We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda + Stephanie Long and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda + Stephanie, what do you attribute your success to?
There are many aspects that go into making a hot air ballooning experience appear seamless, and operate efficiently, however, the biggest factor that we feel has impacted our company’s success is teamwork and a positive attitude. Our office staff, kitchen personnel, FAA certified repair station, pilots, and crew members all have to work together towards a common goal, and without this success is not possible.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The road hasn’t always been as smooth as it is now. After being in business together for 12 years, Hot Air Expeditions Founders, Margie and Randy Long divorced and Margie Long became the sole owner of Hot Air Expeditions. Then, the unexpected happened and Margie passed away suddenly in 2013 at the age of 58 years old. Given the unforeseen and tragic news, Margie and Randy’s daughters, Amanda and Stephanie Long, stepped in and took over the business. This was an especially difficult transition, as Margie’s passing happened unexpectedly and there was no rule book, direction or instruction left behind. At the time, neither Stephanie or Amanda had the intention of taking over the business, but bonded together and made sure operations continued. Now in our 7th year of business, as sisters and co-owners, we have a wonderful working relationship and collaborate daily on creating a customer experience that our Mom would be proud of and putting fun twists on our Arizona ballooning experiences. Hot Air Expeditions specializes in providing daily hot air ballooning experiences with catered fare in Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ and Tucson, AZ. Our favorite thing about what we do is providing guests of all different ages and walks of life with once in a lifetime experiences and leaving them with smiling faces and memories to last a lifetime. What’s unique about our company is that we are local and have been providing ballooning experiences in Arizona for over 29 years. Our post-flight fare is provided by local restaurant Vincent’s on Camelback and it is scrumptious! We are also family-owned and operated and take pride in making sure even the littlest of details are perfect from the time of booking all the way until the very end of the experience. We are proud to be a woman-owned business and employ over 30 staff members.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are SO many fun things to do in our home state of Arizona! A few of our favorite things that we would recommend to locals and visitors are: -Take a drive on Sonoran Desert Drive, it’s a gorgeous way to see the desert! -Take a spin on an ATV with a Stellar Adventures ATV Tour -Take a day to spend in Sedona – go hiking, take a stroll in downtown Sedona, and pick up some fudge from Sedona Fudge Company -Get your sweat on in Scottsdale at BODI and grab a protein shake from Best Life Fit afterward -Get your Mexican fix from Jalapeno Inferno and/or Barrio Queen
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Our parents started Hot Air Expeditions in 1991 and grew it from a 1 balloon operation, to where we are now, with a fleet of 9 hot air balloons, and employing 30 staff members. We wouldn’t be where we are today without their drive, business savvy, and passion for all things hot air ballooning!