How To: Write a Great Activity Listing

Want more people on your activity? It starts with creating a great activity listing! Here are some tips and tricks for new and seasoned leaders alike.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
November 22, 2022
How To: Write a Great Activity Listing

As you sit down to plan your next activity with The Mountaineers, we encourage you to consider how your listing may impact registration and last-minute cancellations. Read on to find some helpful tips from the staff at The Mountaineers.

  • Be Inclusive. Imagine you are new to The Mountaineers. What information would be helpful for you to make the decision to join the activity? As a leader, be clear and transparent about all trip logistics. Not only does this help you get what you want out of the trip, it also helps participants opt into the right trip for their skill level and interests. . Posting a trip that fosters psychological safety will also foster physical safety. This could look like sharing why you picked the leader rating you did, when you’ll stop for breaks,  how much water to bring, etc. Incorporating inclusive details in your activity summary encourages members to join a trip and participate with confidence. Examples of inclusive details could look like: 
    • A trip posting that states how the posted mileage may seem daunting but how the leader is eager to support those who are hesitant. 
    • A leader that explains the necessary gear. A lot of the gear is built into the template but to do a double-check and share the reasoning behind their importance. 
    • Be clear about your goals, expectations, and style in the activity listing.
    • For complex trips, consider hosting pre-trip meetings or phone calls to discuss the trip with potential participants.
    • Choose a standard set of questions to screen participants.
    • Explain why you’re asking questions about skill and experience.
    • If you feel a prospective participant isn’t a good fit, consider recommending an alternative activity.

    • Inspire. Read trip reports and review our database of routes and places to find inspiration for your next trip. Maybe you’ve lead the same activity in the same location over the same weekend in July for the past three years - but conditions change, and it's possible that both you and your participants could be in for a surprise! In addition, you may want to think about offering an activity in a location we visit less frequently. A participant might be more willing to commit to a trip to Hidden Lake Lookout, for instance, as opposed to a trip to Mount Washington, which is listed on our website multiple times per month.

    • Inform. Be thorough, upfront, and objective about your plans for the trip, keeping in mind the standard difficulty ratings that The Mountaineers has defined on our Activity Overviews pages. Provide answers to the question: What? Where? When? and Why? Keep the listing descriptive, fun, and easy to read - break up the description into small paragraphs and avoid using Mountaineers-specific jargon.

    • Timing. Many of our activities fill quickly after registration opens. When you decide to open registration can impact who has first access to sign-ups. One best practice is posting an activity at least several days before you open registration - this gives members a few days to plan ahead for when registration opens, rather than prioritizing members who have the flexibility to jump on registration opportunities right when something is posted.

      The specific time when registration opens can also affect who registers. For example, some individuals may find that it is difficult to get online and register when registration opens during traditional work hours of 9am-5pm. In some cases, all open spots may have been filled by the time they are able to register. If possible, consider opening registration in the evening, outside of traditional work day hours. No single registration time will open for everyone, so try to consider choosing different registration times for your trips, to accommodate a wider variety of members. Please note: Member Services is only available to assist members with registration questions during our regular business hours, Mon-Fri 9am-5pm.

      Also think about when you want registration to close. A long window for registration means that members may have the opportunity to do more pre-trip planning, but it can also mean increased roster turnover for our leaders. Similarly, closing registration for an activity a week in advance of the trip might mean that your roster is more finalized - but it can also mean more admin work for the leader, if anyone needs to cancel last-minute.

    • Permissions. Consider requiring Leader’s Permission for trips that necessitate a higher level of commitment, skill, or fitness. This function allows you, as the leader, to do a bit of advanced vetting of those participants who’d like to join your roster. And when possible, leave your activity open to all to help us all achieve our goals of getting more folks into the outdoors. And note, you can always view past Participation Notes for any of our members. For more information on Participation Notes, including how to find them and when and how to write them, check out this blog post.

    • Welcome. Be open and inclusive to all members and guests that meet your trip criteria. Avoid unwelcoming phrases like "no stragglers" and "no dropping off the trip".

    At the end of the day, it's important to remember that our members at The Mountaineers are human. Things will come-up, and mistakes happen. As a leader, know that The Mountaineers does have an official Cancellation Policy, though we do not have any specific “No Show” policy. Activity participants should be marked as a “No Show” if they do not provide any advanced notice of their cancellation. If a participant has been marked as a “No Show” they will promptly receive an automatic email alerting them to the no show status. If a participant has canceled late (after registration closes) from four activities in three months, they will also receive an automatic email alerting them of these cancellations and how those affect both leaders and fellow trip participants.

    Thank you for your hard work and dedication as a leader for The Mountaineers!

    Need to cancel from an upcoming activity?

    Learn more about best practices and good cancellation etiquette. 

    Originally published November 2017.  Updated February 7, 2023.