Experiential Tourism – Transforming Products to Experiences

Calgary – Drumheller – Canmore/Banff, AB

October 15 - 20 , 2017


Visitors want to be connected to their destinations through unique experiences that tell the story of a destination’s people, culture and geography.   Being able to create new and unique experiences that do this and are profitable at the end of the day is key to future growth of the Atlantic Canada tourism industry.  Travel Alberta has been working proactively with its tourism businesses to raise the bar on the visitor experience.  Building off of learning originally taken from the Edge of the Wedge program, Travel Alberta has invested heavily in experiential travel training and development through its SHiFT program.

This mission to Drumheller/Canmore/Banff will expose participants to organizations that have raised the bar on the experiential value of their offering(s) in response to growing visitor demand for authentic, engaging, in-depth experiences. Eight different businesses/organizations that have participated in Travel Alberta’s SHiFT program, are a Canadian Signature Experience and/or developed new experiences that have diversified Alberta’s visitor offer and are aligned with Travel Alberta will be welcoming mission participants and sharing their learning from their experience development journey. Mission participants will experience unique business partnerships that have implemented award-winning experiences around food, wellness, adventure and travel and tour experiences.  We will experience niche-oriented components and more volume based approaches, while learning how Travel Alberta and local DMO’s have clustered their products for specific markets and seasons.

Leading us on this mission will be Lesley Anderson.  Lesley brings a wealth of experience in this region as a leader in tourism development and more specifically a specialist in experiential travel having conceptualized and developed Destination Canada’s Signature Experience program.

Experiential Tourism Learning Objectives

  • Learn new methods to make personal connections with each visitor, to create experiences that are inherently personal, engage their senses and makes connections on an emotional, physical, spiritual or intellectual level.
  • To understand the needs of different types of travelers and provide customized advice and experience opportunities.
  • To learn how to identify your ideal guests and understand how attracting more of the ‘right’ guests can impact the success of your business or destination.
  • To visit a destination that institutes a visitor focused lens to their operations.
  • To appreciate how cultural elements including music, art, recreation, storytelling can add local flavour to differentiate tourism in your region.
  • To inspire creation of new vacation experiences by linking program activities, meals, cultural learning experiences, special events, etc.
  • Learn how facility design and staff coaching make for rewarding encounters between staff and guests.  For example, bringing the back of the house to the front of the house to greatly enhance the mealtime experience.
  • Connect the buyer to the artisan or the product to create a long-lasting customer relationship.
    Use products to plant seeds for future travel experiences.
  • Use storytelling and nature in your backyard to create memorable experiences.
  • Appreciate why attention to detail is a critical ingredient to success of tourism enterprises.
  • How to “up sell” a visitor and offer a true experience as opposed to simply a bed.
  • Help guests to see beyond the ordinary.  Launch their imaginations.
  • Transform guests into subscribers – or repeat visitors.
  • Learn how to involve tourists in your local traditions.
  • Share innovative “experience facilitation methods” that promote personal connections between guests and the nature and culture of the places they are visiting.
  • Add value with experiential tourism to differentiate yourself in a competitive market

Estimated Costs

$2300 – $2600 (Depending on Airport Departure).  For those who are eligible there is a 50% subsidy on all eligible costs up to a maximum of $1500.

Target participants

Accommodation Owners, Adventure Tour Operators, Experiential Tour Operators, Eco-Tour Operators, Culinary Operators, Economic/Tourism Development Officers and Regional Development Corporations.

Draft Itinerary (Please note we will be adding more information in next few weeks to the schedule)

Sunday, October 15th

Participants arrive in Calgary in time for a 2:30 pm departure from Calgary Airport or a local hotel near the airport.
2:30pm Transfer to Drumheller (2hrs / 145km)
5:30pm Arrive at Drumheller hotel (Canalta )
6:15pm Participant introductions & transfer 2km to dinner location at Sublime Food & Wine – dinner experience

Monday, October 16th
8:00am Breakfast at hotel (included at Canalta)
9:00am Welcome session with Marty Eberth, Director of Industry Development at Travel Alberta & Julia Fielding Economic Development & Communications Officer in Drumheller.
11:00am Transfer to Tyrell Museum (8km / 15 min)
11:15am Lunch on your own & free time to explore the Tyrell Museum (optional participant activity)
2:30pm Return to hotel to prepare for evening experience
3:30pm Transfer to Atlas Coal Mine (23km / 30 min)
4:00pm Mine & Dine Experience – Atlas Coal Mine , dinner included as part of the experience, experience debriefing after dinner
8:00pm Transfer back to Canalta Hotel

Tuesday, October 17th
7:30am Breakfast at hotel (included at Canalta)
8:30am Transfer to Horseshoe Canyon – 20min / 17km
9:00am Horseshoe Canyon Experience
11:30am Transfer to Rosebud Country Inn – 20 min / 18km
12:00pm Integrated Lunch and Aromatherapy Wellness Experience (Rosebud Country Inn and Sage Valley Marketing)
2:00pm Debriefing the partnered experience development journey
3:00pm Transfer to Canmore hotel (3hrs / 225km) – Chateau Canmore
6:00pm Dinner

Wednesday, October 18th
7:30am Breakfast on your own in Canmore
8:30am Meet in hotel lobby for transfer to Canmore Caves (10 min)
8:45am Discovery Tour Experience and Explorer Cave Tour – Canmore Caves
11:30am Debriefing session
12:30pm Lunch experience followed by Uncorked Canmore Mystery Tour
3:00pm Presentation & debriefing session
4:30pm Shuttle to Banff hotel
5:00pm Arrive at Elk & Avenue
6:30pm Dinner

Thursday, October 19th
7:30am Breakfast on your own in Banff
8:30am Shuttle to Cave & Basin NHS (10 min)
9:00am Lantern Tour (Canadian Signature Experience)
10:00am Lantern Tour experience development debriefing session
11:00am Free time to explore the Cave & Basin
11:45am Shuttle to downtown – lunch
1:30pm Meet a location TBD for Discover Banff Tours experience
3:30pm Experience debriefing session
4:30pm Shuttle to Calgary Hotel – for participants staying in the Rockies for the weekend, they remain in Banff, the rest of the group travels back to Calgary
Arrive at Applause Hotel Calgary
7:00pm Dinner at the hotel

Friday, October 20th
Breakfast on your own and participant departure