q Company History
q Daytripping Celebrates 20 Years
q “The Road to Our Success”
q 1989 - 2009
q Carolyn Williams founded the company in February 1989. Prior to that time, she had worked as Development Director at Saint Eugene Church. One of her many jobs there included a Travel Program. She loved it. The only thing she didn’t like was having to get a committee approval for every idea. So, she decided to go it on her own. Her focus at that time was to provide quality “Day Trips”, thus the name “Daytripping”.
q She quickly realized that advertising was not the way to go - but how else can you get the word out. Then, a stroke of genius – why not hold a monthly luncheon – where your friends tell their friends. The idea worked (it still works today) and soon her home was filled with prospective new customers, and new friends.
q Carolyn would hire vans, mini buses and motor coaches, depending on the size of the group. In September 1991, she needed a coach, but all her regular suppliers were booked. Someone suggested giving John Pettersen a call. As fate would have it, he was available for this overnight trip to the gold country. We got off to a somewhat shaky start, recalls John. We were in Grass Valley at the empire mine, and our lodging was in Plymouth – a short drive on highway 49. Carolyn requested that we drive back to Sacramento and then on to the hotel, giving some excuse about a customer being prone to motion sickness. As it turned out, Carolyn did not what some “inexperienced kid” to be driving them on that windy, twisting road. He looked like a child explains Carolyn.
q What she didn’t know, John had been driving coaches as soon as his feet could reach the pedals. His parents owned a bus company in Napa and as a youngster; he had to move the buses around the lot for service.
q Thus a business partnership evolved based on the bond between Carolyn and John. I knew we were going to be partners when on one day, recalls Carolyn, we were driving down the road and I was thinking, we need to serve a snack. All of a sudden John stops the coach, and says let me get those cookies out from under the bus. It was like we could read each other’s minds.
q Soon after, Carolyn approached John about forming a partnership. She wanted me to work excessively for Daytripping, and I told her she was nuts, says John. To support a coach you need to have 20 days or more a month in business. At that time, Daytripping was doing about a half dozen trips each month. Carolyn expanded the Calendar until finally, in November of 1992, Daytripping opened its new office at Los Robles Lodge. We were on a shoestring budget – couldn’t afford both an office and a place for John to live – so John lived in the office. I had an airbed that we stored in the shower. All went well until one morning at 7 o’clock a customer arrived to make a reservation. John was not quite ready, but she insisted on pursuing her business, which John graciously carried out, dressed in his bathrobe.
q Obviously, this set-up was not going to last long. We moved into one of Carolyn’s rentals while searching for the perfect location. Finally, in 1995 we discovered what we thought was our new dream home. On the next mystery trip, we eagerly shared our “find” with the Daytrippers. Instead of cheers, we heard gasps and shouts of shock and dismay – “Don’t do it” was heard throughout the bus. Carolyn was undaunted. She and Buz purchased the property, and after extensive renovation (boy, the stories we could tell), opened on her birthday the following March.
q Throughout the years, we have had more success than we could have dreamed, and a few failures. The one thing that has remained constant was Carolyn’s concept – Daytripping would not to be a Tour Company, but rather a Travel Club. Where people are not just customers, but family and friends. We have formed lasting and cherished relationships, touching many people’s lives in ways we could never have foreseen.
q It’s because of customer loyalty, that Daytripping is here today celebrating our 20th anniversary. When we needed a new coach it was the “Daytrippers” who donated over $100,000.00 so the company could purchase more than just a bus. People gave money, time and energy. The garage sales (thanks Marie) raised over $14,000.00 alone. Customers, friends and family – behind us supporting us every mile we have traveled.
q Carolyn was asked – to what do you attribute your success. After much consideration she summed it up.” Provide the best service, to the best destination; Have a great staff; rely on word of mouth advertising and never give up”.
q The rode we have traveled has been hard, filled with many challenges. But it also has been very rewarding – one which has made a difference. Thanks for the memories.