How to become an experience provider
Have you ever thought about setting up your own business to teach people a new skill or give them an unforgettable experience? If this has been on your mind then read on to learn more about the world of gift experiences and how you could become an experience provider with Uniquely Local.
What is a gift experience?
If you are not sure how gift experiences work have a read of our blog, What is a Gift Experience which covers what gift experiences are, how they work, who they are bought for as well as considerations when buying a gift experience.
Can anyone become an experience provider?
The simple answer is yes! Your motivation might be to earn a bit of extra money on the side – commonly known as a ‘side hustle’, or to keep active in retirement and earn a bit of extra income to top up your pension. Perhaps life has changed since having children and you are looking to work the days and hours that suit you and your family.
Anyone with a passion for something can turn it into an experience. It could be a hobby or a life long skill you have acquired, or you could spend some time training to learn a new skill to pass on.
Roger Williams from Bramhope Sticks explains why he started offering his One day Stick Making Courses:
“I’ve always been interested in stick making and when I retired I started attending country shows and farmers markets to sell my sticks and staffs.
Rachel from Uniquely Local helped encourage and guide me in setting up a walking stick making course. It was a great extension to my business, especially in the winter months when trade was much quieter.
It’s completely different from my day job as a butcher but I really like meeting people and chatting. Being able to do stick making days at home in my workshop is very enjoyable and I’ve met some really nice people through running the workshops, male and female, old and young, from all walks of life all wanting to learn this ancient craft. I look forward to every stick making day as what everyone makes is so different.
Rachel and Uniquely Local are a great company, very professional, everything runs smoothly from the bookings to payments. I’m very happy with the arrangement and proud to be part of the Uniquely Local offer.”
Established businesses can also use experiences as a way to diversify their business. By welcoming customers to join you on a journey of discovery about what you do you can create more brand ambassadors, reach new customers and add additional revenue all at the same time!
Professional Photographer Paula Duck from York Photo Walks shares her top tips for businesses thinking about adding an experience to their offer:
“If there is something you are passionate about and you want to add it to your offering do a trial first. Use family and friends to test your experience first of all and grow from there. Start out small and then add to your offer.
I started off by offering 1 hour photo walks then went on to offer 3 hour walks, full day one to one sessions and I now offer night walks also.
See what people like and ask them what they liked about it specifically. Getting customer feedback is key to growing your range. I have been able to diversify my offer by getting peoples feedback and it’s working so far!”
Paula – York Photo Walks
What type of experiences work well?
At Uniquely Local we offer a huge range of experiences from outdoor pursuits to crafts and creative, food and drink to pampering. There is no limit to what can be turned into an experience. You can learn how to keep bees, take photos at night, make chocolates, how to paddle board and taste wine. Enjoy horse riding, a mindfulness walk in the woods, an escape room or pick up a self guided food tour. Uniquely Local customers are always on the look out for something different!
Here’s the journey from one of our experience providers Jackie, from Beacon Alpacas:
“I began offering alpaca walks soon after I moved to Beacon Farm 12 years ago, as I thought animal lovers would enjoy visiting to meet our friendly alpacas and see the beautiful views of the Hambleton Hills.
The alpaca walks have become an essential income stream as breeding alpacas is a very slow process, alpacas only have one cria (baby) after 11-12 month pregnancy.
We now have a gift shop with hand spun individual alpaca fleece which is super soft and warm and made into beautifully natural and hypoallergenic garments.
Uniquely Local have worked in partnership with Beacon Alpacas since they began the company and have added value and range to our alpaca experiences reaching a wider audience.”
How do I price my experience?
Probably one of the hardest challenges is to work out your price! Here are a few things to consider:
- What overheads do you have? Gas, electricity, internet, rental on space etc…
- Do you need to buy any special equipment, tools, materials or ingredients, extra sets of things to accommodate large groups?
- Who is your experience for? Is it suitable for children and do you charge a different price for adults and children? Do you want to offer a discount for more than one person or could your experience also be offered as a group booking for hen parties, family celebrations or corporate activities such as team building.
- Don’t forget about business insurance, GDPR, booking and payment systems to name but a few of the more boring but essential aspects of running your own experience.
- Do you need any special arrangements or permissions from anyone to deliver the experience such as food hygiene certificates, permission to use park, wheel chair access?
- Do you need to hand out any information for customers to take away such as recipe sheets or instructions so your customers can re-create or refresh their memories on what you taught them. This is also a great way to get your branding out there and reach new customers!
- Are you going to feed your customers as part of the experience? You could add on a picnic or afternoon tea if your experience is longer than half a day. Perhaps work with a local café or caterer to provide a pack up for your guests.
- How long does the experience take to set up, deliver and pack away? You need to consider the time it takes you from start to finish.
- Is your experience able to run all year or is it more seasonal? Can it run every day of the week or are there set days when you can offer it? If you are limited to when you can offer your experiences don’t under charge as you may need to cover overheads for the rest of the week or year.
Take some time to consider all the above points and do a bit of research to see what other similar businesses are offering and charging for a guide. It might be that you are offering something extra or your overheads might be higher though so do just use this as a guide and ensure it works for you!
What else do I need to consider before setting up an experience?
Simon from Lacey’s Cheese has been offering cheese making courses for over 10 years. He shares his top 5 tips for anyone considering setting up their own experience:
- You’ve got to be a people person – if you don’t naturally interact with people this maybe isn’t for you. You have to represent the business and what you do and be able to talk passionately about why you love doing it.
- Attention to detail is key – take the time to prepare for your workshops. Make sure you have everything ready and you know what you are doing. People don’t want to pay to see you fumble around looking for things. Things can always go wrong but the better you prepare the less risk of this happening.
- Give them a little something extra – your basic experience is always going to be the same but have a few extra bits up your sleeve. If you know children are going to be coming along how can you make it extra fun for them. Can you show them something new you’ve been working on? Going above and beyond pays back in dividends with recommendations and customer loyalty.
- Let them step into your world – People are coming to spend their precious spare time with you. They want to understand the world you live in, the lives you touch and the impact what you do has. Bring them into your world for the day to give them a real insight into your business, even if that means handing them a sweeping brush at the end of the day to tidy up or getting them to wear a silly hair net! By giving them an authentic experience you are allowing them to leave behind their world and stresses for a day.
- Have fun! You’ve got to want to do it, the rest will come if you do it well.
How can I become an experience provider with Uniquely Local?
If you have an experience set up or you’d like to have a chat with us about a new experience you are looking to offer we’d love to hear from you.
If you’d like to learn a bit more about what we offer, take a look at our brochure: Uniquely Local – Information for New Experience Providers
Get in touch via email – [email protected] – and one of our team will arrange to have a chat with you.