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FareHarbor Cares: Volunteer Trip To North and South Carolina

fareharbor cares

Ask any of our employees and they’ll tell you—one of the best things about FareHarbor is the community built around it.

Although we’re connected by business, the little stories about life always seem to work their way in. Whether it’s tacked onto the end of an over-the-phone training or tucked into an email about affiliates, we love getting to know the people, places and reasons behind the businesses we work with.

So when Hurricane Florence swept through and rattled part of our community, we felt it. We turned to our friends at SBP and Americorps, who helped us connect with families in North and South Carolina that needed a hand in rebuilding what they’d lost.

volunteers south carolina

Our team of twelve volunteers headed to Columbia and New Bern to help repair homes damaged by Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Joaquin. The trip was incredible! Both the volunteer teams we worked with and the people we were there to help were warm and welcoming.

Replacing wet insulation and painting baseboards was certainly a change of pace from the work we’re used to, but all too worth it. What a gift to make a difference for someone like Catherine, the sweet, 90-year old Columbia native whose severely water damaged home was infested with bugs and plagued by leaking water prior to our arrival.

volunteers north carolina

sbp and fareharbor

After so many trips to the area for business alone, we were happy to be in the Carolinas with a bigger purpose. But still, we couldn’t pass on the opportunity to meet with some of the locals that had us charmed with the area in the first place.

When our time with Catherine and the others came to an end, we stole away to visit some FareHarbor clients in the area. We ended up visiting more than twenty local tour & activity businesses between North and South Carolina, tipping the trip into the “best ever” category.

With team members from four different departments on the trip, we were able to mix business with leisure, offering Dashboard help, tips and tricks in between all of the fun stuff. (And there was a lot of fun stuff.)

client visit north carolina

Express Water Sports

pineapple tours

Pineapple Tours

We watched osprey catching fish with Wilmington Water Tours, sipped our way through a historic pub crawl with Original Pub and Brewery Tours, dined on she-crab soup in Charleston, got spooked at a haunted jail with Bulldog Tours and enjoyed countless other moments connecting with our amazing, local clients.

Perhaps most importantly, we enjoyed the priceless reminder of why we love this industry as we do. Thank you to everyone in North and South Carolina that we had the opportunity to connect with. We left feeling inspired, motivated and ever grateful for the people and places we’ve met through FareHarbor.

A special thank you to SBP and Americorps for organizing an incredible volunteer trip. It all starts with you!

group photo

Let’s Recap! The FareHarbor User Conference

Last Monday, magic happened. And it’s all thanks to you!

More than 300 attendees from 7 different countries joined us in Las Vegas for a full day of all things tours, activities and of course, FareHarbor, at the very first FareHarbor User Conference.

Ever focused on growing your business, we packed one-on-one meetings, educational sessions and even a feature release in between the countless conversations, connections and some pretty tasty food (if we do say so ourselves).

After an endless amount of phone calls and emails exchanged, it was incredible to meet so many of you face-to-face. Our team left feeling humbled by the community that’s formed around FareHarbor, and motivated by the passion and drive you all have for this industry.

Notable moments & statistics

Boost by FareHarbor

  • More than 60 friendly faces from the FareHarbor team in attendance.
  • Personalized, one-on-one meetings with 150 clients.
  • 15 general sessions covering everything from social media to Dashboard best practices.
  • Average session rating of 4.5 out of 5 for usefulness.
  • More than $1 million collectively won on slot machines. (Just makin’ sure you’re still paying attention!)

We also announced the release of FareHarbor Boost, a digital marketing program backed by our team of certified experts. The goal here is simple—to support you in making smart, data-driven marketing decisions.

We’ll work with you to dig through your data, and deliver custom-built strategies that cater to your business and market. From PPC to SEO, organic search to email, we’ll help you decide what’s working, what isn’t, and where next to focus your budget.

As with all of our tools and benefits, FareHarbor Boost is completely free to FareHarbor clients. Simply get in touch if you’re ready for a boost! Our digital marketing experts are excited to start working with you and perfecting your marketing campaigns.

