Everybody makes a mistake, and there should not be any shame from making an honest error. HOWEVER, failing to learn from a mistake is where the real problem lies. Listed below are the common errors made by fishing and hunting guides in their day-to-day business. Correct these errors and you are well on your way to improving your profits.
Failing to Keep a List
Most of the people involved in the hunting and fishing business rely too heavily on word of mouth. That is one reason why so many of these guides find themselves trying to work at another job while also offering their guide services. One of the best things a guide can do is capture contact information from their clients. Get their email, home address and phone numbers and store them in one spot. This makes it a snap to send out an email blast announcing news and more services. This leads us to the next mistake . . .
Failing to Stay in Touch
Guides are like old high school friends. Everyone promises to keep in touch and stay connected, but it rarely happens. If you operate a hunting lodge or a fishing guide service you owe it to yourself to plan out a strategy to stay in touch with past clients. Send them a postcard about the upcoming season. Drop them an email to ask if they have any recent trophy pics they want to share. Send them a letter once a quarter about things they can do to prepare for next season. Stay in touch so they will get in touch with you for their next outing.
Failing to have a Strong Set of Policies
What will you do if there is a tornado that destroys your lodge? What if the temperatures go out of whack at your location and leave your clients empty handed? What if your client ignores your requests and takes the wrong trophy? You cannot possibly compensate a client for every conceivable catastrophe but you need to be prepared. Have your policies laid out in writing and ask the client to sign a waiver form covering items out of your control. The power of a handshake and a verbal agreement is not what it used to be.
Failing to Branch Out
Do you offer only type of service at your lodge? Maybe you are a quail guide and all you do is offer quail hunts. There is nothing wrong with having a laser-beam focus on doing one thing and doing it better than the competition. But that does not mean you can’t branch out in other ways. Have you considered chatting with another guide that offers a different type of service and selling it to your list (see first point above)? If you are a quail guide, I would imagine you could sell quite a few guided turkey hunts for your turkey expert down the road and he would cut you a commission on each sale.
Failing to Pay Attention to the Small Details
When a hunter or angler comes to you for your services they expect you to take care of everything. They literally want to show up, put in a little effort and leave with a trophy. It is important that you pay attention to the little details to make the trip enjoyable. Clean sheets on the bed, recently cleaned restrooms, clean vehicle for transporting guests and a clean, fresh smell in the lodge are just a few examples. Keep everything tidy and presentable and you will reap the reward of repeat bookings.
Have you fallen victim to any of these mistakes? If so, what steps are you taking to correct them? Leave me a comment, or question, below and I will be happy to help you out.