A growing trend in tourism and one that is picking up a lot of steam in Muskoka is the Experience Economy. The Experience Economy creates countless new opportunities for business people to follow their passion, and to create, innovate, and succeed in Muskoka’s tourism industry.
The Experience Economy was first coined by Pine and Gilmore in the Harvard Business Review at the turn of the 20th century. The Experience Economy establishes an opportunity that goes beyond just offering good and services – businesses can now create, package and sell memorable events and experiences.
Muskoka’s tourism industry has embraced the Experience Economy, and have been very creative in doing so:
Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh has grown from a cranberry farm into a world-class tourism attraction. Their Bog to Bottle Discovery Tour is a Canadian Signature Experience, and they just recently unveiled a brand new experience for guests, Blueberry Hill Tales & Taste Tour. Their photo opp in the cranberries has proven to be immensely popular during harvest season, and just another example of how the farm is packaging experiences for their guests. They have taken their core offering of cranberries, and transformed it into a year-round experience destination.
Outdoor adventure tours have become increasingly popular in tourism. Liv Outside has taken notice and has expanded their tour offerings in both the summer and winter months. Some of their experiential offerings now include: Canoe & Rappelling Tour, Ice Climbing Adventure Tour, Kayak Fishing Tour, Waterfall Canoe Trip & Dip and more.
The SS Bigwin is a restored steamship that plies that waters of Lake of Bays. In recent years, they have taken their popular sightseeing cruises and added new components to make them experiential for visitors. They now offer Craft Beer Tasting Cruises, Cruise & Dines and a Sangria Sunset Cruise, and these new experiences have proven to be immensely popular.
Back of Beyond Equine Centre just outside of Huntsville has seized an opportunity as of late. They recently began offering horse wagon rides during the fall colours, as well as sleigh rides during the winter. Seeing an opportunity to invite families to their farm during the summer, in 2017 they developed a Family Farm Tour offering that is proving to be a hit.
Following their passion, Peter and Michelle Swanek moved to Gravenhurst 10 years ago and literally built Peter’s Players from the ground up. They built an intimate theatre that brings in top performers, an experience that wasn’t being offered anywhere else in Muskoka. Fans have fallen in love with this premium live music offering that feels like the performers are playing a concert just for you.
These are just a few of the examples of how businesses and entrepreneurs in Muskoka have been able to capitalize on the Experience Economy. There are still so many opportunities for new businesses to thrive by offering genuine experiential offerings. Dockside yoga, guided canoe tours, sunset photography workshops, water tubing rides, improv theatre, fishing / fish fry tours, campfire cooking classes, guided wildlife/birdwatching hikes, the opportunities are virtually endless. The Experience Economy lets business people with the entrepreneurial spirit follow their passion, and earn a living doing something they love.
For a better understanding of Muskoka’s tourism industry and opportunities that might exist, take a look at our industry snapshot. This snapshot will give you an understanding of how many people are coming, when they are coming, and what they are doing when they get here. Click here for more info.
Written by: Jordan Mulligan
Marketing Manager - Muskoka Tourism