We had the good fortune of connecting with Laurel Darren and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laurel, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Four years ago when I started Wild Bunch Desert Guides, LLC my thought process was to remain true to myself and create adventures that were safe, all private, educational and extremely fun. I also wanted to have guides who were genuine, kind and true to who they were and able to share with our guests their personalities and stories as they guided and had a good time in the field.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Wild Bunch Desert Guides has for the last 4 years been a private adventure company. We do not combine groups of people with other groups. We have a solo rate and then a 2 or more rate for all the adventures we offer. That has set us apart until the pandemic happened–THEN- it became a silver lining for a while until other companies have now had no choice and have to follow the same thinking with groups. Wild Bunch came about after I worked as a senior guide for another outfitter here in the valley and guides were often times put in scenarios where the groups were combined with others they did not know. It became tough sometimes to give everyone an excellent adventure because they were all at different levels of capability, skills or over all fitness. You really had to be on your A game and figure out how to manage every0ne and keep the pace of the hike or mountain bike to that of the rider or hiker who struggled the most all while keeping that same person along with the group sage. Think about how rough it would be to take out 4 amazing, skilled, experienced mountain bikers and have 2 true beginners show up–yes it was difficult to manage, Hence, why PRIVATE became our niche. The private tours have been amazing. Wild Bunch Desert Guides is about safety first and foremost, fun and putting together adventures that guests will talk about for a long time and tell their friends and family about. We love referrals from guests-best compliment ever.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
A few other vendors in our industry absolutely deserve a shout out. JJ Briles Owner of Stellar Adventures and dog whisperer. Jeff Slade Owner of Detours America West. Bruce Leadbetter of 360 Adventures Kirk and Monica of JoyRides AZ. Renee Taylor of Sea Turtle Getaways, Hilton Head Island, SC. My pals Judi and Dom of Spun Bicycles in Cincinatti, OH. A lot of personal friends– too many to name them all — they know who they are.
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Photo Credit: Brett Talcott