David Naczycz discussing WeVenture Tours' community-focused travel initiatives.

Entrepreneurial Strategies for Impactful Tourism From David Naczycz of WeVenture

Episode Overview

Episode Topic:
In this captivating episode of TravelPreneur, we engage David Naczycz, Owner of WeVenture, in the world of sustainable and inclusive travel. WeVenture is a pioneering company that’s reshaping the landscape of travel through immersive experiences. WeVenture Tours stands at the forefront of purposeful tourism, offering travelers not just a journey but a deep dive into the culture, community, and sustainability of their destinations. This episode explores how WeVenture Tours crafts meaningful tours that contribute positively to the growth of guests, team members, partners, and communities alike, setting a new standard for what travel can and should be.

Lessons You’ll Learn:
Listeners will embark on a learning journey, uncovering the intricate balance between providing enriching, educational travel experiences and making a tangible positive impact on local communities. Through David Naczycz’s insights, you’ll learn about the importance of small-group and immersive experiences in enhancing guest satisfaction while fostering genuine connections. This episode also sheds light on the challenges and triumphs of advocating for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within the travel industry, offering valuable lessons on creating welcoming spaces for all travelers and contributing to the economic empowerment of communities.

About Our Guest:
David Naczycz, the visionary behind WeVenture, brings his extensive experience in organizational and urban development to the forefront of the travel industry. His passion for sustainable practices and economic empowerment drives the mission of WeVenture, making it a beacon for responsible tourism. David’s founding principles of WeVenture and his commitment to changing the game in tours and experiences along with his dedication to crafting tours that are not only memorable but also meaningful and beneficial to all stakeholders.

Topics Covered:
Including crafting meaningful and sustainable travel experiences, this episode covers a wide range of topics. The significance of inclusivity and DEI in travel, and navigating the future of the travel business with sustainable practices. Get knowledge on how WeVenture Tours ensures each experience contributes to the betterment of everyone involved, from guests to local communities. Also explore how WeVenture Tours is leading the charge in making travel more inclusive, advocating for DEI, and addressing the challenges and opportunities this presents in the industry. Additionally, the discussion covers the role of sustainable and conscious travel in the future, and how businesses like WeVenture are adapting to meet these evolving needs while balancing memorable experiences with environmental and cultural sustainability.

Our Guest: David Naczycz- Leading with Purpose by WeVenture Tours.

David Naczycz, the innovative force behind WeVenture, is not just an entrepreneur but a visionary dedicated to transforming the travel industry through sustainable and responsible tourism. With a rich background in organizational and urban development, David’s career trajectory has always been aligned with making impactful changes in communities and industries. His journey into the travel sector was motivated by a desire to create travel experiences that not only enlighten and entertain but also contribute positively to the communities they touch. David’s leadership at WeVenture embodies a commitment to sustainability, economic empowerment, and the betterment of both guests and host communities. His approach to travel is deeply rooted in the belief that travel should be a force for good, fostering understanding, appreciation, and conservation of cultures and environments.

Under David’s stewardship, WeVenture has grown into a beacon of innovative tourism, focusing on small-group, immersive experiences that promote cultural sustainability and community engagement. David’s philosophy extends beyond the traditional tourist paths, seeking to offer experiences that are authentic, meaningful, and mutually beneficial to both travelers and local populations. His strategies for achieving these goals include prioritizing partnerships with locally owned businesses and contributing to local economies in a manner that encourages sustainable growth and development. David’s work with WeVenture Tours is a testament to his belief in the power of tourism as a catalyst for positive change, demonstrating how thoughtful, well-designed travel experiences can support conservation efforts, cultural preservation, and economic empowerment in destination communities.

David Naczycz’s contributions to the travel industry go beyond the operational aspects of WeVenture Tours. He is a thought leader, advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the travel space, and actively working to ensure that WeVenture creates welcoming and just environments for all participants. His efforts to address and navigate the complexities of DEI in tourism have positioned WeVenture as a model for how travel companies can contribute to a more inclusive and equitable world. David’s commitment to these principles is not just about adhering to trends; it is about setting new standards and leading by building a legacy of inclusivity, respect, and mutual benefit for all involved.

Episode Transcript

David Naczycz: We have tours in Washington, D.C., and we get Republicans and Democrats on those tours, and sometimes they’re on tour together, so that can lead to some interesting conversations. We do train our guides on how to deal with those conversations and, and how best to direct them and address them. So that obviously, our goal is that everyone on the tour is having fun, and we try to do it that way.