Your most asked questions

FareHarbor User Conference Questions

Over the course of the conference, you sent in 402 questions ranging from, “What time is lunch?” to “Does a blog help SEO?” For brevity’s sake, we selected a few of the most-asked questions to answer here:

Does a blog help SEO? Absolutely! Blogs are one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep fresh, relevant content flowing on your website, and a great way to boost your overall SEO strategy.

With the proper keyword research and on-page SEO, blogging can help your website rank for relevant keywords that bring more traffic and revenue to your business. Here are a few help docs to get you started:

I’m very active on social media, but I don’t feel like I see much business from it. What am I doing wrong? Is it now a total pay to play arena? When it comes to social media marketing, there are two options: organic and paid. Organic allows you as a brand to control 100% of the channel content and platforms. With organic social media, your posts will reach people who have liked or followed your page directly and have chosen to engage with your brand.

On the other end, paid social media allows you to reach users that don’t already follow your brand through boosted posts, offers and promotions. This enables you to target those who have expressed interest in your type of business or service, or a specific demographic.

If you’re not seeing great engagement from your social media marketing efforts, try changing up your content or posting strategy. If refreshing your strategy doesn’t increase your brand awareness and engagement, try incorporating paid posts and promotions.

Remember, all of social media is trial-and-error. Keep at it, and eventually you’ll find the content, frequency and balance between paid and organic posts that works for you.

How do you recommend introducing hotel concierges to becoming an affiliate and using the features of FareHarbor? The best way is get hotel concierges interested in using FareHarbor is to offer the hotel concierge a commission for tour sales, and show them about how easy it is for them to resell your activities or tours.

You could even offer them a comped or discounted ticket to your activity, so they can experience your offering first hand and share their experience when selling your activity to guests.

Remember, once connected with FareHarbor, they’ll receive a login that allows them to book directly through their own Dashboard. They’ll also have trackable ‘Book Now’ buttons that can be placed on their site, so they can resell with no effort needed!

Once you develop a partnership with a hotel concierge, just let your Channel Development rep or our Support Team know and we’ll work with your affiliate to get them set up.

Is there a manifest or other way for an affiliate to track their bookings? When the affiliate logs into their affiliate Dashboard, they’ll be able to see all of the bookings which have them tagged as the affiliate in the Recent Bookings section and in the Reporting section of their Dashboard.

If you have a question about a specific affiliate, reach out to our team and we’ll go over the various ways it’s possible for your affiliate to track their bookings based on your relationship and set up.

Does Telescope allow you to separate out individual tours/products or does it aggregate them all into one average price? FareHarbor Telescope looks at each individual Item for every Availability Month that exists within your Dashboard. Our predictive pricing algorithm then springs into action, taking the Average Price Per Customer for all customer types (Adults, Children, etc.) within that Item.

A look at the event

Conference Check In

Breakfast at FareHarbor Conference

Lawrence User Conference

Gabby

Conference Full House

FareHarbor Client Interaction

Meeting with clients

FareHarbor Swag 2

Google Analytics

One on One

Conference Sessions

Conference Polls

FareHarbor Swag

One on one 2

Relive the conference with session recordings

If you that couldn’t make it this year or if you want to revisit the information shared at the conference, check out our library of recorded sessions. You’ll find everything from Google Analytics advice to Dashboard best practices, all with love from our team to yours.

Get ready for next year’s conference!

We’re still unpacking from this year’s conference—but we can’t help thinking about next year! So, keep your 2019 calendars open for another great event. Until then, thanks for choosing FareHarbor. Onwards & upwards!

FareHarbor Is Headed To Arival, The In-Destination Event

As a proud launch partner of Arival, we couldn’t be more excited for the conference kick off in just a few days! We anticipate a memorable event, marked by a whole lot of great information, networking and enthusiasm for the industry we all love.

If you’re attending Arival, we’d love to connect while we’re both there. We’ll have people from every team at the conference, from Sales to Account Management, so regardless of whether you’re already a FareHarbor client or interested in learning more, let’s chat.

