I’m “on the road” this month.  And no, I don’t mean driving to Newbury and Basingstoke.  I’m on the road like Jack Kerouac, cruising around America with my kids.

I’ve just got to Yosemite, which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

If you’ve never been here before, Yosemite is one of the most beautiful national parks in the world, with amazing waterfalls, humungous sequoia trees and incredible clifftop views.

We’re heading off on a horse ride this afternoon, but I’ll tell you what, actually booking the horse ride was touch and go for a while…

A few weeks ago (back in the UK) I was on the National Parks website when I discovered that riding in the park is a possibility, but I couldn’t find any way to book online.

I hunted high and low for a website that provided more information and sold it, but I couldn’t find one ANYWHERE.

I headed back to the National Parks website, and finally came across a phone number.  But it was an American one.  Pricey, and I couldn’t be bothered to work out the time difference.  (Is it CST, MST or PST?)

SO I hit Google, looking for an email address to send my booking through to.  No joy.

Same on Facebook.  Nada.

Eventually I ended up calling the overpriced American number only to hear the message, “This number is unavailable. Please try again later” with no opportunity to leave a voicemail.  It almost goes without saying that I tried again later and the same thing happened.

I was a bit stumped.  So I headed BACK online, and eventually found a date that the stables opened.

So I took a punt on it and rang the day after their official opening date.

Wonders! A living, breathing human being answered. And was friendly and let me book a 2 hour riding session (will we regret that? Or will our behinds regret it?). But she didn’t take my card details, name, email address or telephone number.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.  But there’s a big lesson: if you’re in a competitive market, you can’t rely on your customers being ultra determined to do business with you.  What they want is a solution that’s easy to achieve and the right price.

You can bet your bottom dollar that I’d have booked elsewhere if there were any other stables in Yosemite…

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