As promised, here are some of the key findings from our recent survey – and many thanks again to all those who completed it for us. Congratulations also to James Crisp, whose name we picked out of the hat as winner of our prize draw. James travelled with Antony Spencer and Justin Reznick to Iceland and in 2014 and wins a one hour critique with a Light & Land leader.
1) Who did we talk to?
We emailed all of the past guests who had travelled with since the start of 2012, as we felt this would give us a representative selection. We also invited people to complete the survey via Twitter, as we have a good following and we felt that this may help us to gain feedback from a wider audience. For example people who had travelled with us prior to 2012, or people who were not the lead booker, whose details we may not hold in our database.
In total, we received 188 completed surveys, giving us a very representative array of results and feedback – a brilliant response we’re sure you will agree. Of these people, we found that:
- 7.5% had done more than 11 trips with us previously (wow, thank you!)
- 16.5% had done between six and 10 trips with us previously
- 37% had done between two and five workshops or tours with us previously
- 13% had only done one tour with us previously
- 26% had only done one workshop with us previously
This means that, of all responders, well over half were repeat guests and just under a quarter had travelled with us six or more times!
2) Why did they choose Light & Land?
We were keen to find out why people choose Light & land, not just the first time, but also why they come back over and over again – as is clearly the case, based on the figures above! For this section, we gave people the option to choose multiple answers, which is why the figures add up to more than 100%.
In order of popularity, these are the reasons that people gave us:
- Location of tour/workshop - 77%
- Quality/knowledge of leaders - 76%
- Specific date of tour/workshop - 30%
- Structure of tour/workshop - 22%
- Recommendation from a friend - 15%
- Past guest reviews on Light and Land website - 7.5%
It’s clear that quality of leaders and the locations we choose are two of the main reasons, which is lovely to hear, and this finding was also supported in later answers as well.
In addition to checking these specific boxes, we also invited extra comments, and almost a quarter of people provided us with even more information here. It was fairly unsurprising that a third of those comments related specifically to wanting to work with Charlie Waite, based on his reputation as one of the world’s leading landscape photographers. Though having said that, many of our other leaders were also mentioned specifically by name!
Here are a few lovely quotes from the comments:
“It was my dream to go on a workshop led by Charlie Waite.”
“From my research, Light & Land seemed to be the company to go with.”
“I wish I had discovered Light & Land earlier!”
“I heard through a friend that Joe Cornish was an excellent leader, and I wasn't to be disappointed. Joe was inspirational and generous – as they say up north – ‘top bloke’!”
“An opportunity to do a workshop with Charlie Waite close to home was one I could not miss.”
“The quality of the experience encouraged me to return time and again.”
“Several other photographers all said it was a must to experience a tour with Charlie Waite to ‘learn from the master’".
3) Would people recommend us, or travel with us again?
For any small business, recommendation and repeat business is really important. We wanted to find out whether our guests would recommend us to other people – as this really helps us to understand if we are offering the right mix of tours and workshops, with the right leaders, to the right locations. It is also really useful to find out if people would consider travelling with us again.
So we asked if people had ever recommended, or would recommend, Light & Land to a friend. And we were absolutely delighted to find that 93% said they would, or already have!
We’ll be working hard to convince the other 7% of course – and part of this survey exercise is very much about finding out what we could do even better.
Of the people we talked to, over a quarter already had another Light & Land trip booked, which is great to hear – but of course we wanted to find out more about the three quarters who didn’t! So the first question was to ask if these people would consider another trip with us, given the right circumstances. It was really pleasing to find out that 86% of them would consider another trip.
It’s always hard to hear that some people didn’t enjoy a tour or workshop, or that even if they did, they wouldn’t consider another one - and as part of our research we asked them to tell us more about the reasons for this. We’ll be taking all that feedback on board, and considering any changes we might make in light of what we have learned, where it is practical and possible to do so. Watch this space!
4) Why do people come back time and time again?
Of those who have already made the decision to come back more than once, we captured a range of reasons why – with the quality of our leaders and our locations being two of the most mentioned, which reinforces what we already discovered earlier.
Locations were described as ‘amazing’, ‘beautiful’ and ‘interesting’ amongst many other adjectives, with lots of variety and a great choice of options. People also valued being taken to locations which they may not otherwise have found – all part of our leaders’ excellent ‘insider knowledge’!
The style of our tours and workshops seems to be very popular also - friendly and relaxed, but with a clear emphasis in making great images. Meanwhile, our leaders were described as being ‘energetic’, ‘hard working’, ‘knowledgeable’, ‘sociable’, ‘enthusiastic’, ‘committed’, ‘professional’ and ‘friendly’. What more can we say??
Many other reasons were mentioned, and in the main these centred around being on a trip with like-minded individuals, who are all focused on photography and who are willing to share their skills and experience. We always knew you were a fantastic group of people – so thank you.
5) What could we do differently?
We plan our tours and workshops very carefully, with the aim of maximising lighting conditions, weather, local events and even things like tides – as we did on our recent Cornwall trip. We try to include a range of activities to suit everyone, but we’re always keen to gather feedback on what we might do differently in the future. As such, we included a set of questions around specific aspects of our planning, to see what people thought.