You can find us at the FareHarbor-hosted Workshops and Demo Labs listed below or at the FareHarbor booth in the Artist Hall. And of course, don’t miss Tuesday night’s Hawaiian Luau! We’ll be serving up lots of aloha (and mai tais).


Tuesday, September 25

Demo Lab: Winning Direct Sales
1:30pm – 2:00pm

Consumers are increasingly drawn to the convenience of shopping for experiences over desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. As tour operators, we need to prepare ourselves to offer quick and effective mediums for users to book activities online in order to stay competitive. FareHarbor is invested in understanding and meeting your operational needs to better service your online customer base. Come learn about some simple tactics we use to optimize industry-specific websites so you can make a dramatic difference in your online revenue.

Demo Lab: Grow Your Business Every Year
2:15pm – 2:45pm

FareHarbor partners with medium- to enterprise-level businesses to boost year over year revenue on a multitude of channels. After joining FareHarbor, our clients outperform their year-to-year online revenue by an average of 250%. Not only do we analyze bookings through your online channel, but we provide industry-specific best practices to streamline your operation so you can cut your administrative costs and drive sales. Learn what our team is doing to ensure continued revenue growth and see the potential growth FareHarbor could bring to your business.

Workshop: The Direct Marketing Manifesto
3:00pm – 3:45pm

Within our varied industry of tours, activities, and attractions, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to digital marketing and distribution. This workshop will walk through the essential questions each tour and activity operator must address as they map out their strategy to drive growth and acquire new customers. Touching on everything from Google and Instagram to phone sales and hotel concierge networks, we will guide you through all key marketing channels and strategies we recommend to have in your direct marketing toolkit. Workshop Leader: Max Valverde, President & COO, FareHarbor

Don’t miss out on the FareHarbor Hawaiian Luau! Hosted at the Vanity Nightclub, the party starts at 8:00pm and runs until midnight. Don’t miss it!


Wednesday, September 26

Demo Lab: “FareHarbor Connect: An Effortless Solution To Third-Party Resellers
1:30pm – 2:00pm

FareHarbor offers a variety of integration options to help connect you with your third-party resellers in a convenient way. Through API connections, our Agent Portal, or even adding your book buttons to third-party websites, you no longer need to worry about overbooking or updating availabilities. With FareHarbor Connect, connecting to third-parties is completely risk-free. Join us as we dive into the details of FareHarbor Connect, reviewing all the ways it can work for your unique business. We’ll review our different integrations for different types of resellers, and share benefits and best practices.

You can find our team at any of these events or the FareHarbor booth in the Artist Hall! We can’t wait to see you!

FareHarbor At The Expedia Partner Conference

We’re heading back to Las Vegas for the Expedia Partner Conference! On December 6-7, we’ll be joining some of the biggest names in travel to celebrate the future of the industry. From consumer trends to travel marketing tools to emerging technologies, it’s going to be two full days of all things travel. And we. can’t. wait.

As a Silver Sponsor, we’ll have a booth at the conference. Make sure you find us there! Stop by the booth to spend a little time with our team, learn more about our product and swoop up some FareHarbor swag.

We’ll also be available for meetings all throughout the conference. If you’d like to set up a meeting with our team, email us at expediaconference@fareharbor.com.

We’ll see you there!

PBN’s Best Workplaces: #1 in Small Business

Last night, our Hawaii office joined Pacific Business News for their annual ‘Hawaii’s Best Workplaces’ award ceremony. The food and company made it a five-star event early on, but the highlight of our night came when FareHarbor was awarded the #1 Best Workplace in the Small Business category.

best workplaces 2

The award was granted based on employee surveys and a review of office culture. Our close knit team was a natural fit, as they’re experts when it comes to balancing hard work and a good time. Hours of head-down productivity are always paired with sunset beers, ‘family’ dinners or midday ocean swims. Of course, being in tourism also helps, as its one of Hawaii’s most vibrant industries, and we get to work with incredible people and businesses on the daily.

