Pivot Pivot Pivot – From weed tours of pot farms in California’s Emerald Triangle to virtual 420 tours and more!
Before we started our weed tour company we had worked as tour guides for several other tourism companies. We’d done double decker bus tours, San Francisco city tours, walking tours, driving tours, Muir Woods tours, and wine country tours to Sonoma, Napa, and the Carneros wine regions. We’ve guided thousands of tourists over the years.
We thought we were ready for anything.
Then the Covid 19 crisis hit.
Travel and tourism was the first industry to be a casualty of the pandemic. Travel was shut down. Hotels closed. Wine tours, 420 tours for tourists and cannasseurs to pot farms in California’s Emerald Triangle, all tours were suddenly and abruptly cancelled.
We went from anticipating busloads of travelers to putting our tour bus on mothballs. Everyone in the weed tourism industry had been getting reservations for April all the way back in 2019. After all, 2020 was going to be a banner year for both marijuana and marijuana tourism. 420 was going to be a month long this year, and people from all over the globe were eager to visit the cannabis farms in California’s Emerald Triangle.
If years of experience guiding tourists traveling from all over the world has taught us, it’s how to pivot quickly. Our goals, out of necessity, went from filling tour buses to increasing awareness of the 420 tourism industry.
For decades now, tourists coming to San Francisco know that day trips to wine country are an extremely popular tourism excursion for visitors to Northern California. Once they know that weed tourism is an easy side trip from San Francisco just as wine tourism is, they’ll flock to the Mendocino farms the same way they flock to the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma counties, and even though tourism has been frozen, everyone has become a captive audience of social media during quarantine. So we decided to bring the cannabis tourism experience to the folks stuck in their homes in desperate need of escapism. We focused our daily Instagram posts on the fresh air and open spaces that house the Mendocino cannabis farms. We started producing all sorts of content for our YouTube channel, producing travel logs, a weekly 60 Seconds of Cannabis History series, and silly weed jokes. If we couldn’t bring them to The Mendocino Experience, we’d bring The Mendocino Experience to them!
Then, about a month or two ago, something strange happened. We started getting calls to book cannabis farm tours. At first we turned people away. It just wasn’t responsible to pack people on a tour bus in the midst of a pandemic.
The calls kept coming, and we started to realize there was a way to rethink the tour to make it a Covid safe experience. We could reopen again safely if we just made a few key changes.
It was time to pivot again. We ditched our tour bus, and developed our All Outdoor Physically Distanced Cannabis Farm Tour. We all meet up at Mendo Cann dispensary in Hopland, at the entrance to The Emerald Triangle, and we caravan to all the wonderful outdoor sights of Mendocino County. We visit a working cannabis Farm, and guests get to choose from visiting the giant redwoods, outdoor wine tasting, or enjoying the outdoor cannabis lounge and Mendo hospitality at Kure Wellness Center. The tours are much smaller than we were doing before, but also much more intimate. In many ways it improves upon the experience guests had on our tour bus. We might ditch the bus altogether from now on.
So, as life continues to throw all of us curve balls, remember to stay flexible. Adopt the improvisers’ motto of “yes, and”, and learn to let go of your previous expectations, and don’t be afraid to pivot. You might just stumble onto something even better than what you were used to before.