Or, we could rephrase that to say, how to have a great time with your clients. I consider myself to be very lucky! I have traveled with many travel agents who became my dear friends, and I hope to continue to do so. These are some of the great gifts of life: travel and friends. What a joy to meet new people with one big common denominator: Travel.
I would never have met these wonderful people if I hadn’t organized those tours. In this case, they were FAM Trips and Tours for Women. The travelers were travel agents and their companions from all over the USA and Canada, from different backgrounds, ages, views of the world, but all sharing a love of travel and traveling together. I have to confess that this is the cherry on top of my cake, the part of my work that I look forward to the most!
Now, to ensure the success of a smooth and wonderful group tour, you need to make sure that you will be the Travel Leader (yes, if you organize a group, you become the Travel Leader).
Let’s go over some basics:
1- Decide who will pair the roommates: you, or will you let the travelers interview each other? If you decide that you will be doing it, ask questions, such as, do you snore? What do you expect from your roommate? Also, ask other questions pertinent to your specific trip.
2- Decide if you will all travel together from one gateway, or meet at the destination.
3- Decide how much “free” time and/or optional tours you will offer to your group.
4- Decide on the number of people you are willing to include on your trip. In my opinion, keep it small for your first groups to make it more manageable.
5- Decide if tips to drivers and tour guides and are included or not, and if not, if you will collect from the group and present to each professional, or let each traveler give individually. (Please advise your travelers ahead of time to avoid surprises!)
6- Set some ground rules before the trip, or as soon as you arrive to avoid future problems (Trust me, problems happen and I could write a book about them!). For example: ask travelers to let you know that if they have a problem “today” to tell you “today,” and not “tomorrow.” It is hard to solve problems from “yesterday.”
7- Medication – People seem to believe that once they are on vacation, it means “I will not take my medication.” This is a big mistake, and can jeopardize a great trip
8- Respect: Personal views on politics, race and religion are like underwear. I don’t want to know the size, color or even if you are wearing them! We all love great conversation, but those topics are out of question!
9- Make sure that you will be the only one communicating to the tour guide and tour organizer, That way, you avoid “many tour leaders” and everyone knows who is who.
10- HAVE FUN, MAKE FRIENDS, AND PLAN ANOTHER TRIP!