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Fair + 1

Long before founding Trufflepig with my best friends in 2004, I got my start in the travel industry as a 20 yr-old bike-tour guide with a braided ponytail, mutton-chop sideburns, leather pants and the inflated confidence of youth. But no real idea what I was doing.

Not surprisingly I screwed up spectacularly in those early days – leading captains of industry down 12-kilometre hills in the wrong direction, killing dinner conversation with off-colour remarks, shearing a fleet of bicycles off the roof of my van by misjudging a “maximum height” sign…

I learned humility the hard way.

But I also learned that my handling of these mishaps presented the greatest opportunity to atone for them. When things went wrong, when I had my back to the wall, I slowly learned to take responsibility and to show the maturity which ultimately, occasionally, would win my clients’ confidence (despite the leather pants).

The guiding principle of “Fair +1” has been with us since the formation of Trufflepig: what is the correct, reasonable, fair way to handle a situation gone wrong? Do more than that. It’s more of a guideline than a rule, but Fair + 1 nonetheless forms an integral part of our training process, and of our everyday language in the Trufflepig HQ. It applies to how we engage with our suppliers, how we interact with clients, and how we approach our own relationships within the company. It gives us a surprisingly accurate compass to navigate through the grey zones of responsibility.

Mottos can be easy to proclaim but harder to live by, and ours was truly put to the test when COVID decimated our business, like so many others, and left us with 130+ trips to unwind or reschedule. With no playbook or user-manual on how to handle such situations, we threw our Terms & Conditions and small print out the window, and turned to our Fair +1 philosophy to guide our actions. Even though in many instances we were delivering what was effectively bad news, the results speak for themselves, as I hope you can see from the client feedback above.

Regardless of what the world looks like when travel starts up again, what Terms & Conditions are required, and how the travel insurance providers choose to play, Fair +1 will always be at the core of how Trufflepig functions. It’s when all the instruments stop working that you need a strong sense of direction.

Our fearless leader Greg has lost the poney tail and the side burns, but retained his sense of fairness and direction (and leather pants – but perhaps you can be Fair + 1 and not judge him too harshly). Email him for a signed photo.

With no playbook or user-manual on how to handle such situations, we threw our Terms & Conditions and small print out the window