What’s Involved in the Big Wrap Up?

January and February are frantic. Lots of people, mountains of food, staff a little stressed with busyness, vehicles dashing here and there picking up and dropping off, horse treks off over the hills, rafts and inflatable kayaks on water every day on a number of different trips. Still a couple of months to go before things really start to slow down.

A Cyclonic Breather

Mid – March, and Cyclone Lusi about to head through this weekend. Strong winds and hopefully some much needed rain.

The weather man says that we should not worry, we will not have to endure the rain for long, this is not the end of the Golden Weather, plenty more of that to come yet.

But these bouts of wild weather are not really unwelcome, at least not by us. The land needs them, the rivers need them. They also enforce a type of idleness, an idleness where you have a chance to stop and think.

And A Warning

This particular episode of wild weather is a warning that we need to be prepared for winter, and even further ahead, be thinking about what we need to plan for next spring.

This planning will involve deciding who will be re-employed next season, who is staying through the winter, what needs to be done before winter, what needs to be done during winter, what is the urgent maintenance that has not yet been finished, and what projects will be left until spring to complete.

Being an Adventure Outfitter, we are far busier over spring, summer and autumn than through winter. However we do operate 364 days a year, so everything still has to work well over the colder period.

A trip in the remote headwaters of the Rangitikei River

Before Planning Comes Taking Stock

Even before we can really plan out next Spring, we have to take stock and work through what worked well this season, and what did not.

What worked especially well was our multi day river trips and overnight horse treks which just get busier each season. In fact more people enjoyed themselves on these overnight camping or lodge based adventures than ever before. A definite pass mark.

Duckie trips when the river got real low also get a pass mark. These Duckie trips where people paddle their own boat have been a lot of fun with some great feedback.

Our booking process and interior communications didn’t always work as well as what we would have liked. We know this because you told us. Some more work required there. And so it goes on, each thing we do being evaluated. What went wrong? What went right? How can we do it better?

There is No Escaping Lists

Diary’s come out and lists are made. Lists of staff, lists of jobs, lists of dates when people are leaving, and lists of when they are returning, lists of critical maintenance. Once the lists are started it feels that some order is coming to everything, a picture and framework is developing.

How To Get A Very Good Team To Be Even Better?

There has been a great team on board for the last 6 months, one of the best there has ever been, people who get on with the job, who take up responsibility and take seriously their role of delivering truly memorable experiences to our customers. The type of team to be proud of, and the most critical part of this business. How to build on that?

Building on that will involve being real careful about who is employed going forward, and secondly, arranging for appropriate training opportunities for those people.

Riding over big country on a Lodge to Lodge horse trek

What Is The Best Way To Build On The Success Of This Season?

As always, the best way to build on the success of this season is to improve our delivery. Nothing fancy, nothing new, just doing what we do well, delivering great experiences, but more consistently, more of the time.

We ask ourselves, why does great delivery not happen all the time? Does the mountain of paper that staff are already assaulted with not set out clearly enough the standards required, or is it guidelines are simply not being followed enough of the time, or possibly it could be a training issue. Probably the answer is that all three of these staff areas need some critical attention.

Three critical staff areas to look at and amend before next spring. Relook at Job Descriptions and amend as necessary, relook at the management structure – are there the right lines of responsibility in place? Do the right people have the right areas of responsibility? And finally, look closer at any areas that could be improved with training.

What Is Next After Staff?

Now that the staff areas have been prioritised, it is time to look at the physical assets, firewood, building repairs and maintenance, road maintenance, and we do need a new brochure, and it would be pretty cool to publish a few more articles that explain the direction River Valley is going in and why that is good for our customers..

Grade 5 rafting, Fulcrum Rapid on the Rangitikei River

It’s A Wrap

Yes, periods of wild weather may be unpredictable, wet and miserable, but we need them . A tourism business cannot take a day off over the summer season to catch a breath. However the wrap up has to take place if we are going to get any better at what we can offer you.

This is where you can really help us.

Send us your thoughts and what you experienced while either staying at River Valley Lodge or white water rafting or horse trekking on one of our adventures.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Brian Megaw