Having met hundreds of tour operators and seeing thousands of enquiries over the years, one of the things that separates great operators from good ones is the ability to communicate what they actually want from their DMC.

A surprising amount of enquiries are along the lines of ‘I want an X day tour of X country’. Enquiries like this suggest you’re cutting corners when it comes to product and doing a disservice to your own customers.

Of course, it’s absolutely fine not to know exactly what you want — you’re working with a DMC for their local expertise after all…

Recently I wrote a short note about how, after a few years solely focusing on day tours with our Urban Adventures brand, I’ll once again be involved in our multi-day operations with Intrepid Travel and PEAK DMC.

The latter, PEAK DMC, operates white-label touring product for in-house and external travel brands. It’s the engine driving sustainable, experience-rich travel in 90+ countries but to travellers it’s invisible. It operates as the face and voice of a number of much-loved tour operators, embodying their brand to delight customers across the world. …

I’ve been incredibly lucky to work within Intrepid for the last four or so years. When you’re selling and marketing a product that you have total confidence in the quality of, it feels easy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard graft — as much as sitting around on Zoom calls and fiddling with spreadsheets can be classed as ‘graft’ — but talking about a product that’s delighted, and created memories for, 100,000s of people worldwide it feels a lot less like work.

Almost 3 years ago, I switched from our multi-day business to our day tour business — Urban Adventures

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you’ll have seen that Joe Biden was elected by American voters as the next President (and no, we won’t entertain baseless nonsense about fraud here).

It’s the world’s toughest job interview. It’s years of gruelling campaigning under intense media scrutiny whilst trying to formulate plans and policies for what follows after the election – when the hard work really starts.

Whilst minds far smarter and more politically astute than mine will no doubt be dissecting the results and campaigns for years to come, here are my own leadership takeaways…

Starting a new role, whether it’s in a new company or within the one you already work for, can bring a range of emotions. Alongside the excitement for taking on a challenge, nerves are natural. They might stem from some uncertainty of what the day to day will actually look like. They might come from working with new people, who haven’t experienced your quality of work before. You might be taking on a broader remit that will require you to develop new skills. It might simply be a step up, and the expectations that come with that.

Having a plan…

I’m obsessed with prolific people and teams. Those that consistently pump out top-level work at insane frequency and consistency across any domain. Think Dolly Parton writing Jolene and I Will Always Love You on the same day, just two of over 3,000 songs written during her career. Lionel Messi and C. Ronaldo redefining the heights of what we thought was possible in football and then maintaining that level for well over a decade. The Curies, Newtons, Einsteins, Edisons of scientific fields. Stephen King.

I pondered on companies that have done the same in my lifetime. Apple at its creative peak…

The mere mention of negotiating causes people to tense up. Whether it’s a fear of confrontation, loss aversion, or lack of practice, many would rather settle for less and make negotiations quick or avoid negotiating altogether.

However, understanding basic concepts and becoming familiar with a few simple techniques goes a long way to getting what you deserve — for yourself or your business.

Let’s break negotiating down into three areas. Good negotiating is patience, flexibility, and controlling the flow information.


Good things take time. Whilst swift negotiations are nice, you want to ensure you have enough time to really think…

2020 has had many of us buying, and drinking, wine. A lot. Mostly consuming at home, sometimes in parks, and, now that things are opening up here in Canada, wineries when we’re feeling fancy.

We’re blessed here in Toronto to have a few wine regions just outside the city. I visited a few last weekend for a friend’s birthday. Whilst chatting with a sommelier, he spoke of recent renovations to their two-hundred year old winery to position it as more accessible and less pretentious than their stuffy neighbours.

Blue oceans and red oceans

This reminded me of a presentation I watched a couple of years…

11 trends and ideas for the global travel industry to rebuild, better

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you that think you could not do before” — Rahm Emmanuel

The explosive growth of travel over the past few decades has fueled extraordinary economic growth for countries across the world and employment opportunities for their citizens. So much so that tourism can be classed as the world’s largest industry, depending on how granular you set your criteria.

Regardless of metrics, tourism is an important employer…

Managing projects of any size is a tricky task. Like a pirate, you’re rallying a crew to travel from one place to another against the backdrop of an infinite number of external factors that can blow you off course. An adept project manager adapts to changing conditions, gets things done through collaboration, and charts the ship’s course to get where you need to be on-time, under-budget, and without a mutiny.

Two projects are rarely similar, let alone the same. Neither are people. With experience, you start to learn what works for you and the team around you. …

Chris Castle

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