Bend business guides outdoor industry

By Rachael Rees • The Bulletin

What: The Flybook LLC

What it does: Web-based software for the outdoor industry

Pictured: Craig Langer, CEO of The Flybook

Where: 328 N.W. Bond St.

Employees: Seven

Phone: 855-909-2665

Website: www.theflybook.com

After watching his friends with outfitting businesses struggle to make reservations on paper calendars, gum wrappers and the sides of coffee cups, Craig Langer decided there had to be a better way and created The Flybook LLC.

“I took a look at the relationship between outfitter, guide and customer and created a process to automate that relationship,” said Langer, CEO of The Flybook.

Langer originally started The Flybook, a Web-based reservation and business management software company designed specifically for the outdoor industry, in Portland in 2005.

The initial intent was to build a website, but over the years, he said, it transformed into a software application located in the cloud that provides itineraries, payment collection, email confirmations and receipts, as well as online booking capability and a real-time calendar.

“Outdoor businesses have a very complex and logistical business model,” he said. “They spend so much time trying to manage these reservations (and) coordinate their operations that they don’t have any time to grow their business.”

He moved the company to Bend in 2011 because, he said, it is an outdoor recreation mecca with resources to help tech startup companies like The Flybook.

And in October, he utilized one of those resources, competing in the Bend Venture Conference. While the company didn’t take home the grand prize, Langer was awarded a side deal from interested investors for at least $70,000.

The company has grown, doubling its revenue over last year. Langer said he needs the investment to hire more employees. The Flybook currently employees seven and has plans to add two by the end of the year. He also hopes to move into a bigger office in January.

Eighteen months ago, fly-fishing related businesses represented about 90 percent of his customers. Today, Langer said, The Flybook’s customers include heli-skiing operations in Alaska and rafting outfitters in Virginia, and it has recently expanded into Belize and Mexico with plans for continued international growth.

—Reporter: 541-617-7818,

rrees@bendbulletin.com

Q: Where do you hope The Flybook LLC will be in the next five years?

A: The goal for the company is growth-based, right now. ... In the next five years we want to be the technology provider for the outdoor industry.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge with your company?

A: One of the biggest challenges is tackling our total available market — everything from destination lodges, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds all the way to mountain bike tours, rafting trips (and) climbing. That total market is huge. The biggest challenge is growth, growing as fast as we possibly can.

Joe Kline / The Bulletin Craig Langer is CEO of The Flybook, a Bend company that develops software for the outdoor industry.