Announcements

The Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education announces their first Corporate Partner: PathWrangler!

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 27, 2014                                                            
For more information, contact: Doug Heinz – CEO, Pathwrangler
899 Green St. #404, San Francisco, CA 94133
doug@pathwrangler.com
415-309-2242

The Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education expands their membership benefits to Outdoor Education with leading travel software company, PathWrangler

San Francisco, CA (January 21, 2014) – The Association for Outdoor Recreation Education, an organization developed by and for outdoor recreation and education professionals and students, is announcing a new partnership with San Francisco-based software company PathWrangler today. The partnership gives AORE members a 15% discount on PathWrangler’s travel software, which helps outdoor programs, clubs and trip planners to run better trips, mentor student leaders and grow their programs.

PathWrangler’s online app allows users to create interactive trips with all the assets they need to organize outdoor expeditions and guided tours. Through their accounts, trip leaders can create, share and host the data for traveler registrations, itineraries, packing lists and more of the many aspects of operating an expedition. An additional module, Formstack, allows operators to build the forms they need online, and host them on their unique trip page without leaving the PathWrangler app, eliminating the need for PDFs, emails and spreadsheets to collect traveler information.

“AORE is delighted to work with PathWrangler in order to better serve and address member needs. We understand that outdoor practitioners and academics work in an environment that is demanding updated technology to allow for better efficiencies within our programs,” says Jeannette Stawski, Executive Director of AORE. “I served as the University of Michigan’s Outdoor Adventures Director for 11 years and I am well aware of the challenges and demands for trip and program management for college and university programs. This technology will enable our AORE member programs to better manage the complexities of trip programming in a more efficient and effective way, and will ultimately allow them to shift their focus towards the educational and developmental aspects of the trip experience.”

“When we set out to build PathWrangler, we did it because the outdoor industry was being poorly served by technology,” says Doug Heinz, CEO of PathWrangler. “We didn’t just want to build a tool that helped the industry with their paperwork.  We set out to build a tool that was an experience in itself; something where you could create, imagine and engage with your trip before you threw you backpack over your shoulders.  Because of this approach, PathWrangler has not only greatly reduced the amount of time administrators spend processing ‘paper’ and organizing trips, it has become a place for people to tell and share their stories, while inspiring others.”

Heinz continues on why PathWrangler teamed up with the AORE, “Our Outdoor Rec Programs have taken the use of PathWrangler to the next level; they use the tool to train and mentor future leaders.  We see the that the is AORE leading the charge in its vision not just to grow outdoor education, but to make it ubiquitous with the entire educational experience.  We’re extremely excited to be a part of supporting these goals.”

This unique partnership will provide AORE members with an entirely cloud-based solution when organizing expeditions and outdoor activities.  Ultimately, this will help the outdoor education community to improve outdoor education, while at the same time providing students a way to share and engage with their experiences.

About PathWrangler

For more information about PathWrangler or to start planning your expedition, visit http://www.pathwrangler.com. Simply put, PathWrangler makes building and storing experiences easier than ever before. Let’s face it, planning an adventure trip or an outdoor excursion is like herding cats. It can be maddening to get everyone and everything prepared. We’ve built a collaborative web tool that makes trip planning not only easy, but fun. The goal is to empower you so that your only limitation is your imagination and sense of wonder. It can be used just as easily by professional guides running recurring expeditions to the Himalayas to just a handful of avid outdoor enthusiasts planning their next hiking trip in Yosemite.

About the Association of Outdoor Recreation Education

The mission of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education is to provide opportunities for professionals and students in the field of outdoor recreation and education to exchange information, promote the preservation and conservation of the natural environment, and address issues common to college, university, community, military, and other not-for-profit outdoor recreation and education programs.

The Adventure Travel Trade Association Launches Partnership with PathWrangler

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The ATTA expands their membership benefits to tour operators with a leading travel software company, PathWrangler.