“Hawaii is our headquarters, our home and where we got our start, and the hundreds of tour operators we serve in this market have become our staunchest supporters and our friends. I’m very proud of what our Honolulu office has accomplished and I’m delighted to see our business, our employees and their work ethic recognized by this important award.”

-Lawrence

We’re incredibly proud of our Oahu team for creating an culture of dedication, growth and best of all, family. Now to celebrate!

A special thanks to our teammates for making FareHarbor all that it is. And also to Pacific Business News for the fantastic event and great honor.

50 Miles of #DWIFT

It’s no secret that we’re all about the #DWIFT (Do Whatever It Takes) at FareHarbor. In fact, it’s become more than just an acronym for our team – it’s something of a lifestyle.

So naturally, when Davis Cutter, one of our awesome Account Executives in the Needham office, decided to run a 50-mile race and come in first place? We couldn’t help but brag a little. Here’s the inspirational story from the man himself:


“Why?!” It’s the main question I’m asked when I tell people that I willingly signed up to suffer. Admittedly, it’s a fair question. There’s a million reasons to not run 50 miles, and I think about them everyday. You can probably guess the usual suspects: the time, the heat, the cold, the sheer distance, social sacrifices, solitude, discomfort, and work/training balance. Even the simple prospect of defeat is daunting enough to say, “maybe next time.” Yet, in the end, they’re all merely excuses – just reasons never to toe that starting line.

So, let’s not dwell on the reasons one can’t or shouldn’t. Instead, let me tell you why I did.

There comes a moment in every endurance race that looks something like this: My hands are on my knees, chin to my chest, and I’m exhaling in exhaustion, frustration, and fatigue. No matter where my mind wanders—to the beach or even my desk at work—I always return as the same, stagnant puddle. Something grabs my attention, perhaps the blister on my heel or a scratch on my knee.

It’s the quintessential pose of failure, a brief moment between steps where there’s a clear choice: move forward, or quit. But, there’s a silver lining. You see, I’ve already made up my mind long ago, and I’ve been preparing for this moment since I decided to sign up for the race. Before I know it, I’m running again.

While some see this as a “breaking point,” it’s really the heart of discovery.

To give some background, I decided I was going to run a 50 mile race about a year ago, when I ran the world’s highest marathon in the Himalayas. Since the race was in such a remote location, the majority of runners were local children from Ladakh, a mountainous region of Northern India. As I ran with my GPS watch, electrolyte drink, and pen-scribbled pacing goals on my forearm, the local kids were blazing past me, smiling, wearing their only pair of run-down sneakers. This wasn’t a race for them, it was a social event! So, when I saw a massive banana fight among a group of runners at mile 23’s aid station, I hissed with disappointment. This wasn’t what a marathon “should” look like. Are people actually enjoying this?

I realized two things during that race: 1. Challenging things can actually be fun, and 2. The majority of physical hardships are won mentally. Even though the race was difficult and at high altitude, I survived. It was time to go bigger, and longer. From that point on, I prepared to my mind and body, (mostly my mind) to run 50 miles.

And then before I knew it, I achieved my goal. It took me 10 hours and 23 minutes on slippery roots and rocks, mostly in the dark, but I ended up coming in first place. More importantly, I had fun.

One of my best friends paced me the last 25 miles, and now we have a great memory to share over a beer (particularly the moment where I broke down from dehydration and yelled at him that we were lost running in circles). My parents were even at the finish line at 1am — cheering in the rain. And my colleagues at FareHarbor have been overwhelmingly supportive, motivating me to achieve even more — both professionally and athletically.

So, when you arrive at that moment, staring at the ground, watching sweat drip from your nose to your feet — you’re faced with a decision. Either you quit, or you keep moving forward.

I’ve always been a firm believer that challenge breeds excellence. Whether it’s an emotional, physical, or all-encompassing wall, you always end up better on the other side. For me, running is a therapeutic challenge, a means to push to the limit, keep pushing, and then push some more.

Running isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. We’re not all runners here at FareHarbor, and the team ranges from surfers to mountain bikers to cross-fit heroes. We’re all just trying to be better in our own ways.

