Tour director’s – they can make or break an experience


Most travel agencies offering trips to far away destinations employ tour directors whose responsibility it is to facilitate many details in hotels, airports, in buses, with local guides, translators and also know famous local companies specialized in jewellery, or textiles, or bespoke dresses or suits just to name a few of the functions.

Thousands of groups are on the road daily, and there is an acute shortage of experienced and devoted tour directors. Companies hire an train, very superficially I may add, young multi-language speaking young people and turn them loose on unsuspecting travellers.

A tour director has many responsibilities each of which contribute to the success of the tour:

Timely departure and acceptable arrival times
Assignment of hotel rooms prior to arrival
Initiating changes if and when a group member is dissatisfied with the room or any other aspect
Delivery of luggage to the correct room and promptly
Timely collection of luggage and loading
Visiting all the sights as promised according to the itinerary
Adequate and competent local guides and translators
Safe driving habits of bus drivers
Making arrangements for physically challenged group members
Offering side trips if and when appropriate
Attending to sick people in the group
Crossing national borders with minimal disruption
Delivery of relevant information in the bus or aircraft promptly
Rotating seat arrangements for each group member for sightseeing
Cleanliness of the bus
Informing the group of all daily activates, meal times and other relevant information for the next day
Solve problems and disputes between group members if and when they materialize, and they usually do
Deal with complaints fairly and promptly
Decide duration of shopping times, length and frequency of breaks
Attend to group members whose property was stolen
Act as a translator if and when possible
Direct group members to sources for more in-depth information

As you can see from the above, tour directors must meet certain personal characteristics and trained adequately before they are assigned to a tour group

Personal characteristics required are:

Powers of persuasion
Well organized
Quick thinker
Problem solving
Calm and collected
Good communication skills
Interested in history, arts, etc
Well read
Willing to work unregulated hours
Gracious under trying circumstances
Able to mediate
Able to compromise

While all the above characterises are prerequisites, each tour director must be adequately trained, by experienced individuals with regard to company policies, limits of responsibilities, and freedom to make changes if and when required before an assignment.

If you have all the characteristics listed above you may become a successful tour director

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