My Local Virtual Number: An American-Costa Rican Ecotourism Partnership

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Eco-tourism businesses like Seattle-based Wildland Adventures play a vital role in helping to ensure the sustainability of some of the earth’s most beautiful natural environments. For entrepreneurs considering breaking into the ecotourism industry, Costa Rica is a stunning place to start.

American-Costa Rican eco-tourism partnerships employ staff based over 3,000 miles apart. For any business operating on this international scale, efficient networking is essential for success. Even for established eco-friendly businesses, overcoming distance barriers can be challenging, so let’s take a look at how Wildland Adventures has worked to overcome this problem:

Wildland Adventures is an eco-friendly tourism business with locations in over thirty travel destinations. The Wildland experience places an emphasis on the importance of interacting with local culture and discovering the native way of life. Wildland’s Costa Rican location enables travelers to discover the wild and exotic Costa Rican scenery without participating in the environmental destruction that is so often precipitated by the tourism industry. To optimize visitor

cultural integration, Wildland primarily employs native workers at their international locations, while also maintaining US-based office workers. To manage such a wide and diverse network of employees, Wildland uses virtual number services.

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Virtual number services are often used in the tourism industry to efficiently manage call networking. Virtual phone systems offer the most environmentally-friendly telephony technology available today, making them particularly popular within ecotourism businesses. The following virtual number features make network management easier for businesses like Wildland Adventures:

  • Toll Free Call Forwarding: Wildland Adventures uses a toll free 800 number to offer customers all over the world an easy, free way to talk to a customer representatives about the great travel packages that they offer. When a customer dials Wildland’s 800 number, he/she is forwarded to the Wildland Adventures central office. Call forwarding works well for international businesses, enabling centralized networking and cost-efficient communications.

  • No Equipment Installation: Virtual numbers aren’t wired via traditional phone lines, which means that absolutely no equipment installation is required to activate one, making virtual phone systems an eco-friendly option.

  • 24/7 Emergency Answering Service: Because virtual numbers are routed through third-party call centers, international businesses like Wildlands can ensure 24/7 service without employing 24/7 office staff. Since Wildlands customers are often traveling off the beaten path, this availability is an essential part of their customer service package.

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Customer service is important within any industry, but for ecotourism businesses, crafting a positive customer experience is about more than just answering the phones promptly. Customers who choose an eco-friendly vacation are often seeking an experience that transcends the traditional resort package. Your visitors want to see the world as it was supposed to be–the Costa Rican jungles, the exotic wildlife, the exhilarating waterfalls.

  • Authenticity: An authentic experience is hard to find in today’s commercialized travel industry. To give your tourists a true international experience, employ native tour guides and resort workers. These workers will be able to introduce travelers to the real Costa-Rica in an authentic and often eye-opening way.

  • Exploration: Give your customers the opportunity to get off the beaten path while ensuring safety by providing experienced tour guides to introduce visitors to the local environment.

  • Adventure: Don’t limit your ecotourism business to the resort boundaries. Introduce your visitors to the local villages, to the mountain tops, to the true spiritual nature of Costa Rica.

Local Virtual Numbers

The ecotourist experience should begin with a phone call. While toll-free virtual numbers such as Wildland Adventures’ 800 number work seamlessly for international networking, the capabilities of virtual numbers can extend even further. To create a more complete sense of place, try marketing through local virtual numbers. Local virtual numbers are numbers that are tailored to a particular locality and forwarded through call centers. For example, Wildland Adventures could choose a Costa Rican phone number that, when dialed, actually forwards to their Seattle central office. Having a local forwarding number helps to create a sense of place while navigating language barriers and improving local and vendor relationships.