San Francisco, CA (December 5, 2013)The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA, http://www.adventuretravel.biz), a global adventure travel membership organization announced a new partnership with San Francisco-based software company PathWrangler today. The partnership gives ATTA members a 15% discount on PathWrangler’s travel software, which helps tour operators and trip planners to run better trips and grow their business. 

PathWrangler’s online app allows users to create and host the files they need to organize outdoor expeditions and guided tours. Through their accounts, trip leaders can create, share and host the data for traveler registrations, itineraries, packing lists and more of the many aspects of operating an expedition. An additional module, Formstack, allows operators to build the forms they need online, and host them on their unique trip page without leaving the PathWrangler app, eliminating the need for PDFs, emails and spreadsheets to collect traveler information.

 “We recently polled our members on software solutions needed for adventure tourism companies to thrive,” says Alice Gifford, ATTA’s Director of Community Development. “PathWrangler has been active in the ATTA community since 2008, and we’re delighted to be able to offer this kind of travel software solution as a benefit to ATTA Members.”

 “Tour Operators have a tough task at hand. Their market is demanding more personal and relevant experiences to their lives. That presents significant operational and selling challenges,” says Doug Heinz, CEO of PathWrangler. “Our partnership with the ATTA is one of values. The ATTA is trying to preserve the unique identities and personalization that our industry brings to travel, while the rest of the world is moving to consolidation and commoditization. We are excited to join with the ATTA as they lead the way in providing their members a way to meet these new challenges while not just preserving their unique identities, but allowing them to grow and thrive.”

This unique partnership will provide ATTA members with an entirely cloud-based solution when organizing group expeditions and guided tours, making their data more accessible and accommodating their on-the-go lifestyles.

About PathWrangler

For more information about PathWrangler or to start planning your expedition, visit www.pathwrangler.com. Simply put, PathWrangler makes building and storing experiences easier than ever before. Let’s face it, planning an adventure trip or an outdoor excursion is like herding cats. It can be maddening to get everyone and everything prepared. We’ve built a collaborative web tool that makes trip planning not only easy, but fun. The goal is to empower you so that your only limitation is your imagination and sense of wonder. It can be used just as easily by professional guides running recurring expeditions to the Himalayas to just a handful of avid outdoor enthusiasts planning their next hiking trip in Yosemite.

About the Adventure Travel Trade Association

Established in 1990, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) serves more than 900 members in 80 countries worldwide. Members predominantly include tour operators, tourism boards, specialty agents and accommodations with a vested interest in the sustainable development of adventure tourism. The ATTA delivers solutions and connections that propel members towards their business goals and the industry toward a responsible and profitable future. Through its regional AdventureConnect events and annual Adventure Travel World Summit trade conference, the ATTA excels in professional learning, networking and partnering services. With expertise in research, education, adventure travel industry news and promotion, members of the ATTA receive competitive opportunities that help establish them as leaders in adventure tourism. (www.adventuretravel.biz)

We’ve Been Hacked – What Happened and How We’ve Fixed It

Over the past week, PathWrangler has been attacked by a deliberate and malicious cyber hacker.  In short, the perpetrators responsible have been using the Tor network to anonymously request and redirect password changes.  If they get inside, they’re going in an deleting user’s entire accounts.  We’ve solved the problem, but not only do we want to inform you of this incident, we also need your help in making sure your account is secure.
  1. Please immediately change your password. Under settings, you can do that here.  Please use a strong password that has upper and lowercase letters, numbers as well as symbols.   This will go a long way in helping to fend off these kind of attacks.
  2. If you receive an automatic password change request from PathWrangle that was unprompted, please forward it to support@pathwrangler.com immediately.  You will never receive an unprompted automated password change request from PathWrangler.
  3. No billing or private information or email addresses have been compromised.
  4. We spent the weekend tracking down and closing the loop-holes that these attackers took advantage of.  We ensure that your account is secure and that we have not only solved this problem, but are taking active steps to make sure that any future attacks are protected against.
Please contact us at support@pathwrangler.com if you have any questions, concerns or thoughts.  We appreciate your business and regret having to send this email.  However, we are absolutely committed to serving you with the most amazing customer service, so we don’t believe in sweeping these things under the rug.  Your relationship with us is the most valuable thing we have and we’re committed to protecting you, your information and your businesses.
To the person, or persons responsible for this attack, we quote the great comedian Hannibal Burress in our feelings towards you,  “I hope you almost die in a fire and then get stabbed, while you are still on fire.”
Best Regards,
Doug Heinz
CEO – PathWrangler

