Khas T’an Outdoor Adventure Tourism might not sound like a “high tech” business, but in some ways it is.
A small start-up ecotourism business started by Kyla Pollard, she uses social networking and You Tube to market her horsemanship classes and hiking and cultural tours, and so far, it’s working.
While Pollard was initially wary of Facebook because of concerns over privacy she finally gave it a try.
“The majority of my business has been spawned from Facebook,” says Pollard.
The infectious nature of social networking allows for Pollard to get great exposure to people she would never have access to across the world, and best of all, it’s free.
While she does use more traditional methods of exposure as well, she uses Facebook and You Tube to add to this. She posts photos of a horse’s progress as she works with it, so the horse’s owners might be able to watch it improve.
She can post photos of a client as well, which gives them a memento of their experience.
But due to the way Facebook works, anytime she “tags” a client in a photo with their name, it will show up in their friend’s Facebook news feeds as well, showing that many more people what they were up to and what Pollard’s business does.
This also works when she goes to study horsemanship abroad. The school posts pictures of her, which gives the school exposure as well as her business because it shows off her skills to all of her Facebook friends.
She also says it is great because it gives her worldwide exposure. Pollard has travelled extensively and can keep in touch with the people she has met abroad through Facebook, also showing them what the area of Fort St. James has to offer and what her business does.
Another bonus is the ability to track who has looked at her Facebook page, giving her very pertinent business statistics. From the stats she can tell what kind of people she’s reaching and what people she still needs to reach.
She has posted You Tube videos to give people a bit of a sense of the area and her business as well, but she says she doesn’t like that there are also so many amateurish and illegitimate portrayals of the area. She doesn’t like that the poor quality videos might detract from people’s impression of the area, but hopes it still raises people’s interest.
“The pros far outweigh the cons,” says Pollard.
All of the hiking and boating pictures she has posted on Facebook she can also use to market her hiking tours and show off what the area of the Fort has for visitors to see.
Pollard sees a future in ecotourism for the area, and hopes to eventually transition out of the forestry industry, which she still works in three days a week.
She feels the ecotourism industry would provide a more sustainable base and avoid the peaks and valleys of the resource-based industries.
Pollard’s own web page is a single page that she then has links on to Facebook, You Tube and PDF files. This helps to keep her costs down as well.
But Pollard emphasizes that while she is trying to utilize social networks and online tools to help her business, she’s not a computer geek.
She made her You Tube video when she was injured and had a lot of time on her hands while she couldn’t do much physically, and now she spends her days busy outside but when it’s dark outside, she can get business done online.