Austin Adventures Sees Strong Growth and Trend In Demand for Exclusive, Custom Vacations

BILLINGS, MT, June 16, 2014 – Austin Adventures, world leader in small group, multisport and active travel, have shifted sales focus and operations this year to accommodate a significant uptick in requests for private and exclusive custom trips. The 2014 season is shaping up to be a banner year for independent group travel.

Custom trips this year will comprise 31 percent of Austin Adventures’ overall business, up from 12 percent five years ago. Custom tour bookings are up 28 percent over 2013.

“We have a record number of requests for exclusive and private trips and as far as experiences and itineraries go; one is only limited by their imagination (or ours),” says Dan Austin, President.

This company is often ahead of the curve when it comes to recognizing and reacting to travel trends before larger, less nimble tour companies.

As Austin explains, designing a custom trip usually starts with a call to the Austin Adventures sales team, followed by a detailed question and answer session. The joint mission is to come up with an itinerary that addresses and satisfies the needs and desires of each member of the party or family. Then it is his company’s goal to create and run a one-of-a-kind trip that will exceed all expectations.

“Clients seem better informed when it comes to where to go and what to do. As creative as our set itineraries are, many want to modify a few activities or craft the week into a completely different private trip. We love the challenge!” Austin’s company can handle groups of two to 20+ on existing itineraries that can be custom tweaked.

The following sketches of recent custom itineraries help capture some of the creativity used when planning private adventures:

1) Private Multisport Group Trip with Austin Adventures in Southern France

A group of 28 arrived in two private jets from New Haven, CT. Here’s a blow by blow account of their tour:

  • Daily they split up to bike, hike or sightsee/shop depending upon personal desires.
  • They visited the Sunday antique market in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, the Wednesday market in St-Rémy-de-Provence and the Friday market in Carpentras.
  • A guided visit (with a local expert) was arranged to the Synagogue in Carpentras, the oldest in France (13th century).
  • Eighteen participated in a cooking class at the Michelin starred restaurant Le Phebus.
  • Luncheons included three saffron-infused courses at a saffron producer’s home and another at a pastry maker’s home where mille-feuille (aka Napoleon) starred.
  • Guests enjoyed a Jeu de Boules tournament and kayaked from Collias to Remoulins under the Roman aqueduct Pont du Gard.
  • A masseuse who works on Tour de France cyclists treated these guests who all agreed that he’s the “best masseuse they ever encountered.”
  • A local expert guided them through the mental hospital where Van Gogh was treated and revealed stories of St-Rémy.
  • More than 10 electric bikes were brought in for guests who don’t cycle regularly.
  • Arrangements were made for special early-morning photography sessions.

2)   Private Yellowstone/Teton National Park Exclusives

This year a number of Austin Adventures Yellowstone-Teton trip dates were turned into “exclusive” trips, meaning that a regular program was modified as requested for a private group.

  • One trip was modified to accommodate a fly fishing excursion on Lewis Lake for six guys (three boats and three fishing guides). The gals went kayaking on Jackson Lake.
  • On an exclusive trip for 10, half wanted to go horseback riding. On an already jam-packed program, the company arranged this and a covered wagon ride for the others.  All met up for a cowboy cookout steak dinner. For the one-year-old the company provided a bike trailer (Burley) and invested in cribs (pack and play) to place in the parents’ and the nanny’s rooms.
  • The company arranged a stay at a dude ranch in Jackson Hole followed by a visit to the Park for nine who flew in on their private jet in June. Included were custom airport transfers and red carpet treatment.

3) Canadian Rockies Custom

A multigenerational family of 12 is traveling to the Canadian Rockies in July on Austin Adventures regular family itinerary -- with the addition of kayaking on Bow River and rock climbing instruction for a wide range of abilities.

4) Custom Corporate Retreat in Big Sky Country

A corporate retreat was chauffeured from Bozeman to engage in such team building activities as rock climbing in the Gallatin Canyon, snowshoeing up Beehive Basin and equestrian challenges at the 320 Guest Ranch. Two meeting days were squeezed in at Old Faithful Inn, with a private guide available for outings there.

5) Utah’s Canyonlands program

A family of six reserved two Austin Adventures guides for their exclusive tour in Arches and Canyonlands National Park. A two-year-old will go on all the hikes and bike rides but isn’t old enough to go rafting or on the Hummer Backcountry Jeep tour, so one guide will accompany the family while another serves as a temporary nanny.

6) High End Camping – Yellowstone Country

The dream of one family of four is to camp under the Montana night sky. They will do this in deluxe style for two nights at a private ranch, followed by two nights in lodges in and around Yellowstone; and camping the last evening on the Gallatin River. All equipment and private camp chef are included. On the final night the group is in for a surprise. The private chef will be none other than Austin Adventure’s Founder and President, Dan Austin (an accomplished Dutch Oven and BBQ chef).

And already on the books for 2015 a multigenerational family will experience a custom-built 13-day trip exploring by hiking, biking, kayaking and white water rafting Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and South Dakota’s Black Hills.

Because of this marked increase in people looking to create a private trip, an expanded section dedicated to planning bespoke vacations was recently added to the company website:

http://www.austinadventures.com/about-us/adventures/travel-planning-resources/plan-adventure-vacation/plan-perfect-custom-adventure-vacation/and a page that offers a number of possible destination ideas: http://www.austinadventures.com/tour-packages/custom/.

For a comprehensive 2014 catalog, call toll-free 1.800.575.1540, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To review current trips, schedules and itineraries log onto: http://www.austinadventures.com/

About Austin Adventures

In addition to multi-sport adventures, Austin Adventures offers family, biking and hiking tours and small ship cruising, in total spanning 35 countries on six continents.

Outside Magazinerecently singled out Kasey Austin, Vice President of Operations and trip leader extraordinaire, as the world’s top Family Guide for 2014. In March 2012 Travel + Leisure awarded ALA the 2012 World’s Best Values Award for Tour Operators. ALA has also received Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Tour Operator Award (a Top 3 finisher) for four consecutive years from 2009 to 2012. In 2011 the company was honored with the Global Vision Award for its Wheels of Change bicycle empowerment initiative.

In September 2013 Austin Adventures joined the Xanterra Parks & Resorts® portfolio of experiential leisure offerings. Known for its “Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint,”Xanterra Parks & Resorts® entities include lodges, restaurants, tours and activities in national and state parks and resorts as well as a cruise line, railway and tour operator. Xanterra Parks & Resorts has operations in the Grand Canyon, including Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Ariz., and The Grand Hotel in Tusayan, AZ.; Yellowstone; Zion; Crater Lake; Glacier, Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest National Parks; Mount Rushmore National Memorial; Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park and five Ohio State Park Lodges as well as the Geneva Marina at Ohio’s Geneva State Park. Xanterra Parks & Resorts also operates Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., Windstar Cruises, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, CW Adventures; and Austin Adventures.

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