How do you keep your customers coming back? This is the ultimate question every business owner should be asking themselves. River Riders Family Adventure Resort owner, Matthew Knott, a guest on the Positively West Virginia Podcast, talks about focusing on improving the guest experience all around.

Focus on improving the guest experience.

“On a daily basis, our goal is for the guest to have a remarkable experience,” Knott said.

Whether this is through going the extra mile and finding something for the customer or asking them how their family is, make sure that you are not only going through the motions of being a business owner, but that you are actually engaging with the customer.

“We work hard every day to make sure that each person that visits us is recognized individually and that they have a great trip,” Knott explained.

Knott is also expanding his business to include a tavern and inn to make his business all-inclusive for River Riders’ guests.

Thank your customers because they are helping you make a difference.

Without your customers, your business would not succeed. Don’t forget to thank them, especially for their support.

Thanking them could be in the form of offering specials such as 10 percent off of a product or dinner (depending on your industry).

“We have a unique state,” Knott said. “If our business was in any other state, it would just be a business.”

“Being in West Virginia, I have gotten a lot of support from the government,” Knott explained. “There is a benefit to having a business in a smaller sized state.”

Knott, who purchased River Riders in 1998, applied for a secondary $2.95 million loan from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) resource partner, the West Virginia Small Business Development Center in 2015 so that he could acquire the property adjacent to his business.

Purchasing the adjacent property, which happened to be a hotel, allowed Knott to offer full-service amenities to his guests, as well as keep all of the adjacent hotel employees employed.

In 2017, Knott was awarded the West Virginia Small Business Owner of the Year from the SBA.

The SBA is a United States government agency that provides support to entrepreneurs and small businesses. There are two offices in West Virginia. The West Virginia district office is located in Clarksburg. The other branch is in Charleston.

Learn more about the SBA and its services here.

Knott was a guest on the Positively West Virginia Podcast, and talked about improving the guest experience. Listen to his full podcast here.

PWV Quick Bits | Guest Experience 



  • Knott’s Piece of Advice: “On a daily basis, our goal is to for the guest to have a remarkable experience. We work hard every day to make sure that each person that visits us is recognized.”
  • Knott’s Recommended Resource: Utilize the professionals around you.