How the PathWrangler and Formstack Partnership Changes the Lives of Tour Operators

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Today we announced a partnership with a fantastic company out of Indianapolis: Formstack.  So, what does Formstack do and why it is important to PathWrangler users?  In short, it could change how businesses operate in our industry forever.

First a recap: PathWrangler is a platform for creating, planning, managing and then sharing stories about your trips.  If you have the travel bug you’ll love it.  However, there is a whole separate layer to PathWrangler that is focused towards to those businesses and other institutions that have made it their business to run trips.  Our clients are tour operators, guides, educational institutions, schools, clubs and volunteer organizations.  The PathWrangler platform focuses specifically on collaboration around all the elements specific to running trips, selling them and then using them to help capture referrals.

While PathWrangler takes a huge bite out of the trip specific problems, those that run a business have other problems to solve that are specific to running any business.  In the two years we’ve been in business, we’ve received a lot of feedback from entities big and small who have said they struggle with a lot of business operations issues such as taking payments, gathering personal information from clients (like medical information, dietary preferences/restrictions), getting waivers signed, applications filled out and even requesting post-trip reviews and feedback.

We are getting into the stage of the digital age where people are starting to show physical symptoms (anywhere from a mild tic to a full-on pouring sweat fever) when PDFs and Word Docs show up in their inbox.   In  this age we can use technology to upload and share photos with the world from our phone, make purchases with the click of a button and know the exact number of times that our favorite Facebook poster’s children have eaten and taken bowel movements.  Whether good or bad, this has made the tolerance for having to download an attachment, print it out, fill it out by hand, scan it and send it back almost an act of hostility.  Not only do these issues cause tension for clients, those who have to manage the operations on the business side are engaged in an endless cycle of self-abuse.

Formstack solves all of these problems.  Not just a couple.  Not just many.  ALL of them.  Not only do your clients have a single place where they can go to interact with you about their trip, all the operational elements you require to get them going is right there as well.  Formstack is designed to automate this collection process and, if you have other tools like CRMs, Accounting Systems and payment processors, it plugs right into those systems so you don’t have to do a thing.  Those who run trips for a living can go about doing more of what they love and doing less office work.

So, here is how it works. Firstly, you need a PathWrangler Premium Entity account (you can get one here).  This account is your business’s dashboard, where anyone who helps to manage your company can build trips, interact with clients, create libraries of your past trips, and capture referrals that come in from people interacting with their friends and family that have gone on your previous trips.  This page, along with all of your individual trips, are integrated into your social media channels as well as your website, so you can distribute them more widely and sell more of them.

Located within this Entity page is a tab specifically for Forms.  Through this page, you can sign-up for Formstack (they offer a 14-Day trial for new users).  You’ll log into Formstack separately to build and manage all of your forms.  By linking PathWrangler with Formstack, all the forms you create for your business are here for your clients in one place.  They never have to send you another email, attachment or homing pigeon ever again.

Here are some links to all the different types of forms that you can build in Formstack.  If you have a more evolved business with other tool sets that you use to manage your business, here is a link to all the different technologies that Formstack integrates with and how to link any of them to your third party apps.

PathWrangler and Formstack together have just given travel industry the biggest leap in technology since the invention of the airplane.   No more wasteful business processes, double/triple/quadruple data entry, offline transactions, email attachments or waiting around the fax machine.  In fact,  you can take your scanners and fax machines out into an isolated location and beat them into pieces with a bat (send us photos, if you do this, please!).