The Aloha Tour

When two of our team members decided they wanted to travel the country in a renovated Sportsmobile, we saw an opportunity to connect with our clients and get back to our roots. Here’s the story behind the Aloha Tour:

The past year has been quite the whirlwind. We added dozens of new features, introduced the FareHarbor app, and have been growing nonstop. In fact, as of today, our team is over 100 people strong, and we’re working with almost 3,000 of the nation’s tour & activity providers.

It’s crazy to think it was hardly over three years ago that we were a modest five-person team. Back then we worked intimately with our first and only client, spending long days on the deck of their catamaran, learning their business inside and out. Their office was our office, their clients were our clients, their success was our success. It was a true partnership.

Fast forward to today and we’re still working closely with that very first client, although now we do so from our own offices (a bummer for us, since you really can’t beat an ocean front desk). We’ve gone from face-to-face meetings to phone calls and email threads. It’s safe to say that some things have changed.

But then again, some haven’t.

We’re still a family-run business, built from the ground up on the North Shore of Oahu. And we still aim to make all of our clients feel as our first one did – like they’re the only one.

While it’s exciting to be growing, there’s a part of us that misses the old days. With today’s culture of tech, software and instant communication, so many of our client relationships end up being entirely virtual.

As a Hawaiian-born company, that’s not what we’re used to. Meetings in Hawaii are almost always in-person, and it’s common for us to know the business owners personally. It makes the people we work with feel less like clients, and more like our friends.

It’s time we bring that personal touch to the mainland. We want to shake more hands, talk more story, and put a face to a few more of the awesome people we work with.

When two members of our team decided to move into a Sportsmobile, we saw the chance to do just that. World, say hello to the Aloha Tour.

Over the next couple of months, two of our own will be touring the Northwest in their renovated camper van. After months of outfitting their rig with all the adventure necessities – solar power, mobile wifi, gear racks and storage – they’re ready to hit the highway.

Colton (Account Executive, West Coast) and Becca (Brand Marketing Manager) will be stopping in with FareHarbor clients as they go, getting us a step closer to the days when we had the privilege of meeting all our partners face-to-face.

If you’re in the Northwest and interested in saying hello, getting an in-person training, scoring some FareHarbor swag, or just sharing a beer with two people traveling in a van, we’d love to add you to our route.

In the meantime, you can see where we are and who we’re visiting by checking back here, or on our Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

We’ll see you soon!

Big Wave Risk Assessment Group

What’s the price tag for three days of hands-on training from coastal paramedics, professional big wave chargers and zonal specialists? There isn’t one. (Except, maybe, having the cajones to want to get in the water with 40-foot walls in the first place.)

Big Wave Risk Assessment Group_BWRAG Training

Started in 2011 by big wave surfers Danilo Couto and Kohl Christensen, the Big Wave Risk Assessment Group runs an annual three-day ocean safety summit on the North Shore of Oahu. The organization was founded after the devastating loss of the duo’s close friend and fellow big wave surfer, Sion Milosky, who suffered a fatal wipeout while chasing massive swell at Maverick’s.

For Danilo, it was an eye-opening loss. “I was there with him, and I knew there were ways we could have prevented that loss. There were things we could have changed to avoid it.” This conviction eventually grew into the Big Wave Risk Assessment Group – and a personal mission for Danilo.

Big Wave Risk Assessment Group_BWRAG_teaching

BWRAG’s first meeting took form as a modest training in a barn on Kohl’s farm, where they reviewed CPR and basic safety protocols. It was a solid start, but Danilo envisioned something greater. He wanted “to push it a little more, do a little more training into really radical life saving.” The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. This was all happening around the same time that big wave surfing began gaining real momentum, so pushing it to the next level felt natural. The surf community was stoked to have a venue to promote better communication and preparation in the water.

Fast forward five years, and BWRAG now hosts hundreds of surfers, connecting them with experts like Brian Keaulana, one of the pioneers of ocean safety in Hawaii, performance freedivers, paramedics and local professionals. Held this year at Turtle Bay Resort, the three-day summit offers extensive training in all forms of high risk management. They methodically break down potential risks and worst case scenarios, analyzing the mechanics of different breaks and how each reacts to powerful swell. From apnea training to wave forecasting, participants are educated on both preventative and emergency procedures so if the time comes, they’ll have the tools to save not only their own life, but someone else’s.

