To succeed in the tourism sector takes a unique ability to master the art of reinvention. Tourists are always looking for new experiences.
Bryan Fogelman of REO Rafting has been in the business for 32 years — tweaking and shaping his company to reflect changing times. “I have so much invested. I built the resort from the ground up. That’s my heart and soul.”
Bryan started the business as a way to meet new friends and paddle through British Columbia’s great unexplored waterways.
REO has grown to a full service seasonal resort-based operation with 30 rafts and a core of 10-12 guides. There is a team of people preparing meals and maintaining the property. Its remote location means REO has to attract workers from the Lower Mainland.
He also needs to attract visitors so REO can continue to invest in the local economy. The natural beauty is an easy sell. “Time and time again, it’s an amazing place. It changes them.”
Once again Bryan is looking to rebrand and grow his business: “I have to create something new. It’s taken a long time. We continue to innovate and market, make adjustments to how we run the business.”
Should he plan more special events where rafting isn’t the primary attraction? Or appeal to travellers from Asia and Europe? He has only six to eight weeks to figure things out. Customers need certainty when they’re booking months in advance.
For Bryan Fogelman running a business in the tourism sector is about life changing experiences for visitors, and for himself.