Megha McSwain: Welcome to TravelPreneur, the weekly business show for the travel industry. I’m your host, Houston-based travel journalist Megha McSwain. Each episode will be exploring what it takes to thrive as a business owner in the travel industry. From conversations with leading travel business executives and industry-focused venture capitalists to exploring the innovations that are shaping the next generation of travel business, if it impacts the travel industry, we cover it here on TravelPreneur. Hello travelers Megha McSwain here. Back with another episode of TravelPreneur. Today I’m joined with David Naczycz, the owner of WeVenture. David is a seasoned leader in organizational and urban development, and his passion lies in making the world better through sustainable practices and economic empowerment. Welcome to the show, David.

David Naczycz: Thank you Megha, a pleasure to be here.

Megha McSwain: How does WeVenture ensure each experience contributes to the growth and betterment of guests, members, partners, and communities?

David Naczycz: So we do a number of things that I think contribute to that. It’s central to who we are and what we’re trying to do as a company. We don’t want to just provide experiences and not think about the impact we’re leaving with our guests, our team, of course, our valued team members and then the communities we’re visiting. One of the things we do is we keep our groups small, so we do small group tours. There are 15 people or less, and that does a number of things. It makes sure that we’re not imposing on the community. So as opposed to groups that are like your tour bus-sized groups like 50, some people or even groups of 30, which really tend to like block streets and sidewalks and overwhelm businesses and locals. So we don’t want to do that. We want to keep our footprint as, as small as possible. So that’s one thing we do. Another thing we do is we focus on locally owned businesses. We want our efforts to support the community, and one of the ways we do that is by featuring locally owned businesses on our experiences and encouraging our guests to spend their dollars, their money in locally owned businesses, that we know that money is going to stay in the community and support it. We do engage with the community when we’re creating tours and when we’re giving the tours themselves, so we believe that our guides are not the only storytellers as much as possible, we want our guests to interact with the community itself.

David Naczycz: We want the community to be involved and telling them its own story, both in the creation of our tours and experiences, and also in the execution on our guests are going to recognize that and see that. And then lastly, what we’ve been doing for a while, but we’re trying to do more of it, is identify community partners in each of our destinations that we can work with and help support. Often, we’re donating a portion of the revenue from a particular tour or experience to a local program. So some examples of that include the Pike Place Market Foundation in Seattle. From our Pike Place Market tour, we have a series of sustainability tours in Philadelphia that we’ve partnered with an organization called the Green Program, which does sustainability education and exchanges. And then in New Orleans, we have a new tour there. It’s called the Rebirth Tour, focusing on how the city has changed since Katrina and what’s going on, and how there is a rebirth happening in New Orleans. Again, a portion of revenues from that tour go to the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.

Megha McSwain: And how do you find these programs, or how do you decide which ones you would like to partner with? Do they come to you, or do you seek them out in the community that you offer the tour-in?

David Naczycz: It’s a little of both. We seek them out and research them ourselves. Sometimes it’s a relationship we already have for one reason or another, like the green program in Philadelphia was someone we already knew and just made sense with the creation of our sustainability tours there to partner with them. Pike Place Market Foundation was something that was brought to us by another party. So that was something that came fell into our laps. But we take it as it comes. Also out there researching and doing our own selecting of something that would go with the program. And then that’s key. We want the community program to match with the story we’re telling.

Megha McSwain: And I feel like with small group immersive experiences, you get more attention with a smaller number. That’s the obvious perk of it. But how else do these small groups enhance guest experiences?

David Naczycz: I think one of the main ways is, as opposed to a bus tour or something like that, you actually have the opportunity to interact with and form a relationship with your tour guide because you’re in that small group. So instead of being with 50 people, you’re with eight. It becomes a more customized experience to like. So not every tour is the same. We try to tailor our experiences to what the group wants to see, which we can do because we have small groups, so we have fewer voices asking for things. It’s easier to provide exactly what people are looking for when you’re doing a small group. Another thing that the small group provides is it allows us to go into some of these locally owned businesses, which tend to be small. So you wouldn’t be able to get in there with a big group. It allows us access that larger groups wouldn’t have.

Megha McSwain: This episode is brought to you by Travel Payments. Com travel businesses have unique needs when it comes to credit card processing, from large, average ticket sizes and tolerance for higher chargeback ratios to simple integrations with the most popular shopping cart systems. The travel industry specialists at travelpayments.com have you covered. Unfortunately, many of the most popular credit card processors initially accept travel businesses, but without warning, freeze their merchant accounts and the thousands of dollars in them. Because these service providers don’t understand or support the unique needs of a travel industry business. Don’t get stuck with one of the big guys who will freeze you out without a moment’s notice. Instead, work with a travel industry specialist who will support your business every step of the way. Visit Travel payments.com to get a free quote today. What challenges, if any, and opportunities do you see in advocating for DEI in the travel industry?

