In the post that follows I am asking for feedback.
Here’s some background:
Over the years many of our past guests have written me asking for advice about travel in general or travel to places other than Costa Rica. I have found it very satisfying to help with advice on anything from, “where should I go for my next… adventure or nature travel experience” to “I want to take a trip with my parents and my two teenagers before they leave the nest (the kids, not the parents) what can I do to make sure that everybody’s needs are met,” to “who is the best person to design and arrange cooking lessons from top chefs in Spain,” (She happens to be a good friend.).
It is not that I am very well traveled. I am not, but in the over 30 years since I started Costa Rica Expeditions I have become quite well connected. For example, I have never crossed the International Dateline, but I have served on committees with the best, most creative lifetime memory vacation providers in China, India, Australia and New Zealand. Even if I do not know the best person to help with a particular question, with a couple of phone calls I can almost always find out.
Also over the years I think I have gotten a pretty good sense of what makes for a trip of a lifetime and what makes for a trip from hell. (Hint: It is not where you go or even who arranges it.) Much of what I have learned has come directly from our guests who have generously shared their experiences and insights with me.
Not only has it been satisfying to help in this way, but also I am convinced it has been quite profitable. I have never taken a commission or a finder’s fee for a recommendation. We have designed and arranged hundreds of vacations for new guests who have been recommended to us by past guests for whom I have helped get on the right track for their next vacations, and those new guests have in turn recommended us. Also the people who we recommend refer their guests to us.
In the past all the communication has been one-on-one, usually by email. Now social media, specifically blogs, allow us to communicate with lots of people at once. Presumably, this will increase the satisfaction and increase the number of guests traveling to Costa Rica with Costa Rica Expeditions.
So the idea is to publish the questions and answers in a blog and thus make them available to a wider audience than one-on-one, including any of you if you are interested in participating in an even wider audience — known in the quaint jargon of this wonderful new era as the blogosphere.
So the first question is:
Do you think that this is a good idea?
And the second question is:
Are you willing to participate?
By participating I mean actively contribute your insights. Whether it is your impressions of a particular hotel or your feelings about traveling with kids.
One of the neat things about blogs that I have found during my recent investigation is that rather than me pontificating in an email or even a series of emails with questions and answers, blogs allow lots of people to participate at once in a freewheeling conversation about the topic at hand. Presumably the result is much more informative than could be obtained in just a two-way conversation. In case you are interested in terminology the jargon for this concept is, “the wisdom of crowds.” So if I can make it interesting and beneficial enough to get you involved, our blog will be more valuable to all the participants.
Another benefit is that it will give you new experience in blogging, which has become as important as web sites and, in terms of interaction, is challenging email as one of our main interactive media. If you think that blogging is not for you, remember how you felt about web sites and email when you first heard about them.
An extra added enticement limited to guests who have traveled with us in the past, is that assuming enough people get involved to make it worth continuing with this blog, I will chose 6 of the participants to come to Costa Rica as my guests. We’ll continue the conversation in person. I’ll pay all expenses including economy airfare from anywhere in the continental United States or Latin America. I’ll be posting more details on this shortly.