Big Wave Risk Assessment Group_BWRAG_CPR Training

Although the majority of the summit focuses on mental and physical training, participants are also briefed on the latest life saving equipment, from Jet Skis to inflatable vests. Industry experts come out to demonstrate how to efficiently use modern life-saving technologies, making it easier for participants to properly utilize them in tough conditions.

Danilo notes that, “Already a bunch of our friends have been saved by this movement. Everybody is starting to be more ready to react when things go wrong.” But despite all the positive feedback, he constantly feels like they could be doing more. BWRAG is always looking for opportunities to grow, working to offer a deeper education, more targeted trainings and larger summits that can reach more surfers. After all, the ultimate goal is to do more than run a successful summit. The dream is to create a full blown safety fever – a movement that brings a sense of risk responsibility to everyone involved in big wave surfing.

Big Wave Risk Assessment Group_BWRAG_apnea training

BWRAG doesn’t charge for the summit, they aren’t chasing money or recognition. They’re simply working to minimize risk in the sport they love. The best way to do that? Any of them will tell you. “Train hard and have all your equipment prepared. The only way you can feel ready and relaxed is to feel prepared.”

We’re honored to have partnered with the Big Wave Risk Assessment Group as a 2015 corporate sponsor. For more information on the organization, please visit BWRAG.ORG.

First Snow Of The Season

Summit County, Colorado was gifted a snow storm last weekend, and our Customer Experience team couldn’t resist capitalizing on the mountains being open.

Heavy winds and substantial snowfall had shut down I-70 from Denver to Silverthorne, which put ski resorts out of reach for several hours mid-day Friday. Once the accidents were cleared from the road, Pat and I made our way up to meet Anders, who was already waiting for us in the mountains. The road conditions were brutal, and after two hours of slowly chugging along the highway we finally made it to Dillon, CO to hunker down for the evening.

Snowboarding_breckenridge

Saturday morning on Copper Mountain, the skies were clear, the sun was out and after a balmy 3-degree Fahrenheit morning, it warmed up to an agreeable 30-degrees. It was still early season, so only a few runs were open – but there was a lot of fun to be had.

We ran a few laps on the American Eagle chair before migrating to the American Flyer, where we met up with Nick (Client Onboarding) and Charlie (Client Strategy and Marketing). It was the first day back on the snow for most of us, so we shook off some of the summer rust with a few warm up runs. As our legs slowly got back beneath us, we hit some cruisier runs, hooting, hollering and bombing downhill chasing nothing in particular but having a great time doing it. After all, fresh snow, limited crowds and blue skies are a no-fail recipe for a good day on the hill.

Once our legs started to burn, it was time to think about how much more riding was left in our day. Which quickly set us to thinking about having a few beers at the lodge bar. It’s true that no day on the mountain is complete without it. We made sure to honor this tradition before finally calling it for the day.

All in all, it was a perfect early season day with a great group of people.

FareHarbor Beach Cleanup

Our Product team has a knack for good ideas, but this might have been their best one yet. Last week they headed out to San Francisco’s Ocean Beach to help clean up any litter that had found its way down to the sand. Besides scoring a few hours of beach time, what motivated them to do it? They just love their beach! If you need proof, check out how many of our CTO’s tweets contain the word “surf” or “beach” — we’re pretty sure he’s batting over .500.

They ended up with five bags of garbage, stuffed full of long forgotten items ranging from (several) pairs of socks to a whole pantry worth of condiments. Oddities like fifty feet of kite string, a broken pail and shovel, a pair of underwear and a tank top also made it into their bags. We’re all for skinny dipping, people, but make sure your clothes follow you home next time!

Cleanup

Bonus: After the beach cleanup ended, they went on a product cleanup mission, taking out 37 outstanding tickets. Thanks for keeping things tidy, team!