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From an idea to a hiking experience

Christina reveals all about the process of creating a Eurohike hiking tour
Lechtal Alps near the Leutkircher Hut

Every autumn, I excitedly await the updated website from Eurohike. Why? Because that means the new hiking tours for 2023 are bookable. Then I can see the results of the long process of creating our individual hiking tours.

Today on our hiking blog I will share with you what goes on behind the scenes when developing our hiking tours – what needs to be taken into account, from the first idea to the finished, fully organized hiking holiday.

Lechtal Alps near the Leutkircher Hut

A good idea for a (hiking) start

First things first, you need a good idea for a new route or travel destination. We at Eurohike have countless ideas every year. Many more than we could possibly turn into reality.  Any idea for a new tour project is immediately discussed internally with our management or product management team. This first meeting and the creative exchange of ideas in the office is the basis of every project.

Christina am Pitztaler Jöchl

Extensive research

As soon as the decision for a new hiking tour has been made, for me the research and rough planning of the tour begins. I first find out what is feasible and possible in the desired travel area. To do this, I use everything I can find in the form of maps, hiking guides or (often in a foreign language) internet forums and apps. It can take me a while to process everything. Even though it is very time-consuming to put together your own tour, it is far more appealing and challenging than copying a ready-made hiking path. After all, our top priority is to take you on the most beautiful routes in Europe. During my research, I sometimes find myself in very "wild areas", such as the untouched borderland between Piedmont and Liguria, on the island of Sardinia or in the south of Portugal. Here it is very useful to know a few foreign languages.

Christina at the computer in the café

Arrangements & travel check on site

Once I have drawn up an initial itinerary and it has been agreed within the team, we can get started. Now the places to stay and the rough itinerary are decided. If one of our Eurobike cycle tours already runs in the destination it can be useful in the selection and organization of the luggage transfer. Next, I head off on my travels: Equipped with research plans, maps, guide books, laptop, GPS tracker, navigation apps, voice recorder and camera, I set off. A totally new, unknown area must be explored extensively. Particularly in "exotic" destinations like Portugal, Madeira and central Italy, you often can't get much out of the maps and guides. Some of the marked paths are not available and the picture on the ground is often completely different from what you expected. So I first collect data and record the route I have taken. I often wander back and forth, trying out as much as possible. I'm not always successful and sometimes many exhausting kilometres of the route were in vain.

But sorting things out is also part of moving forward for me. Turning around and abandoning a tour is routine. Flexibility in rescheduling and adapting to the circumstances are required. Every day, completely new hiking terrain presents itself again and sometimes I have even more ideas after three days than I did at the beginning. I record important directions and details of the route on the dictaphone. I also take photos of signposts (if there are any) or critical junctions. I often use my finger as an "arrow" in the picture. Then I can visualise things correctly when I'm processing it. In addition, I take landscape pictures and photos of the places where I stay overnight when I pass particularly beautiful spots. In the evening, I load all the data onto the laptop. That way I get a little smarter every day and get to know the region even better. Of course, I often have to be on the road for many weeks for this, travelling by train, bus or boat and stopping off at numerous hotels. Travelling and living out of a suitcase in a hotel is a normal working day for me.

Back in the office and creating the itinerary

With lots of experiences and concrete plans, I return to the Eurohike head office in Obertrum am See. Together with our product management, all details are coordinated and open questions about the new tour are clarified. After all, the new tour should ideally be bookable from the next hiking season. Before I create a finished programme for the itinerary and catalogue, our logistics team gets involved in addition to product management, and the most beautiful pictures are selected. Now the texts for all communication channels and booking options have to be prepared accordingly. This includes updating the Eurohike app, image editing and preparing the website.

Christina and Thomas sit at the table with travel documents

Final tour check on site

In autumn, winter or when the region and the schedule allow it, I go on tour again. On site, I record the route and all stages as well as details of the complete tour. Of course, new options, variants and many good tips are added here. I really want to test out all the routes again myself before they go into the final route book. This also includes checking for possible shortcuts and additional variants. Because only those who know all the routes know which routes are really the best and most beautiful.

In addition, I decide on the difficulty level of each section. This way, our individual hiking tours can be divided into hiking types and difficulty levels. I also take another close look at the signposts and markings. I often take photographs of certain key points to show them to our travel specialists in the office, so that they know exactly how the tour will go (even before they themselves are on tour as staff). This is the only way we can give our guests the best advice and ensure unique hiking quality.

Further briefings, travel report and anticipation

In winter and after the end of the hiking season, a lot of computer and office work awaits me. GPS tracks have to be corrected, many pictures sorted out, the dictaphone listened to, detailed trail descriptions written, the app filled, internal training created, as well as trip reports written. And as soon as the new hiking catalogue appears, I think to myself every time: Wow, what a great trip, I would go there again immediately! And I'm a little proud of what we've worked out over the months. It's great that there are always new destinations and very special that there are many excited hiking guests happy with me for finding new destinations and hiking holidays for 2024.

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