Staff serve guests during an outdoor long table dinner at Prairie Gardens & Adventure Farm near Bon Accord.

The power of partnerships in tourism

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Tam Andersen, farmer and owner of Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farms in Bon Accord, works with local artists, chefs, musicians, crafters, storytellers and “moonshiners” to create authentic local experiences for her guests.

She knew that many visitors are looking for culinary experiences, so she jumped at the chance to work with Edmonton chef, Blair Lebsack on the idea of staging pop-up dinners in a prairie field. Today, her program has evolved to include pizza parties around an outdoor wood-fired oven, campfire moonshine tastings and long-table dinners in her greenhouses.

Lisa Lima, Experience Development Manager at Travel Alberta, says consumers have high expectations and are looking for unique tourism experiences. 

“By partnering with other businesses, you have the opportunity to showcase something that you wouldn’t have been able to on your own,” says Lima.  

It also gives businesses the ability to expand their offerings and revenue. And with partnerships, businesses can also enhance their marketing through shared strategies and resources.  

According to Lima, for partnerships to be effective, they must be beneficial for all partners.

Pursuit Adventures owners JP and Danielle Fortin focus on all things local, including the homemade food they offer at their Base Camp Café and on their adventure tours. They partnered with Troubled Monk Brewery to offer their Raft & Craft tour and, new this summer, will offer “Cultivating the Senses” farm tour experiences  with Kline Farms. These tours will focus on what’s in season, including cold pressed canola oil from local canola fields and a home cooked meal by the river showcasing farm produce and chicken.

The opportunities are endless. Partnering with other businesses to enhance your experience offerings allows you to:

  • Pool financial resources and create a larger marketing budget
  • Enhance sponsorship opportunities
  • Leverage human resources and expertise of combined partners
  • Greater scope of facilities and/or shared costs
  • Improve research and development resources 
  • Enhance technological improvements or sharing resources such as booking engines 

“Somebody you might have considered competition, by collaborating with them, you’re both going to do a lot better,” says Alberta Food Tours owner Karen Anderson. Karen works with local shops, chefs, and other organizations to create her unique food tours around the province.

Alberta Food Tours, Pursuit Adventures and Prairie Gardens & Adventure Farms are all SHiFT alumni. 

Travel Alberta’s Experience Development team offers coaching, facilitation and workshops to get you started and could even suggest partnerships in your region.

There are various “Experience Essentials” and “Partnering and Packaging" workshops coming up in February and March. Find the nearest one to you and register to learn how to raise the bar on your visitor experience.