When we first moved to the sunny Dalmatian Island of Korcula to start our new life, we knew that we wanted to work in tourism. Despite us working in different industries before our move, our passion for the island and travelling in general prompted the big change. Tourism is also how the majority of people on the island earn their living, either renting apartments in their homes, working in restaurants and bars, or running tours.
People some times ask us and the two of us often talk about “what do we hope to achieve” now we are here living and working on Korcula Island?
Our initial business started out by building a website and running an on-line accommodation lettings agency. Think AirBnB but just for Korcula Island. Our model was to provide a booking service that went beyond what other companies were currently offering and also to ensure the best value available to everyone – to the host offering the accommodation and to the guest looking to stay. With regards to the service we offer, we try to not only satisfy the needs of like minded travellers; but to also provide as much assistance that we can to ensure their time on Korcula is as memorable as possible, for all the right reasons.
So we built a website full of useful information, reached out to accommodation owners and then uploaded photos and descriptions of their holiday properties on-line, ready for people to book. We’ve continually updated the website to make it as “user-friendly” as possible, adding new properties for holiday rent and have received some really lovely compliments about it. We also continually encourage any guest who books with us to get in touch if there is anything we can help with. We provide all our guests with a guide including all of our personal recommendations of places to eat, drink, see, as well as a number of useful tips. Again based upon the feedback we have received, it has proved to be very helpful to people visiting Korcula and guests have also contributed their own reviews of places they visited based on our guide. As locals we know the knowledge we provide is invaluable to travellers and is what we would want to know when travelling.
After several years, from that very first accommodation booking we received (cue Rachael dancing around the room extremely happy, flapping arms in excitement) and our increased knowledge about the island, we decided we wanted to do something a bit more interesting, which would allow us to interact more with visitors to the island. Also, it was proving essential that we needed to diversify as our small accommodation business struggled to compete against the big players such as AirBnB and booking.com. We began to develop partnerships with local people whose work ethic was similar to ourselves so we could offer a greater range of services such as transfers and excursions. Our biggest development came about from us putting together a tour based upon the things we loved to do on the island, which we then could run ourselves. Our first walking & wine tasting tour in Lumbarda took place in May 2013 with two lovely guests. We were feeling pretty nervous but it all ended very well!
We are now currently running a range of tours ourselves as well as working with a number of individuals and businesses who offer interesting activities on Korcula Island. Perhaps not surprisingly the area we enjoy the most is running our own tours, as it allows us to make personal connections with guests, but we also get to do some of our favourite things on the island all the time. That’s our kind of work! We’ve kept in contact with several of the guests who have come on our tour and who we think of as friends. We also love receiving and reading reviews posted on TripAdvisor and recalling memories of tours to took.
We make sure that what we offer is unique, good value and most importantly great fun every time for our guests and for us. The development of our own tours has become the most successful and enjoyable direction on our journey to date.
That then brings us back to the question in hand. Where are we heading next? Well, our long term goal has been and remains to have our own small guest house where we can give all of our visitors an authentic experience of Korcula Island with optional transfers, tours and a private restaurant where
we John can cook our favourite meals for our guests, as if they were our visiting friends or family.
How long it takes us to get to that position is unknown, but what we do know is we will have a lot of fun getting there, no matter what challenges come our way.
So keep your eyes open for Guest-house Korcula Explorer (may need to work on the name), opening some time in the future. You are all very welcome!
Do you have a future plan or vision? What are you doing to try and fulfil those dreams?