Discover France Adventures
Title: Founder and general manager
Est.: 1994 | www.discoverfrance.com
If trekking through the countryside of France is your idea of a dream vacation, then Discover France Adventures is your ticket to a satisfying holiday.
Discover France Adventures, based in Scottsdale, is an adventure travel company that sells self-guided cycling and hiking tours throughout France and Europe. Discover France caters to clients who are seeking a more challenging experience. Not only do self-guided tours allow for more hands-on sightseeing, the price is often half the cost of guided tours.
The company got its start when founder Loren Siekman moved to Paris. Siekman received his bachelor’s degree in construction management from Arizona State University and worked for four years at an engineering/construction company before quitting and moving to the City of Lights. There he met his future wife, Florence.
“Bottom line — boy quits job and travels around the world, lands in Paris. Gets a job, works, and meets girl. Boy and girl decide life is better together and move back to the USA and start a business based on mutual interests,” Siekman says.
The couple purchased a travel agency in Tempe, and in 1994 switched gears to focus only on the adventure travel market. Launching a business in a market that was largely unknown in the United States was a risk, but one that has ultimately paid off for the entrepreneur.
“I am an adventurer and traveler, as well as a competitive cyclist, so my business is all about my passions,” Siekman says.
The company has six employees and two offices in the U.S. and France. Surviving tough times despite factors that are out of his control (terrorism, airline failures, economic downturn, etc.) has strengthened the company.
“After 15 years, we have seen so many businesses in the travel industry come and go … our longevity is starting to speak much louder about our operation,” Siekman says.
Wise business decisions and smart planning have also kept them ahead. The Siekmans sought the help of a family member to co-sign on a Small Business Administration loan to get the business started, but paid the loan off as soon as they could. They then began reinvesting in the company to avoid borrowing more in the future.
“We’ve always tried to have a diversified market base, so we have clients from different regions, different countries and different demographics. We also save our nickels and so far, have been able to draw cash in slow times,” Siekman says.
When asked about the future of Discover France Adventures, Siekman has one word: “grow.” His plans include creating a multilingual Web site that will better reach the European market, expand business in the thriving Australia and New Zealand markets and target the “baby boom demographic with more challenging trips, more multisport trips, and more adventures that are unique experiences,” Siekman says. “There is a great future for active and adventure travel. They want to feel a part of wherever they’re going instead of just passing by.”