This is the second of a five part series from Powderhook.
Our Outdoor Future: Five Insights for the Future of Hunting, Fishing and Shooting Sports
“A simpler, more open and transparent way of doing business across our industry is the only way we can ensure the future of our way of life.”
Eric Dinger, co-founder and CEO, Powderhook
In a little under two years of work on the access problem, Powderhook has learned a lot. Based on what we’ve learned, we’ve created five concepts we believe to be imperative for the future of our way of life. These insights represent, in our view, a cultural shift in thinking for our industry. Examples from other industries are provided as a means to rationalize each argument. It is our hope this series can serve as a springboard for new ideas and better solutions.
INSIGHT TWO: AGENCIES AND NGOs MUST ENABLE ECONOMIC INCENTIVE FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR
An immense inventory of untapped access exists. Hundreds of hunter-ed courses have empty seats, shooting competitions can add more shooters, fundraising banquets have empty tables, fishing tournaments can add teams, private lands in public access programs go underutilized, and countless leases sit idle waiting for deer season. The challenge for the hunter, angler and shooter is a fragmentation of information. There is no single place to find out where to go and what’s going on. Worse, options for things to do outdoors are not available on the websites people customarily use to find things to do. We aren’t helping people find us on their terms, we’re making them work to find us on our terms.
The key information keepers of the outdoor community are the leading NGOs and our state and federal agencies. Each has done a noble job of trying to be a source for aggregated information. But, that each is doing so independent of the other speaks to the problem, not the solution. Our leading NGOs along with our federal and state agencies must push us forward by creating an economic incentive for new entrants to the market to help with access and R3 problems. Private industry needs to be able to make money by directly aiding the process of getting people outdoors. Cabela’s should be selling access at retail. I should be able to sign-up for fishing tournaments on the Bass Pro Shops website. GunBroker.com should be selling Ducks Unlimited banquet tickets. Expedia should be booking campgrounds. Airbnb should be adding fishing licenses onto their lakefront home rental transactions. MidwayUSA should be taking registrations for 3-gun competitions.
The travel industry serves as a great model for us to observe, in a tool called a Global Distribution System or “GDS.” Hoteliers, rental car companies and airlines all allow direct consumption via their individual websites. For example, you can buy a United flight on United.com. In much the same way we’re advocating the outdoor industry evolve, those same companies allow hundreds of other websites to make money from booking their inventory. For example, you also can buy a United flight on Travelocity.com. Travelocity makes money, United makes money and more people travel more often. That economic incentive has lead to billions of additional dollars spent in marketing, advertising and product development. In a time when our industry desperately needs to recruit new people, adding additional private sales channels is a must.
While we’ve only been in the industry for a couple years, it has become our belief that our agency and NGO friends face nearly impossible odds in changing the tide in our industry. The agencies and NGOs we’ve gotten to know are running dozens of different lines of business, from marketing agency and publisher to range operator and event planner. Because of this construct and the built-in inefficiency, resources become strapped, and effectiveness and innovation are swapped for status quo in the interest of just plain getting the work done each day.
We believe a simplification of the agency and NGO business model through the adoption of this “information wholesaler” mindset can have a drastic impact on the output of these organizations and the effectiveness of their role in the broader industry. Plus, if private companies can participate, who knows who will jump in and help us get people out hunting, fishing and shooting?
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