Raising The Industry Standard
The beginning of the tourism industry dates back 2,000 years to Ancient Rome. Wealthy citizens of this time fashioned the art of the leisure lifestyle by spending their summers away from the city, along the coast or countryside. But soon, the Roman Empire fell, taking with it this new way of travel. It wasn’t until the medieval era that tourism reappeared, new-and-improved. Designated trip organizers built itineraries to meet the needs of their travelers, including lodging, dining and maybe a visit to a holy shrine. As history tells us, these travelers returned home feeling relaxed, having truly enjoyed themselves.
Fast forward to the industrialization of Europe when those who could afford the leisurely lifestyle began journeying across Europe to submerge themselves into the cultures of other lands. Specifically, the healing properties these cultures could provide attracted these new-found tourists, wishing to broaden their understanding of these unfamiliar communities.
While tourism continued to grow, it wasn’t until the 1960s that this relatively expensive market became accessible to the middle class at an international level. Industrial America and Europe were booming, and with that came disposable incomes where people could indulge in a more leisurely lifestyle.
When we assess how far tourism has come from Ancient Rome to modern-day, the tourism industry has expertly conquered a new way of travel in a variety of ways: cruise liners, all-inclusive resorts, theme parks, bus tours – the list goes on and on. From this, those involved in the tourism industry have crafted what has become the “industry standard”. And as natural selection shall take place, it is survival of the fittest amongst modern tour operators – things have to be bigger, flashier, ahead of the times, with better marketing strategies and premium prices. What’s wrong with that? Absolutely nothing! We in the travel industry are passionate about the outcome of your travel experience, striving to mold our products to meet your vacation needs. How can we expand our ability to serve our travelers? What can we do better? In the end it’s not only the how or what that will make a lasting impact on your experience; it’s the why. Why do we do the things we do, and why does it matter?
The Romans sought travel as a home-away-from-home experience; the medieval Europeans were hungry for the knowledge and offerings of exotic cultures; today we reflect on how greatly tourism has evolved. Here at Experience Park Tours, we believe that every aspect of travel comes back to the nature of the people process and their expectations. That is why we have carefully curated our product to give the traveler a sense of familiarity in the midst of the unexplored. We do this in the way we travel, how we dine, where we rest, when we play, how we experience. The industry standard is set to provide a baseline measurement of quality, but allow us to elevate your mind and show you there is A Better Way to Travel.
The Way We Travel: The Limo Liner
When you hear the words “bus tour”, what images come to mind? Perhaps it’s a full 54-passenger coach with front-facing seats and a narrow walkway running the length of the bus. The driver loads travelers in and out, one by one, similar to an airplane. If you’re lucky enough to have an aisle seat, you can escape to the claustrophobic bathroom in the back – if there is one. You have a long drive ahead of you, but at least it’s the scenic route/ Oh wait, you have the aisle seat, so good luck seeing out the window. Someone stands up and shouts, “Grizzly Bear!” Heads shoot up, and the bus comes to a halt. Everyone scrambles for their binoculars and begins shuffling towards the door – all 54 of them. You catch a glimpse of the bear trudging through the wildflowers. What a great picture that would be! One traveler’s camera bag gets caught on an armrest, and the line stops as they struggle to free it. You duck to peer through the window and see that the bear is nearing the tree line. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, bump, shuffle, shuffle – At last, you’re off the bus! But wait, where was that bear again? You get out your camera, zooming in to capture the last few moments, just before the grizzly disappears into the forest. Sigh… everyone back on the bus.
So, we developed what we call the Limo Liner. Navigating National Parks in comfort, class and style, the 45-foot-long luxury motor coach features front and rear lounges, a chef’s galley, a spacious restroom and is able to seat up to 24 guests. No narrow walkways; no aisle seats; no large groups; only ultimate comfort and freedom.
