9 Looking Ahead
Moccasin Trails plans to grow the business, expand the family, and build new relationships with other Indigenous communities within BC and internationally. There seems to be a lot of interest. For example, the ex-chief in Penticton would like to get involved in tourism and knows the sites of interest in his area. Moccasin Trails is looking for local champions who are in tune with their culture, share the same values, and focus on the education of visitors. This could lead into franchising opportunities, such as “Moccasin Trails Penticton.” As things progress, Greg and Frank could manage at the business level, rather than leading the trips. A wishlist of partners includes wineries, golf courses, and hotels. The wishlist for expansion also includes funds to purchase a van to accommodate multi-day adventures; up until now, they have been renting.
A noteworthy opportunity is the high-end tourism segment, offering customized and private packages. After proving over the years that they are a valuable partner, Moccasin Trails was approached by the Rocky Mountaineer, and they plan to work together in the summer of 2020. Additional plans call for a future top first class travelers on the train that Moccasin Trails can serve with special private experiences, such as a night in a teepee or a winter home.
Greg also identified a premium opportunity in Victoria, involving a high-end service centre. First class visitors are looking for Indigenous experiences, and with the permission from the local band, Moccasin Trails plans to build up this business and later transfer it to the local community to run. It has significant potential and might involve the relocation of Greg’s business partner.
Greg would also like to approach retired NHL players in Kelowna. Taking them on a special tour with their families would create a lot of buzz throughout their extensive social media followings and attract a high-end market and influencers. For the company’s social media platforms, they would like to explore linking Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to cross-post all content.
Using Stats Canada or the research undertaken by tourism associations, the company would also like to target specific locations (e.g., with mailouts). People get a lot of emails and social media messages, so they plan to stand out with paper-based advertising. A new booking system would also allow to reduce reservations taken over the phone and enable the collection of feedback through the system, including permission to use their testimonials and pictures.
Over time, other aspects of Indigenous culture, such as sweat lodges, could be added after thorough consultation. Greg anticipates that Canadians are going to make an effort to build relationships with Indigenous nations through education, both in schools and through self-initiated research for the older demographic that was part of the previous curriculum. This will lead to a deeper respect for and stronger relationships with Indigenous nations.
Other opportunities include branching out into organizing golf tours and other packages, serving Okanagan tourism rather that strictly focusing on Indigenous culture and eliminating the need and expenses for Indigenous leaders.