Industry insights – Bruce Thomasen
Bruce Thomasen, Co-founder and Managing Director of Redwoods Treewalk.
Understanding the market trends.
Making it easy for visitors to enjoy the experience.
Adapting new technology to enhance visitor experience.
Importance of visitor language in communication.
My name is Bruce Thomasen. I’m the Co-founder and Managing Director of Redwoods Treewalk.
We’re only a small business, we started out from zero when we first opened. Domestic market for us with 70% of the business, 30% international. Three years down that’s now just about flipped to 60-65 percent international and 35 percent domestic.
So it doesn’t mean domestic’s slowed for us, it means that we’ve picked up market share with international.
Southeast Asia is an important market, particularly Singapore. China is a very good market for us in the FIT, not so much with their group business. And of course Latin Americas is just coming on. And so we’re doing our best to target those up-and coming markets so that we get our fair share of them.
Part of our walkers information board, it’s using resources of either a hard print, iPad, or we’re just launching and working with a local company that has translated all of our storyboards on the walk.
And through a simple QR code scan those visitors can interpret our English signage into their language instantly with their phone. And it’s the relevant information board because the QR code is unique they can download that App on the phone at our entrance. And that’s a great thing with having software and Apps now, you’re not stuck with a print that maybe is out-of-date.
That if your stories do change, because businesses are fluid you need to be flexible, and the technology that you have to be able to give your story in their language you know can change by the tap of a keyboard and pressing enter. So, that’s a great asset.
If you’ve only hosted let’s say ten people from Latin America this year and you want to get a thousand percent increase. You need to be able to target them in their language. So, you need to see it as an investment in terms of if I’m targeting Chinese, Latin American or Spanish-speaking markets you need to have their information in their language or you’re not going to get them.
All I can recommend is that if you go offshore and you couldn’t read the right sign of which exit do I take or where do I line up or what is the price because you just don’t understand it, then that’s the same feeling you’re giving your guests if you don’t try to overcome those hurdles.