WHO: Maria Elena Price and Monica Malpezzi Price, co-owners of ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours, and sisters to boot.
WHERE: ExperiencePlus! operates bicycle tours in Europe, Chile, and Argentina. The company has two headquarters, one in Fort Collins, Colorado, and another in Forli, Italy. Elena Price and Malpezzi Price each manage one office.
PRODUCTS: ExperiencePlus! provides fully guided 7- to 15-day bicycle tours and larger, cross-continental tours that last as long as 45 days. The trips are meant to immerse people in a new destination so that they can have authentic experiences abroad. Elena Price and Malpezzi Price’s parents founded Italian Specialty Tours Inc. in 1972, and were the first to offer guided bicycle tours in Italy.
JOB IN A NUT-SHELL: Malpezzi Price manages the European office, which is the company’s operational headquarters. The site houses more than 350 bicycles and serves as the launch for most of the European trips. Elena Price works out of the office in Colorado and manages sales, marketing, and customer service and reservations.
BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY: While making money is a necessary goal, it is not the sisters’ primary motivation. They are in the business of creating vacations. “If it’s not fun, then why are we doing it?” Elena Price says. “This is something we, our staff, and our tour leaders all believe strongly.”
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE: As a small company working on a global scale, ExperiencePlus! has to do what big companies do, but without the same resources. “There are great benefits to being international—the biggest is that we see so many things, people, and places that we often discover many new ways of doing things,” Malpezzi Price says. “Our headquarters in Europe makes us a ‘local’ company and allows us to create great relationships with our guides and providers.”
WORDS OF WISDOM: “Be pessimistic and conservative financially, but optimistic and daring in everything else,” Elena Price says. “When going into new places, observe first and act later. Get to know the locals, customs, and market before stepping in and possibly making some big faux pas!” —by Zach Baliva