· Luxury leather couches that offer room for guests to move around and relax
· Central heating and air to keep the cabin temperature fresh and comfortable
· Spacious restroom, fully stocked with travel toiletries
· In-transit video for education with our guides
· In-transit WiFi for communication and entertainment
· In-transit television for education and those longer drives
· Hospitality Chef will serve gourmet appetizers to guests throughout the day
· Wine, beer, soft drinks, coffee, tea, bottled water, and juices are complimentary
· Fresh seasonal fruit, healthy snacks and all kinds of local culinary delights are complimentary
By limiting our seating to 20 guests, we have created a more intimate way to not tour, but travel. The Limo Liner allows our Hospitality Chef and Guides to better serve you and your travel partners in a variety of ways. We do this by providing in-transit gourmet meals, seasonal fresh fruit of the region, a wide range of iced or hot beverages, mixed drinks, local wine, brews and spirits, and for your travel comfort, hot and cold towels infused with essential oils. The open seating provides opportunity to mingle with other passengers and offers clear views through the large picture-windows that run the length of either side of the bus. Your comfort is no longer limited to rows of front-facing, closed off seating. Vacation in absolute comfort, class and style aboard the Limo Liner.
How We Dine: The Chef, All-Inclusive Meals, and the Flex Pass
Our tours are built so that our guests may take advantage of every minute of daylight they have while viewing America’s National Parks, monuments and scenic areas. Sunrises and sunsets are on your side when seeking wildlife or the perfect landscape photo; that makes getting out before the crowds and staying long after they’ve gone a prerequisite to capturing those valuable moments. The last thing you want to hear while watching the Wolves of Lamar Valley in Yellowstone is, “On the bus, folks, we have a dinner reservation to get to.” That is why we have a Private Gourmet Chef preparing everything from appetizers, full meals, and desserts for you to enjoy on the Limo Liner or in the field, ensuring that you never miss that perfect moment. Sourcing from local, organic farmers, our Chef has created regionally-specific dishes made to order that will please even the simplest of palates. For those early mornings, there’s no need to wait in long hotel breakfast lines. Hop aboard the Limo Liner for an assortment of breakfast delights that will fuel you for your day while your driver gets you to your destination.
The term ”all-inclusive” has been translated to have different meanings in the modern tourism industry, often resulting in vague dining options. Boxed lunches, buffet-style meals or extremely restricted sit-down menu options serve their purpose for large group travel, but at Experience Park Tours “all-inclusive” means 18 gourmet meals, consisting of 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 6 dinners, along with unlimited access to the large selection of in-transit refreshments and appetizers found on the Limo Liner. These meals may come in a variety of ways: Food cooked and served by your Private Gourmet Chef, sit-down group dining at carefully selected restaurants, or meals purchased with your Flex Pass.
Our job is to ensure that you never have to pull out your wallet, so we have created the Flex Pass: A Visa gift card that will be loaded with select dollar amounts throughout the trip, and can be used in restaurants of your choice when your personal chef or hotel will not be providing your culinary inclusions.
More on the Flex Pass:
Breakfast: $20.00 per breakfast will be loaded on your Flex Pass for each breakfast if not provided by your premium lodging.
Lunch: $20.00 per lunch will be loaded on your Flex Pass for each lunch that is not prepared by your personal chef.
Dinner: $50.00 per dinner will be loaded on your Flex Pass for each dinner that is not prepared by your personal chef.
The Flex Pass enables travelers to independently explore the region at their own pace. Take advantage of the local pubs or cafes with a table for two. Lounge and relax over any meal on the menu, knowing that you are on your own time. And what if your entire dinner was only $30 instead of $50? No worries! That remaining $20 will roll over and can be put towards your next meal, a souvenir, or anything else – the choice is yours. Any remaining money on your card at the end of the tour is yours to keep, as the Flex Pass will remain activated for 6 months after the trip.
