How I grade/review Tours and Outdoor Activities on the Western Slope of Colorado.
I have been working on this system to try and fairly and UN-unbiasedly grade/review different Tours and other outdoor adventure activities to help my readers be informed of what all is available in Western Colorado, how well they do, and what makes them different. I have come up with these categories that I use a 1-10 scale for each, and then come up with an average as their final score, 1 being least favorable and ten being top notch. Some of the categories will flat out not apply to certain activities and will just not be included in the average. The reviews/grading will be listed in both their type of activity and in the town they are based in to help my readers find what they are after. I also include some notes and many photos and slide shows on many of these reviews to dress them up for the provider’s sake and to help promote what they are doing. I hope you find this of use and please comment with suggestions etc. So here is my list of areas that I grade on and some of my reasoning.
Grading of a Tours or Outdoor activities on the Western Slope of Colorado
Service: This would be how the up front/office/phone folks treat the customers, but also how they set up, equip and train/safety instruct the customers to partake in the activity. First impressions are always important and those front line people, whether they answer a phone or are behind the counter, have a hard job but are vitally important to an operation.
Flexibility: This should be listed under service, but I guess what I am trying to say is how willing they are to cater to odd ball stuff, (as I am preparing to take a fellow and his 7 year old girl on a Ore Specimen collection trip 😉 ). I can understand how some tours cannot really afford to be flexible with what they do, and I can also imagine some that cannot afford to not be!
Fleet/equipment: Condition, coolness; these two items can contradict each other, for instance a vehicle might score high in the overall condition as they may be brand new leased vehicles but lacking in personality may make you score low in the coolness category! In other words age is not always the way to judge equipment, if an Antique Fly Rod performs well that is great, if your old raft goes flat in the middle of the river, not so. I do think age could be a real factor with like the ropes used in a climbing adventure or a zip line. So this one should have two grades-1 Condition, 2-Coolness.
Guides: Knowledge, enthusiasm, passion, ability to work with people. What makes a good guide??? That is a tough one as I know many guides with many different approaches to giving a tour, from resembling a college lecture to a comedy show, so this will be a hard one to focus in on! I have also observed that some folks click with some guides, but not others. But even if they don’t click, the customer needs to finish satisfied. On a rare occasion I might be able to observe how the guide performs during an emergency situation which could get them extra points, or not. Even if the guide might have caused the emergency, as we all know sometimes stuff happens, he needs to be able to handle himself under the pressure. That’s just part of the job! I almost forgot an important point: how well do they deal with children? As we all know some “children” can be hard to deal with and make for a real test for the guide, so extra points if they pull this one off.
Professionalism: Here is another time where you can have a contradiction. To some “professional” can make you feel like you are part of a military operation, where as being laid back and taking it easy can add to the experience. But on that note not having any professionalism can make you think you just paid good money to have your Uncle Murray show you around!
Subject Matter: Location, Location, Location. Though if you are good at what you do you can make any place seem interesting, but scenery, views, interesting history and great archeological structures always add to the value.
Web site critique: What can be gleamed from their web site? How do they handle their competition? Entertaining, informative, ease of use? Does it draw you in and drive you to sign up? This section will of course always include a link to their page. Maybe even particular parts of their page to emphasize it.
I hope you you find this grading/reviews of tours and outdoor adventure activities useful- please post a suggestion or a grading/review of this if you would. Thanks-Clay
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