For Guides

Navigating Technology's Influence on Outdoor Guides: Benjamin Lazarov, CEO of AnyCreek

Improving your guide business should be easy, with the right tools at your disposal.

Interview by Liam Thropp

If you peel back outdoor tech’s external layer of shiny screens and circuitry, you’ll unearth a rather complex underbelly — a frontier where innovation meets tradition. Here, business tools and guides are co-evolving to meet the needs of modern-day adventure seekers. Folks crave swift, safe, trustworthy, and efficient avenues to seek their next thrill in the wilderness. Outdoor acolytes and seasoned adventurers alike rely on expert guides who know how to best target the wild fish and game they seek, and life as an elite guide is no walk in the park. Each day is a dance with the elements, from dawn until dusk, pitting your skills against Mother Nature and your client's expectations. However, guides must do more than simply fish or hunt more to fully capitalize on this change in demand. AnyCreek’s guide tools help these outdoor entrepreneurs elevate their businesses and utilize lots of timesaving functionality — all through a simple, sleek interface that is a breeze to use. AnyCreek also presents anglers with the best source of truth, transparency, and security to book amazing guided trips with ease.

Benjamin Lazarov, AnyCreek’s CEO and co-founder, comprehends this delicate balance. In this discussion, Ben sheds light on the necessity for guides to not only master the wild but also manage the logistical aspects of their business.

Ben on the hunt for trophy snook with Capt. Drew Naeckel of Marco Island.

Are guides losing clients due to their failure to update their business methods?

The short answer is, yes. There are certain customers who stop looking after a certain time because they aren’t getting responses from guides, or can’t find a guided trip easily. It's intimidating for some guides to make the switch from pen and paper and a real challenge in this industry. But they are missing an opportunity by not digitizing, and guides can get more bookings just by virtue of making it more accessible to their customers.

Do you find that some guides are hesitant to use new advancements to improve their business?

Some guides have operated the same way for so long. Even some of the top guides in the country believe they are providing the best experience for their customers. What they don't realize is that in today's world, the customer experience doesn't start when somebody steps on the boat, or when they begin their trip. It actually starts well before that when they originally even considered booking a trip. By setting yourself up for more business online, you are increasing your customer base and providing a better overall experience. Most guides agree that the best experience is a personal one between them and their customer. I think what's unique to AnyCreek is that we provide control to the guide. We allow them to run the business the way that they want, and maintain the relationships that they want. This keeps their business’ personal touch while leaning on technology to simplify.

How can guides maintain a personal touch and relationship if their entire booking process is automated?

The old way of doing things, like taking reservations and payments manually, doesn't make sense in today’s consumer-based market. Technology is enabling a lot of these guides to be more efficient. What we've learned is we need to build something that allows guides to be more effective, while also maintaining relationships. After all, this is a relationship business between guides and customers. We automate certain processes that are less personal, like putting your credit card down versus sending a check or calling a guy to see when they're available versus looking at that on their automatic calendar. On the flip side, we’ve created AnyCreek Messaging to help guides communicate with their clients, stay on top of ongoing conversations, and streamline bookings. AnyCreek is built to balance this personal touch while making the technicalities behind the trip organized and bettering their customer’s experience.

How important is it for guides to adhere to new technology in today's consumer-driven market?

I think part of being an entrepreneur is adapting to new trends and technology, and guides are entrepreneurs. The modern consumer wants guides that have new technology, both while securing their trip and while on a trip. You don't want to be on a boat with no GPS, an ancient motor, or old fishing gear. Most customers want the latest and greatest, which pushes guides to want that as well. Guides that are adopting new technology will make more money and they'll end up outpacing other guides who don’t update their business models.

What would you say is the most important takeaway for a guide looking to use AnyCreek?

It all begins with taking the customer booking experience as seriously as fishing or hunting. AnyCreek empowers guides to improve their customer’s experience and to elevate and scale as much as they want in the most efficient way possible. As a result, they will make more money, they will get more customers, and they will save more time. There are a lot of different ways that our tools can help. The best guides in the world put a value on their own time and their customer's time. Without a modern system to power your guide or outfitter business, you are wasting both.

Are there any upcoming AnyCreek features you’re excited to release?

We're a solution for the best outfitters in the world. The products that we're building right now will allow those outfitters to scale their business. Updates to guide availability, trip referrals, and calendar integrations across an outfitter’s entire guide roster, are on the horizon. This will make the customer-guide experience more fluid and accessible for both small- and large-scale outfitters.

What is AnyCreek?

AnyCreek is the leading online resource and marketplace for outdoor guided experiences. Trusted by world-class guides, AnyCreek streamlines their back office to help them focus on their craft. Discover and book your next adventure with confidence.

© 2024 AnyCreek. Made in USA. 🇺🇸

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