Again, these were multiple choice, so people could select as many areas as they felt were relevant. It was good to see that none of these changes were selected by more than a third of our responders, so it’s clear that the majority of people are happy with how we are doing things. However, we want to please as many people as possible – so here’s a quick run-down of the ones which were mentioned, in order of popularity.
- More time critiquing pictures taken
- More one-to-one time with leaders
- More time taking pictures
Each of these was only mentioned by a relatively small number of people, but rest assured we’ll be looking at how we can address these desires over the coming weeks – although it is of course sometimes difficult to please everyone on a group activity of this type!
We also asked about things like whether people would prefer more sunrise/sunset photography, more night photography and more technical teaching – but in the main it seems we’re getting this about right. For anyone who did select these, please do chat with your individual tour leader on future trips and they will aim to accommodate individual requests wherever possible.
One last area which did come up was a desire for new locations – and hopefully as you will have seen from some of our recent announcements, this is already in the pipeline! We also asked people to tell us where they’d like to travel to in the future, and we’ll tell you about some of the more popular ones later in this article.
(A few years ago! Charlie Waite and Phil Malpas) The Myanmar group!
6) How did we score?
The middle section of the survey asked people to score us on a range of topics, on a scale of 1 to 6 with 6 being the highest. This gives us a quick snapshot of what we’re doing well, and what people think about Light & Land - in a way that is easy to quantify and easy to compare against when we run the survey next. The plan is to carry out this survey annually, to see if we’ve improved on any areas that were not marked as highly as we might like.
Here are the results so far, based on people’s experiences of one or more trips with us:
- Overall view of trip(s) – 85% scored 5 or 6
- View of leaders – 91% scored 5 or 6
- View of location(s) – 84% scored 5 or 6
- View of technical teaching – 73% scored 5 or 6
- View of artistic teaching – 78% scored 5 or 6
- View of overall organisation before the trip/during booking – 89% scored 5 or 6
- View of overall organisation during the trip – 91% scored 5 or 6
We think that’s a pretty good set of marks! But of course we’ll be looking at areas which scored a little lower than we would like, and hope to see an even higher score there next time.
7) Where would you like to go next?
Many new and potentially exciting locations were suggested, and we will be reviewing all these over the coming weeks, especially where multiple people asked for the same options. Not all locations are possible, or practical, for a variety of reasons – but we’re doing our best to offer a wider range of places as time goes on.
One clear fact which emerged was that there is a very real demand for more UK-based tours, and for more which are closer to home. For example the Channel Islands, the Scilly Isles, Ireland, Northern Ireland and northern France. We’ll be looking closely at these, and other options, as we plan future tours.
8) What type of tours should we run?
Again, we wanted to know if we’re getting it right, so we includes a list of tour types which we felt people might like, and asked them to select any that they would prefer to see more of. This was the feedback – which we will be taking into account when planning our calendar for 2016 and beyond:
- 41% of people would like more one day workshops
- 37% of people would like more weekend breaks
- 30% of people would like more midweek breaks
- 18% of people would like longer tours
We also wanted to know if we’re running tours at the right time of year, and whether people would be interested in more trips in the Summer holidays, or new tours at Christmas and Easter. The results were 5%, 4% and 3% respectively – so for the moment at least, we think we’ve got it about right!
9) Final comments
However much time you put into drafting a survey like this, there is always more that people would like to add – so we felt it was important to include one last ‘Any other comments?’ box. And we’re glad we did, as half of all responders took time to add extra comments – almost all of which were positive we’re glad to say! Here are a few of our favourites:
“Your tours have more than lived up to my expectations and I look forward to going on many more.”
“Just love every single moment of every trip - tutoring and locations are awesome. Even getting out for dawn shoots at 4.00am is made enjoyable! How do you do that?!”
“Carry on the great work. You're one of the few companies I use that has genuine passion for what you do, and it shows.”
“I really enjoy your trips. I'm happy to go home exhausted afterwards if it means I've been out photographing at every possible opportunity.”
“The nuances picked up on the tour were things I could never really learn from a book or video tutorial.”
“As I have some mobility restrictions I have particularly appreciated the care taken by both admin and leaders to ensure that I can get the most out of tours. I am very grateful - thank you!”
“Learnt more in 3 days than in 10 days with another provider.”
“My recent trip with Justin and Tony to Iceland last June was fantastic, really professional and got great results.”
“Overall L&L remains my first choice - I feel confident in booking a trip with L&L that I am in for a good time with some great destinations and tutors/guides.”
“I have loved all the trips I have been on and had a great time, with some images I have been proud of on my return. Thank you!!”
“The finest workshop and tour company on the market.”
“Excellent job delivering us to remote, gorgeous locations.”
“The key to your success seems to be flexibility, as not everyone is the same level of ability or experience.”
“First class premium photo tour company with superb leaders.”
“Phil Malpas is superb - knowledgeable, hardworking, professional.”
“Brilliant trip, looking forward to coming on many more.”
“Great company and will keep coming back for more.”
“Just been on the one trip, but now booked another shooting London at Night. I found it did everything it said and I came away very enthused.”
“Top photographers with an excellent knowledge of the locations.”
“Light and Land has given me the confidence to continue, improve and share my work. Discovering L&L has been life changing for me.”
Post By Charlie Waite