise in all matters IT. So the two sat down in George’s office in Invergordon and discussed how they could join forces. They both had years of tour guiding experience in the North Highland region. Al had years of outdoor training and was keen to promote and conduct genuine outdoor trips and adventures and not just tours to visitor attractions.
Gap in the market – When they discussed the proposed company niche, it became apparent quite quickly, that there was a gap in the market. There are taxis and private hire vehicles but only a few who guide tours – there are bigger tour companies based further south – and their market are either full day tours or multi-day tours of sightseeing – but 2021 will continue to see domestic tourism – and most have their own vehicles!
Delivering genuine Highland Experiences – They wanted to promote more Experiences – they do conduct tours to all the big visitor attractions like Loch Ness, Culloden and Dunrobin Castle – but they conduct many more activity based trips – off-road biking, food and beverage trips for groups who would rather not self-drive and miss out on the fun – caddied rounds at Tain Golf Club and fishing trips to lochs and rivers.
Ground Handlers – A further opportunity presented itself – ground handling for travel companies that send their clients to the North Highlands – especially the higher-end of the market. These higher spending tourists need to be looked after – programmes need to be put together – transport arranged – additional experiences to make their stay much more enjoyable and fulfilling.
Collaboration – Collaboration is a core value of the company – Highland Explorer champion all sorts of Highland businesses, from accommodation providers to restaurants, bike hire companies and fishing ghillies. Greater collaboration between businesses actually leads to a better outcome for everyone!