A Year into the Pandemic, Survey Demonstrates the Impact of COVID-19 on the Outdoor Guiding Industry

April 30, 2021

New York, NY (April 30, 2021) — 57Hours, the company that connects individuals with certified guides for outdoor adventures, recently compiled the results of a survey of independent mountain guides to explore the lasting effects of COVID-19 on their businesses. In the early stages of the pandemic, 57Hours surveyed their international network of climbing, skiing, and mountain biking guides to demonstrate the many ways that COVID was impacting the guiding industry. Now, over a year later, 57Hours is releasing the results to a follow up survey, conducted to help understand shifting trends in guided trip bookings and adjust their marketing strategies accordingly—with the larger goal of ensuring their guides make it through these unprecedented times.

In May 2020, when the first survey was conducted, 92% of guides had already been out of work for several months. In April 2021, the majority of guides surveyed indicated they lost over half of their guiding income in the past year to COVID. Even as travel picks back up, 50% of respondents indicated their upcoming 2021 bookings are still down compared to a normal year, and guides are still suffering financially from trip cancellations due to COVID.

One silver lining from the past year was the shift towards localized adventure travel, with an increase in people seeking out close-to-home adventures and in turn helping their local economies. Over 80% of guides had their client base shift to either locals or people visiting domestically, compared to only 27% of guides who are booked by local clients in a normal year—a trend indicating that COVID-related travel restrictions sparked a new desire among adventurers to explore and adventure in their own backyards. 57Hours guide Greg Hill says, “it’s easy to glorify far away travels and, pre-pandemic, relatively easy to plan and execute them. We often ignore the adventures close at hand because it may not seem as romantic as travelling across the world to an exotic location. In truth, our backyards are just as worthy of our attention.”

Safety remains a top priority among guides. 97% indicated they are taking precautionary COVID safety measures with their clients when guiding. The top safety precautions implemented by guides include driving separately to the trailhead, clients and guides both required to wear masks, only taking out 1-2 individuals at a time, and only taking groups from the same household.

A link to the full study can be found at here.


57Hours is a platform that connects individuals with certified guides for outdoor adventures all over the world. The company was founded in 2019, based on the belief that every weekend should involve time spent in the outdoors and enjoying it to the fullest–which means taking advantage of the full 57 hours from 3pm on Friday to midnight on Sunday. Their mobile app makes it easy to find and book adventures worth tackling and guides worth booking, all gathered from locals and first-hand experiences. The platform also enables a passionate community of independent mountain guides to share their amazing itineraries, fill up their trips quickly, build up their client base faster and make guiding a successful and sustainable career. 57hours aspires to benefit everyone involved–guides, clients, local communities, and our environment–and promote safe, accessible outdoor recreation for all. 


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