Some of our blog readers will know that I have been working for BC Hughes for five months now as a tourism and economic development researcher, and it truly has been a great experience. I moved up here for the opportunity to gain practical experience from Bev and Chris and to finally put my years of education to work in a professional environment.
When I was first hired onto the BC Hughes team I did not realize I would be gaining experience in so much more than tourism and economic development. It all started with a Kijiji search for a place to live in the Owen Sound area for the summer, and when I discovered an “off the grid” cabin for rent on five acres outside of town, I knew my summer was about to take a drastic turn.
So there I was, freezing cold with little electricity in May, wondering what the heck I had got myself into. I would lay in bed, looking forward to going into work every morning simply for the fact that I could warm up in the office and enjoy a cup of coffee.
But life sure got easier… the days got longer… the solar panels produced more electricity… the showers got warmer, and I became much happier! Each and every day was a learning experience, not only in the workplace but in day to day living as well. I learned to live with less. Less light. Less heat. Less Water. Less human interaction. All this considered it was a truly humbling experience to learn what I could go without.
In my blogs for BC Hughes this summer, I have tried to link the world around us to the tourism industry. I am always looking for parallels between my life and tourism, in hopes that this helps our readers think about tourism development and marketing in a different way.
Believe it or not, I think living off the grid is very similar to the tourism industry in Canada. For tourism operators, July and August are the best months of the year. This is when visitor numbers and spending are at their highest as families go on holidays.
Living off the grid, July and August were the best months of the year because I had more electricity then I could possibly use, could shower outside (with deer running past) and enjoy the delicious vegetables from my garden for dinner every night.
July and August were so great (and much easier) that I quickly forgot about the hardships of May and June, however I am remembering them all too well now as Thanksgiving approaches. As the days get shorter, my bed gets colder, and my lights turn off earlier, I often think about ways I could make May, June, September, and October more enjoyable living in the cabin. I could do things like add more solar panels, or get a properly working hot shower… the list gets longer each and every day!
It almost goes without saying, but as tourism attractions and operators, it is important to continually think about ways to expand the busy (and much easier) summer season to make the shoulder season more enjoyable (and hopefully more profitable!). Now that we are in this slower time of year, start thinking of creative ways to expand your season… and if you need some help… feel free to give us a call!