Tuesday was startling. It was "Crunch Week" for Costa Rica and we had high hopes that 15 or so women would be on their way to Costa Rica in January. Our supplier Daisy had created a great website for the group, the price was on budget, the destination was amazing - let's go!!!
And then I opened my email on Tuesday and realized all the interest was dissipating. By Wednesday we had to collapse the trip. Teresa and I were kind if baffled. What had gone wrong?
One thing that is true but has never been the goal of this project is that if we get a large group of women to travel, Teresa and I can probably bargain for a low rate that will allow us to go with the group without breaking the bank of our fledgling business. I like that idea because, in my previous life as a teacher, I know that sometimes you need a group leader who will create some norms and customs that make the group feel and act like a group. Without that, you could feel like just a random group of people who happen to have the same itinerary.
Teresa posited that maybe that was the issue. Did we need the first few trips to be big, and have us along, to create that "group vibe" and make sure the norms and customs of Travel Sisterhood were firmly established? Once established, we could let other women take the lead, having experienced it themselves. They could be the "Moms" of the trips going forward, having seen at least once what a Travel Mom does on a Travel Sister trip.
Last night's live Zoom focused on that question and we got a lot of great feedback. We realize a few things:
- Social media platforms are great for disseminating info and posting reminders but community is not going to be built and felt there.
- Email groups are great for organizing groups but community is not going to be built and felt there.
- Live Zooms are great for introductions and building community but we need separate, dedicated meetings specific to each trip.
- Until the network is larger, we need to build one trip, it needs to be be "big", and Teresa and I need to lead it, on the ground.
- For now, all our efforts, Zooms, emails and newsletters need to be driving towards that goal.
The HARD question is - what trip will garner that kind of enthusiasm?? We need like 60 women to be interested and 40 to commit and go. Is that possible? There's only one way to find out - just try! And keep trying. It's the American way . . . cue the Thomas Edison documentary, lol!
One thing that IS clear is there are a group of local women out there who understand the potential for this model and want it to succeed. And they MIGHT even be willing to take a chance on a trip / destination that is interesting if not perfect and "vote with their feet" so this project can truly LAUNCH, grow and be sustainable.
SO, we are going to start pitching ideas. One every week or so. A destination / a date/ a budget/ an itinerary. And we are going to ask you to vote it up or down. Share it with your friends, get them to register so they can vote on the next one. I gotta believe, sooner or later, we will have that critical mass to do our first big trip and do it RIGHT. Lots of excited women, lots of energy, and a true group experience.
Thanks, team. You keep voting with your feet, creating the story, helping us chart our next move. We are listening and we are excited for what is next!