Meet Courtney Simone, founder of Adventure in Black!
She joined Julie Thorner for a wonderful conversation about her startup business that she launched in late 2019, right before covid hit. Topics covered include tourism marketing to people of color, building a community as a startup adventure company, what we think is to come for adventure tourism in 2022, and how the adventure tourism industry can better support black travelers.
To be helpful to listeners, we have called out the chat topics and organized them by timestamps. There are so many powerful, helpful insights for travel companies, marketers, and industry members – enjoy!
INTRO – HOW TO THINK ABOUT MARKETING TO PEOPLE OF COLOR AND BLACK TRAVELERS
0:00 – 19:21 – Courtney shares what inspired her to start Adventure in Black. She talks about travel interests and apprehension for people of color, with key insights for us on what the experience of the black traveler can be. We talk about inclusive marketing, what that looks like, how it’s only one part of the overall marketing story. The actual destination, trip, company must also credibly be what the marketing conveys. “Being intentional, and also being strategic” says Courtney.
ADVENTURE IN BLACK – WHAT THEY DID IN 2020 TO BUILD AN INCREDIBLE COMMUNITY AS A STARTUP ADVENTURE TRAVEL COMPANY
19:22-30:00 – We turn to talk specifically about Adventure in Black and what Courtney and her team did to pivot in early 2020 when the pandemic shut down all tourism. Virtual events with really terrific themes, and meetup groups in NY and DC, as well as AIB’s now 600 strong Facebook group, enabled a powerhouse of community building for her brand new company. Have you ever attended a virtual vision board Zoom meeting, focused on really being intentional about your travel dreams and purposes? You won’t want to miss hearing what Courtney dreamed up and how it impacted her AIB traveler community!
30:00 – 35:00 – Courtney shares entrepreneurial revenue ideas that helped AIB weather the 2020 shut down storm, like monetizing her blog, creating the content her visitors AND Google wanted to see, and developing affiliate partnerships with relevant travel partners.
35:00 – 42:00 – Courtney shares how AIB offers unique touchpoints to their guests prior to trip departures, and how help to differentiate AIB trips from her competitors.
LOOKING AHEAD TO 2022 – ADVENTURE TRAVEL CAN COME ROARING BACK
42:00 – 49:00 – We’re both very optimistic for a strong 2022 travel season! Courtney and Julie share why, from vaccine rollouts to early adopter travelers, new tiers of trips for women, wellness, and luxury. They also both share how to survey your community for ideas on what their travel needs, fears, hopes, and timing are.
CLOSING – HOW CAN WE IN THE ADVENTURE TOURISM INDUSTRY BETTER SUPPORT BLACK TRAVELERS
50:00 – 55:00 – Julie asks ” How can others in the adventure tourism industry step up and really better support black travelers? Is there anything that you would want to share that would help point us in that right direction?” “The concept of change can be so frightening for people, instead of thinking about change from a lens with fear and looking at it as an opportunity to grow…”