People are starting to think about sustainability as more of an everyday way of living. This excites me because I believe it will lead to people thinking about sustainable travel as the only way to travel.

 

Tanner C. Knorr formed Off Season Adventures in 2017 as a US-based tour operator to provide a sustainable and immersive way to experience Tanzanian culture and wildlife in a different way. Tanner holds a Master’s Degree in Administrative Studies, concentrating in Economic Development & Tourism Management from Boston University. Traveling to Tanzania for the first time in 2015 changed his outlook on his professional future. He knew he had to create a way to bring travelers to see the beauty of Tanzania while also supporting communities and animals in the country. He has been a teaching assistant at Harvard Extension School for the class Environmental Management of International Tourism Development under the instruction of Megan Epler Wood and is the Program Manager for EplerWood International. His vision of Off Season Adventures is to showcase the off season as the best time to travel to many destinations around the world.

Where did the idea for Off Season Adventures come from?

In 2015, I traveled to Tanzania for the first time through my Master’s program at Boston University. We went to study the tourism industry in the country, its challenges and opportunities. This was in March, which is the off season or green season in the country and I was completely amazed by the people and wildlife in the country. The locals are so friendly and hospitable and the wildlife in the national parks is spectacular. Having the opportunity to travel during the off season opened my eyes to the benefits of this time of year. There were less people, it was more affordable, and the same fantastic wildlife and cultural excursions that anyone would want to experience in the high season. There are no other companies promoting the off season as their primary time send clients, and after seeing first-hand the benefits that could come to the local communities during this time, I knew I had the beginnings of a company. After this trip, I remained in contact with my primary safari guide and we decided to partner to create excellent, sustainable experiences in Tanzania.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I use Trello and Slack to stay productive and efficient. I use Trello for long-term goal setting and ordering tasks, while I use Slack for current projects, specifically with others. Most days are spend communicating with my partner in Tanzania to either hear how our clients are enjoying their trip or to brainstorm ideas of how to show the beauty of Tanzania. And of course, I’m sure to check the company’s email and social media every day to make sure we stay on top of inquiries and connections.

How do you bring ideas to life?

First, I think about the new idea and how it fits into the over goal of the company. Then, I start to map it out on paper to make sure the details are understood. Finally, I connect with the appropriate partners to assist with the make it a reality.

What’s one trend that excites you?

People are starting to think about sustainability as more of an everyday way of living. This excites me because I believe it will lead to people thinking about sustainable travel as the only way to travel.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I try and find the good in everything and when I can’t, friends and family are always there to assist. This keeps me positive and productive.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Just go with it; everything will work out.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Management is more important than marketing.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Try to poke holes in your plans.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Connecting with other professionals in the industry has allowed us to grow by expanding the opportunities available to us. I have met so many wonderful and intelligent people that have assisted me in one way or another to grow the business.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

As you can imagine, because we’re in the startup phase, each potential client is important. A couple months ago, I couldn’t close a potential client on the tour because of cost. I tried lowering my costs and altering the route, but the costs were still outside of this potential client’s budget. Although it was difficult, I had to tell them that I could not service their tour. This caused me to think twice about the types of tours I wanted to create with Off Season Adventures. Ultimately, I realized that sustainability, community investments, responsible tour excursions and guides, and carbon offsets were still very important to me and the reputation of the business. I stuck to my guns and am stronger because of it. You can’t get everyone!

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A non-profit outbound tour operator. I know that there are a few non-profit travel companies within the US that operate as tour guiding companies or similar, but it would be interesting to see if a company sending people to different destinations around the world could remain operational.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I spend this as a special treat for my first clients that went to Tanzania. It wasn’t a big expense, but they will always remember that bottle of wine in the middle of the Serengeti.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Besides Trello and Slack, Hootsuite has been a life-saver. It allows me to schedule (almost) all of the social media each week and optimizes the posting time so I don’t have to stop working to keep up with social media.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet” by Megan Epler Wood. I know I might be bias because I work with the author, but this book changed my outlook on travel and tourism and its connection to climate change. If everyone read this book before they took their next trip, chances are they would rethink how they got to their destination as well as a few of the activities in country.

What is your favorite quote?

This too shall pass”. It is both optimistic and saddening at the same time. This quote encourages me to enjoy everything as it’s happening in the moment, although it is hard for me to do much of the time. However, if I can get outside my own head and be present, I remember things in so much more vibrancy.

Key learnings:

  • Entrepreneurship is about staying positive and staying true to your brand, even when monetary benefits could pull you from your true goals.
  • Reaching out to and keeping in touch with people in your industry can turn into the most rewarding asset you have.
  • If you see the beauty in something, chances are that others will see that beauty too.

Connect:

http://offseasonadventures.com/
Off Season Adventures on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OffSeasonAdventures/
Off Season Adventures on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AdventureAwayTZ
Off Season Adventures on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/off-season-adventures-llc/