David Naczycz: There are challenges, particularly in the political atmosphere we’re in right now. So it’s become a political issue, which makes it a little bit of a hot-button topic to address. You run into things, we run, and we have guests, who don’t feel the same way we do about diversity. And I think one of the more common issues we have is guests. One set of guests will make comments that are not sensitive or inclusive, and the guide has to intervene or balance that with other guests who might feel excluded by those comments or offended by their comments. And that’s definitely always a challenge of tour guiding. So the opportunities for me are numerous. It opens up whole new groups and markets to us as a company that we can reach out to and partner with and serve as customers. It makes our stories and experiences richer. So I just think it makes for better experiences and storytelling. It definitely has made our company a place where people want to come and work and they want to stay, so it’s helping us attract and retain talent too as well.

Megha McSwain: And for your tour guides, they are trained or prepared how to handle those kinds of situations, because those differences between travelers in a small group could happen with a lot of different issues.

David Naczycz: The one that is most prominent. We have tours in Washington, DC, and we get Republicans and Democrats on those tours, and sometimes they’re on tour together, so that can lead to some interesting conversations. So we do train our guides on how to deal with those conversations and, and how best to direct them and address them. So that obviously, our goal is that everyone on the tour is having fun, and we try to do it that way.

Megha McSwain: What role do you see sustainable and conscious travel playing in the future, and how can businesses adapt to that?

David Naczycz: And there’s climate which is having a huge impact on the travel industry, both from a regulatory standpoint and from a consumer demand standpoint. I think you can either choose to get on that train or get run over by it. There are similar forces going on around diversity and other aspects of sustainability, and travel has been doing a lot of work, but travel has a lot of work to do because of the nature of it. It tends to be an industry that it’s been created by and dominated by European and North American interests. And to use a another hot-button word, it has some colonial tendencies, to be frank. So I think there’s a lot that travel has to look at itself and say, how do we do this differently? How do we make ourselves more sustainable? How do we make ourselves more inclusive so that we’re actually serving a changing world and making sure we have a future?

Megha McSwain: Well, in your opinion, how can TravelPreneurs balance memorable experiences with environmental and cultural sustainability?

David Naczycz: I think these things make for better experiences. I was a part of Impact Travel Alliance, which unfortunately no longer exists, but one of the conversations we would have often was that sustainable travel is just better travel. It’s a better experience, it’s a more high-quality experience. It’s a healthier experience. So all these things to me, pursuing these is just good business. It’s a good it’s a good idea for your experience. So it’s looking at how you’re telling your stories, who’s telling your stories, how have you engaged with the community in which you’re operating. And I think if you do those things, you’ll find that you have better experiences. You’ll find that you have supportive partners. You’ll find that the people working for you value working for you and stick around. So all those things will happen and it’s all good.

Megha McSwain: How can the travel industry contribute to the economic empowerment and growth of local communities, especially after the pandemic?

David Naczycz: I think the travel industry needs to look at where the money’s going and ask yourself, are you contributing to your community? Are you adding value to a community, or are you extracting value from a community? Money flow is a big part of that. Making sure money stays in the community, support local businesses, philanthropic contributions that stay in the community, not just sucking money out of the community, but actually keeping the money where the experiences are happening. Which again, is good business because if you don’t do that and you just keep extracting, you’re like a parasite and eventually you’re going to kill your host, the destination will die, and it won’t be what it was that attracted people there in the first place. So it’s just good, long-time sustainability things that it should be doing. So money’s one thing I think DEI is an important thing that the industry needs to be involved in. I’m part of an organization called Travel Unity, which is also focused on doing that. WeVenture, we’re supporters and members of Travel Unity because we value the work they’re doing to help the industry become more inclusive and welcoming. Again, just good business because more people traveling and more people that feel like they belong, the better off we’re all going to be as an industry. So.

Megha McSwain: Well, I agree with all of this, David, and I commend you for the work that you are doing with WeVenture, let our listeners know where they can learn more about WeVenture and where they can connect with you.

David Naczycz: Sure, online is the best way to connect with us. we-venture.com is our website. You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Definitely, connect with us. Look for our tours. We’re in nine cities right now, currently around the US, active tours going on, so if you’re traveling, we’re probably there.

Megha McSwain: Excellent. Well, thank you so much for joining us, David. We would love to touch base with you again in the future and see how this landscape is continuing to evolve.

David Naczycz: Well thanks Megha. It was a pleasure being here and I look forward to talking again.

Megha McSwain: Thank you. You’ve been listening to TravelPreneur by travelpayments.com make sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast listening platform so you never miss a new episode, and we’ll see you again soon on TravelPreneur.