1) Organization, stimulation, and providing the opportunity to disengage. Studies seem to demonstrate that one of the greatest aspects of your vacation is the anticipation of it. In other words, by the time you've begun your trip, you've already experienced the best part.
That's not what we want for our guests. While we do want you to have a ball looking forward to vacationing with us, as do all guest ranches, we also want you to have an incredible time while you're here. Huffington Post shares from a research journal that "While all vacationers enjoyed pre-trip happiness, the study’s authors found that people only experienced a boost in happiness post-vacation if their trip was relaxing. If their vacation was deemed “stressful” or “neutral,” their post-trip happiness levels were comparable to those who hadn’t taken a vacation at all."
The take-a-way for ranches is that in order to be top-notch, we have to provide our guests with a stay that offers all the organization and stimulation they need to keep their family happy. But, the guests must also have the opportunity to disengage. The best guest ranches are able to provide your lodging, meals, and all your activities in a way where you don't have to worry about the details. You can just sit back, relax, and hang your boot heels over the porch railing.
2) Love for the customer is realized, not fantasized.
Have you ever known someone who is great mingling in a crowd, being everybody's friend? But, you never seem to be able to connect on a deep level with them...they're just "making the rounds."
One of the most special characteristics a guest ranch can offer is being able to have someone that guests can respect and admire on the staff/among the owners. And, perhaps it's actually the entire group of staff. When the owners, the managers, and/or the staff take the time to engage with the guests on a meaningful level, that's a ranch providing something more than just another vacation.
3) Love for the staff, ranch property, horses and nature is obvious to the guest. After watching cattle ranchers tend to their herds and hear their calving stories and even folk lore, the term "caretaker" has begun to take on a whole new meaning.
If you're a guest searching for that next vacation, find a destination that has a caretaker. This is someone who has a deep connection with animals, with breathing life into a place, and who genuinely loves other people. Horses and other critters should be well taken care of, and you should be able to tell year after year that care and love is being put into the property and into the land. And, when you believe you've finally found the one who shines at caretaking, rest assured that you and your own flock will be in good hands.
If you're interested in learning more about the Elk River Guest Ranch, give us a call at