If you have any questions or would like some further information on how we can help you change the way your company does business, contact us via our cool Formstack contact form below: CONTACT PATHWRANGLER HERE!

IT’S HERE! Plan, manage and sell your trips in one platform

The new and improved PathWrangler is here!  With one CLICK, you can sign up and put this integrated travel planning and selling solution to work for you.

PathWrangler helps you run better trips & grow your business.

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Tnooz: PathWrangler Showcase

Today, Karthik Prabu from Tnooz published a showcase article on PathWrangler.  It is part info, part interview of me (Doug Heinz) and analysis.  Great write-up and wait until they see what’s coming up in a couple of days!  Our biggest release since Trip Stories is coming up.

Here’s their take:

Tnooz view

PathWrangler is a tool that can be used quickly to create an itinerary, associate a cost, enter day-wise details and publish to clients (travellers).

It looks like the target market is small/medium-sized tour operators or individual tour guides.

Though PathWrangler claims that the discussion feature is their USP, its competitors have much advanced features.

PathWrangler says that their competitors are GetConcourse and Peak15. All those various reservation systems built exclusively for tour operators are direct competitors of PathWrangler.

Also, all platforms that connect locals to travellers are related competitors: TriipPeekToursbylocalsLocalguidingPigafeMeetripGovoyagin.

PathWrangler estimates the adventure travel market at $100 billion and outdoor recreation at $800 billion. But, given the number of similar players existing in the market, the question is the share of PathWrangler in this huge market.

The platform is easy to use, self explanatory and simple. There was no need to go through any documentation to create a trip and publish it.

I will add one counterpoint to discussion feature analysis.  We agree that our discussion/commenting tool within PathWrangler is simple compared to others out there.  However, because our conversations are private among only those who are planning the trip together, the bells and whistles that come with many other discussion tools out there (like social media integration, favoriting, ranking, etc) are overkill for us.  The power of PathWrangler is not how amazing the discussion tool is as a stand alone technology, but that it is contained within the confines of trip, thus creating an easier and more engaging experience all around.  We definitely see room for improvement here, though, but it’ll be within the context of a private discussion.

 

PATHWRANGLER NAMED HONOREE AS PART OF OUTSIDE’S ACTIVE TRAVEL AWARDS

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA | MARCH 12, 2013 PATHWRANGLER has been selected by Outside, America’s leading multimedia active-lifestyle brand, as a recipient of its second annual Active Travel Awards.  PathWrangler was honored as an Honoree. The full list of award winners will be published in the April issue of Outside magazine, available on newsstands March 12, 2013, and at Outside Online.

To select this year’s awards, Outside tapped our global network of correspondents, who spent months on the road traveling from the Philippines to Switzerland to Namibia and then some, to report a definitive roundup of the best new adventures, secret paradises, mountain epics, stunning beaches, airline deals, gorgeous islands, and more. The result is 42 fresh trips that we guarantee will change your life, plus smart travel strategies, the best travel gear, and five exciting new frontiers.

PathWrangler is proud to be awarded honoree of Outside Strategies to “Plug-In.”  With all these beautiful destinations and incredible activities to do, PathWrangler is the tool that brings it all together and makes these dream trips a reality. 

Outside magazine has long been one of the world’s most trusted advisors for active and adventurous travelers,” says Outside Editor Christopher Keyes. “In addition to truly award-worthy destinations and travel providers, this year we unearthed a handful of amazing new frontiers in active travel. Our annual edit franchise honors the year’s best trips, hotels, lodges, luggage, islands, and new destinations that will be an invaluable travel resource for years to come.”

Simply put, PathWrangler makes creating experiences and telling those stories easier than ever before.  Planning an adventure trip or an outdoor excursion is like herding cats. It is maddening to get everyone and everything prepared. Our web app brings the conversation together in an interactive place designed specifically for adventure and outdoor enthusiasts to dream and organize their trip together, and then share their stories after.  Over 100 Tour Operators, Outdoor Clubs and Outdoor Wilderness Programs and thousands of outdoor enthusiasts are using PathWrangler to run better trips and share them with their friends.