At Experience Park Tours, we carefully hand-select restaurants and dining locations that truly capture the essence of the region. When it comes to travel, we believe that the food you eat has just as much of a lasting impact on your experience as the views and landscapes that you capture on your camera. When paired together, scenic views and culinary delights create the ultimate vacation.
Where We Rest: Lodging
It’s no secret that people value their rest, especially when on vacation. Whether you are an avid hiker and sight-seer, or a lounging expert, we all look forward to a warm inviting place to lay our heads at the end of the day. Finding that “home-away-from-home” can be a challenge for travelers who value their privacy after spending the day surrounded by others. On the flip side, other travelers value the opportunity to remain active well before or after the Limo Liner is assessable. With this broad spectrum of guests that we serve on our trips, Experience Park Tours works to ensure that our lodging accommodates all travelers. Factors such as noise level, room quality, available dining options, accessibility to hiking trails and other guided activities, lodging environment, location to the park, and relevance to the region are evaluated when selecting lodging for our routes.
When We Play: Balancing adventure and leisure
Our tours come with fully customizable adventure packages that provide a variety of activities suited for small groups and multigenerational travelers. Prior to the trip, guests are able to pre-select the activities they wish to experience, and at what level of intensity. This could translate to a white water rafting trip instead of a scenic float, all on the same river. If a scenic drive through Canyonlands National Park doesn’t appeal to you, opt for an exhilarating off-road sunset jeep tour of the sandstone landscape. There are ample ways to explore the parks, whether that’s hiking along a canyon, rafting down white waters or horseback riding through a valley. Experience Park Tours is here to create optimal experiences for each of our travelers, providing opportunity for every activity level and preference. Where there is a beautiful panoramic lookout of a dazzling sandstone arch in Arches National Park, there is a hiking trail leading to its base. Fish from the banks of the Yellowstone River solo, or take a guided trip with a fly fishing expert. With our scheduled adventures and excursions, we offer equally satisfying alternatives so that our guests may explore the park at their desired pace. And if a particular activity doesn’t suit your preferences? No worries! The driver will be with the Limo Liner at all times for guests to stay back and relax. Enjoy a hot or cold towel infused with lavender and eucalyptus essential oils, or sip a refreshing cocktail paired with a platter of seasonal fruit of the region served by your Private Chef. Either way you go, you will be well taken care of.
Every destination serves a purpose on our routes. We look for the best ways to utilize these spaces in the simplest of ways. A chairlift up Mt Bachelor for a sunset dinner at Pine Marten Lodge is the perfect way to end a day of exploration. Being served a gourmet meal on the banks of the Yellowstone River can be the culmination of a full day in the park. A sunset walk along Ruby Beach is all it would take to pause and reset. These small moments throughout our trips are designed to alleviate the stresses that traveling can bring, ultimately providing you with the best possible experience.
How We Experience
The tourism industry first began as a home-away-from-home experience, but has since been commercialized to accommodate mass group travel. Through this the industry standard has been set to provide a baseline measurement of quality, altering a travelers expectations of what a week on a motor coach might look like. At Experience Park Tours, we don’t tell you how to vacation. Our job is to provide our travelers with the tools to experience our National Parks in the most extravagant or simplest of ways. When it comes to guides, drivers, chefs, and regional experts, you will embark on your trip equipped with a group of specialists that make your needs a priority within their field:
Our Regional Experts are passionate about educating and sharing their experiences with our guests.
Our Hospitality Guides prioritize your comfort and individual needs above all else.
Your Personal Chef provides culinary selections that suit your dietary needs and preferences, while giving you a taste of the regions local bounty.
Together, our team has created an environment where your interests and expectations are celebrated as a part of our corporate culture. We believe that getting back to basics and recognizing what it is that people value about their travel experiences is how we raise the industry standard. So, we have built our product upon the foundation on which tourism began. We do this not because we have to, but because we get to. Experience A Better Way to Travel with Experience Park Tours.
For more information on A Better Way to Travel, visit our Dare to Compare page on the Experience Park Tours website.