Susan Judd, the Manager of Marketing and Events at Long Point Eco-Adventures, returned to her hometown after her post-secondary to start her career. Completing an honors degree in marketing and a post-graduate diploma in not-for-profit management from the University of Western Ontario, Susan spent time in both Tanzania and Toronto through internship opportunities. Susan has a passion for everything local, enjoys the occasional glass of wine and loves to learn about other cultures.
How do the experiences you offer at Long Point Eco-Adventures give guests a unique perspective on the history, environment or culture of your region?
Long Point Eco-Adventures provides and inside look at the diversity and awe-inspiring scenery in Norfolk County. Guests can stay in Wilderness Suites or Pods nestled among the trees of a vast Carolinian Forrest, ensuring a great night’s sleep for any adventures that may await.
Guests can learn about the rich history of the region as they trek through single-track mountain bike trails during the Smugglers Run Trail Race, learn of the hundred of shipwrecks Long Point has claimed on a Zodiac boat tour to the tip of Long Point, or when spending a leisurely evening on a paddle kayak learning about fish species in Lake Erie.
Those looking for a bird’s eye view can find out about the local culture and environment on a fully guided Zipline and Canopy Tour. This tour has guests flying through the treetops with our award-winning guides, getting a truly unique, local perspective of Norfolk County.
How have the experiences that you offer evolved since their inception?
Long Point Eco-Adventures began as a tour company offering Zipline and Canopy Tours and kayak rentals as the flagship offerings in 2009. Since then, 15 Wilderness Suits, 10 Wilderness Pods, and multiple other on-site and off-site adventures have been added to the offerings at Long Point Eco-Adventures. Adventures such as a 3 hour kayak excursion down Big Creek provides visitors not only an excellent look at the abundance of wildlife that we have in the area, it also allows for guides to talk about the history and significance of the area.
The single-track mountain bike trails that wind through the Carolinian forest on the site have also evolved significantly since their inception. The network of trails has grown to over 75 kilometers of track with something for every skill level. Guided tours and instructional sessions are also now provided on-site, offered by a National Champion of downhill racing.
Long Point Eco-Adventures has become a hub for entrepreneurs looking to start a business offering a specific outdoor adventure tour. Each offering provided through Long Point Eco-Adventures, offered on-site or off, provides guides who are extremely passionate and knowledgeable about their tour, which ultimately provides the best customer experience.
What is one detail of an experience you provide that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?
At Long Point Eco-Adventures we strive to use as many local and sustainable products and suppliers as possible. Many of these small details go unnoticed by our guests, but we do believe that it’s an important part of who we are as a business and what we do here on site. Whether it is the handcrafted furniture in our Wilderness pods to the local meats, fruit and produce used for breakfast, each small detail adds to our love of local. The site materials for our buildings and structures were sourced locally and even our staff apparel is made in Canada.
We believe that to succeed as a business, gaining support locally is integral and the best way to gain support is to show local support.
What do you wish every guest knew as they consider participating in the experiences you offer?
One thing we would wish every guest knew as they were considering the experiences we offer is how wonderfully accommodating, knowledgeable, friendly and fun our staff and guides are. We truly believe that the guides and staff here at Long Point Eco-Adventures are what make guest’s experiences so memorable. If guests were aware of the level of service and excitement our staff bring to the site they wouldn’t be considering if they are coming, they would only be considering when they are coming.
What is one travel trend that really excites you?
One travel trend that really excites us is the curiosity and interest in local vacations and that travellers are valuing experiences more than ever. Our focus at Long Point Eco-Adventures is to offer adventures that provide an amazing and memorable experience for guests. Our site is focused around experiences, experiential learning and just plain having fun!
What sets LPEA apart from other outdoor adventure companies in your region?
Long Point Eco-Adventures has a unique offering of activities and adventures which sets us apart from other outdoor adventure companies in the region. The site itself is truly unique, located across from Burning Kiln Winery, creating a wonderful synergy between the partnered companies, providing guests with spectacular food and wine during their stay.
What truly sets Long Point Eco-Adventures apart from other outdoor adventure companies is our staff. Our staff takes great pride in our site, the guest experience and their jobs, which is evident in all of the work they do. Our staff goes above and beyond on a daily basis to exceed guest expectations and we are proud to say that they are truly what make this company great.
What is one insiders tip to getting the most out of an experiential travel vacation?
One of the most important tips to getting the most out of an experiential travel vacation is to always have an open mind. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances can change itineraries or adventures, and approaching the vacation with an open mind allows our staff to do what they do best, which is facilitate fun! We find that some of our guest’s most cherished memories are from not when everything ran as it was supposed to, but when our staff had the chance to make something like a rainy Zipline and Canopy Tour extraordinarily fun despite the weather.
What is one strategy that has helped your business to grow?
One strategy the Long Point Eco-Adventures has focused on that has helped our business grow is our hiring process and staff culture. Over the past 8 years we have refined our hiring process to ensure we have a staff that are a perfect match for their roles. We have monthly staff days to help engage everyone in a team environment, to promote teamwork and team bonding and allow everyone to spend some quality time together. We believe that creating a positive and supportive staff culture and engaging the staff in activities both on and off site has resulted in high retention rates and a staff who are willing to go above and beyond because they love what they do!
What is one personal habit that has helped you to be successful?
A personal habit that has helped me be successful in my role at Long Point Eco-Adventures is embodying the beliefs and staff culture that has been cultivated on-site. Treating staff and guests as friends or family creates a positive, enjoyable workplace.
Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided to them.
Due to the nature of our offerings, we often have the opportunity to spend time with guests who are looking to overcome their fear of heights on the ziplines, gusts who are joining us for a once in a lifetime experience for a bachelorette party or are just looking for a relaxing retreat from their busy life. These types of opportunities lend to some great stories of how our staff are able to partake and shape memories for guests, often resulting in moving or emotional reactions.
We have many individual stories highlighting a moving experience. What is more telling is the number of people who leave reviews or return to us and can remember the exact details and names of staff and guides who helped to make their experience unforgettable, sometimes years later!