In celebration of the Outside Active Travel Awards, PathWrangler is offering its award-winning product for free in preparation for a new premium rollout in the upcoming months.  That means unlimited trips and users for any individuals or business that sign-up now.  Please sign-up here to take advantage of this offer.  Please contact us at info@pathwrangler.com if you’d like any help in getting you or your organization started.

# # #

About Outside

Outside is America’s leading active lifestyle brand. For more than 35 years, Outside has covered travel, sports, adventure, health, and fitness, as well as the personalities, the environment, and the style and culture of the world Outside. The Outside family includes Outside magazine, the only magazine to win three consecutive National Magazine Awards for General Excellence, The Outside Buyer’s Guides, Outside Online, Outside Television, Outside Events, Outside+ tablet edition, and Outside Books. Visit us on www.outsideonline.com and www.facebook.com/outsidemagazine.

Contact PathWrangler

For further press inquiries or other requests, please contact CEO Doug Heinz at doug@pathwrangler.com and 415-309-2242.  Please visit us online at www.pathwrangler.com, www.facebook.com/pathwrangler and @pathwrangler.

Instagram Did a Stupid

The internets have been lit up with the news of Instagram’s new policy for ownership of your photos:

Instagram said today that it has the perpetual right to sell users’ photographs without payment or notification, a dramatic policy shift that quickly sparked a public outcry.

The new intellectual property policy, which takes effect on January 16, comes three months after Facebook completed its acquisition of the popular photo-sharing site. Unless Instagram users delete their accounts before the January deadline, they cannot opt out.

Under the new policy, Facebook claims the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world’s largest stock photo agency. One irked Twitter user quipped that “Instagram is now the new iStockPhoto, except they won’t have to pay you anything to use your images.”

“It’s asking people to agree to unspecified future commercial use of their photos,” says Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “That makes it challenging for someone to give informed consent to that deal.”

That means that a hotel in Hawaii, for instance, could write a check to Facebook to license photos taken at its resort and use them on its Web site, in TV ads, in glossy brochures, and so on — without paying any money to the Instagram user who took the photo. The language would include not only photos of picturesque sunsets on Waikiki, but also images of young children frolicking on the beach, a result that parents might not expect, and which could trigger state privacy laws.

I couldn’t really believe this the first time I read it.  I almost felt like this was an internet hoax by someone creatively trolling the masses.  But after reading several more articles on it (here, here), plus the link above to attorney Kurt Opshal’s interpretation and analysis in the CNET article above, it is as bad as it sounds.

I hate this as a user, but it is even more offensive, as a business owner.  Companies that are building internet platforms heavily rely on the trust of users to participate and use their service.  In Instagram’s case, I’ve heard it argued from others that because their app/service is free, users have little right to complain when they take their content and do what they want with it.  This is stupid.  Rights and laws don’t necessarily mean it is good business.  A trusted relationship with your customers is the most valuable asset you have and to thumb your nose and be antagonistic about that relationship defies common sense.  Everyday you have to earn your customer’s trust and in one whiff, it can be severed beyond repair.

Firstly, as a note to existing and future PathWrangler users, we actively protect your intellectual property.  We don’t just refuse to pursue relationships and partnerships with outside companies profiting off of your data without your permission; we built a way that YOU are in control of the distribution of YOUR content:   photos, trip information, itineraries, gear lists, trip reports, stories and conversations.   Any tools that have been developed or will be developed will only help further the control you have.  It is rather simple for us to do this as is a part of our core values and mission.

Lastly, as an editorial, you can see the weakness and laziness of Instagram as a business model.  It is simple: build something people want and they’ll pay you for it.  Instagram built a simple/free app that gained a shit-ton of users and not a dollar in revenue.  The founders got rich off their exit, but they never built a real business model.  This attempt to monetize at the expense of the only asset they had – their users’ trust – is just a massive unforced error.  This isn’t a just a gaffe like Chevy trying to sell the Nova in Mexico and then realizing later that it meant “No Go” in Spanish.  Then again, what do I know, I haven’t made a billion dollars off of PathWrangler, so maybe my thinking is just dated and tired.  But my experience with our clients says that they kind of like this old fashioned thinking.

Living the Dream! An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting and Operating a Successful Adventure Travel Company

PathWrangler is pleased to announced the release of our free eBook, “Living the Dream: An Entreprenuer’s Guide to Starting and Operating a Successful Adventure Travel Company.”  This book was written by Christina Heyniger and myself and features Chunnie Wright and Mona McPhee.

So, what it this about?  Let’s take you to our first chapter:

“Do you want to build a successful adventure travel business? LIVING THE DREAM gives you a framework for not only starting and getting your new adventure company off the ground, but also how to operate and grow it with dazzling service. Inside this book you’ll find information about how to:

  • Get your business off the ground as quickly and inexpensively as possible
  • Focus your efforts on core business aspects
  • Provide outstanding service to your clients
  • Throw out big, clunky business plans or ideas that are too grand in favor of focusing on bite-sized problems
  • Quickly launch, modify and constantly improve your business to adjust to the market, client demands and economic realities

The book presents a series of steps that draw on the “Lean Startup” methodology created by Eric Ries and has since launched top web software companies and is being extended to numerous other sectors. We are combining our experience with Lean Startup with the know-how and experience of people who have created and built leading adventure travel companies to bring you this adventure travel start-up manual.

Benefits to You

“In the old days, adventure travel was only for a very limited number of highly adventurous people. Nowadays everyone is into adventure travel. Anything out of person’s comfort zone is called ‘adventure travel.’ The whole industry has just skyrocketed. At the same time we have a huge amount of competition, much more than in the past.” – Tony Neubauer, Myths and Mountains

LIVING THE DREAM will explain how you can build a competitive adventure business with a distinctive personality. The methods presented will challenge you to embrace the challenges of a limited budget and turns those limitations into an advantage. Being small and agile isn’t a stage of your business, it is a mindset that lets you provide much better personal experiences to your clients.

Following the steps in this book will help you organize your adventure travel startup, get clients in the door and run better trips.

LIVING THE DREAM challenges you to be opinionated. Forgo being all things to all people and build something that has a distinct image — one that you’re proud and excited about, and that stands out from the crowd.

Who LIVING THE DREAM is Written For

If you are

  • An adventurous type who is tired of the day-to-day slog in the office, who has always wanted to start a business that allows you to explore your passion and work with great people around the world;
  • Currently operating an adventure business you would like to improve, perhaps by streamlining your operational activities or standing out more effectively from your competition;
  • Overwhelmed with the costs of adopting, creating and keeping up with the technology required to stay current in today’s online world;

Then LIVING THE DREAM is for you.”

More to come.  Stay tuned!

New TARPA Initiative: Real Adventures

One of the elements of travel that we keep hearing from clients and travelers is the need for authenticity.  At PathWrangler, we try to get you as immersed as we possibly can.  However, to be a true adventurer, we not only want to put you into the shoes of the indigenous cultures, we want to put you into the shoes of the pioneers of adventure and exploration.  What did it feel like to be Ernest Shackleton, Marco Polo, Dr Livingstone, Ferdinand Magellan, or Sacagawae?

Head researcher, Mikey Clarke reveals how we can bring your trip to the next level:

On your next adventure, there is an option to take our vitamin anti-pills for an extra bout of authenticity – these anti-pills helpfully leach nutrients from your body to let you experience the pleasures of scurvy, just like the old-time adventurers!  This is for the adventurer who will have none of this plasticky, tourist-trap crap.

Another example of how TARPA is leading the travel industry in research.

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Stay tuned for the big PathWrangler announcement (which is certainly NOT a TARPA program).