Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Travel Director Suggestions

5 Tips from This Week's Featured Travel Director

Rennette Grace - Duluth, MN
Rennette's Top 5 Travel Tips:

Meeting Planners and attendees have business on their minds when they first meet you. Smile warmly to let them know you are happy to help them and put their minds at ease. Your ability to meet their needs and your advance preparation is a given; now just convey that with confidence and a smile. Smiles also help brighten the day for your co-workers and suppliers when you are in the middle of those long, long, long hours of a busy day.

2. PLAN your personal meals ahead of time.
Nothing can be more distracting while working than having your stomach rumbling with hunger and losing your concentration due to lack of nutrition. If you know you won't be getting enough time for lunch or dinner while onsite, pack nutrition bars, fruit, and a beverage in a tote bag so you will have something nutritious to eat when you get a 15 minute break.

3. BUY a laptop lock.
Too much valuable information is on your laptop to risk it "walking away" while you are out of the room. We know these things happen sometimes - just don't let it happen to you. Buy a lock and use it faithfully.
4. ALWAYS have paper and pen handy.

Even if you are just heading down the hallway to the restroom you may be stopped by the client, or an attendee, with a request or question that needs research. I keep small post-its and a pen in my pant's pocket so I'm prepared to take a note right then and there with a promise to get back to them as soon as possible. Having it written down, reminds me of the request and who needs the answer or action required.

5. REMEMBER why we are there.
As travel directors we are hired to assist the client in producing a smooth running program. While it may be pleasant for us to discover a new hotel, city or co-workers, these aspects of the job are something we take time to enjoy only if, and when, all of the daily work is done on time. Our number one priority for each day is to focus on the tasks that bring us closer to offering a successful "behind the scenes" operation that contributes to the success of the client's meeting or event.

Want to share your travel tips and be a Featured Travel Director or Tour Guide Member? Contact INTD for details at

Source: International Network of Travel Directors:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Green Jobs in Tourism

I want to encourage those interested in having an effect on the world in tourism to consider a career as a Professional Tour Director and or Guide. We have encouraged countries, local destinations and our tour members in understanding, sharing and saved areas from destruction thanks to tourism. As a professional Tour Director I travel with the tour groups and have a big influence on my group’s experiences domestically and internationally.

There are so many examples and so many new possibilities. Think of the wildlife parks in Africa saved for tourism and now more profits enriching the local communities, tourism support of our National Parks, the Antarctic, Artic, Borneo and struggling destinations around the world. Tourists are interested in education and not just getting on and off the coach at popular tourist attractions.

I recorded a free video series on careers available at: I also train tour directors, tour guides and travel staff online through 1700 colleges and through my ebook the ‘Tour Director Training Guide’. Since I work through public education my training is all very reasonable. Link:

I love working in tourism and hope this helps.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Job Posting

Ann Lombardi from "" passed on the below job posting. Thank you Ann.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

American Chronicle Article

Professional Tour Management Training mentioned in article:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Free Online Videos on Careers in Tourism

I recorded a free series of videos for and on careers in tourism. Topic include local, domestic and international careers for tour directors, travel staff (incentive industry) and cruise line positions.

The series will also introduce you segments of our industry most in the US know very little about, as careers with tour operators, incentive houses, destination management companies, student tours, adventure tours, faith based tours, receptive services, pier staff and more. Even if you’re not interested in leading tours there are positions in accounting, marketing, sales, operations, IT , administrative assistants, reservations and etc.

I love working in tourism and hope the series helps.



Monday, October 19, 2009

Charge of the Bus Brigade

Here's one of the most realistic articles on our career I've read. Thank you to Ann from "" for passing it on. Ann met Rita while they were both on tour last year.
I hope you enjoy it.

Charge of the Bus Brigade

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Good News for Tourism

The US Federal Government is one of the only tourist friendly countries that does not promote tourism. Many of the states, local governments and CVB’s (Convention and Visitors Bureau) have active promotions, but again not the Federal government.

We’ve been watching and supporting this bill for a long time. It looks it’s getting closer to passing which is good news for tourism and the millions of careers it supports. (Just in California tourism is an $86 billion dollar industry employing over a million people.)

Bipartisan Travel Promotion Gains Momentum as More than Half the Senate Supports Bill

Travel Promotion Will Create 40,000 U.S. Jobs, Add $4 Billion to U.S. Economy and Reduce Federal Deficit by $425 Million

WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. Travel Association announced today that S. 1023, the "Travel Promotion Act", now has the support of half the U.S. Senate. The bill will create thousands of new jobs and spur economic growth by attracting millions of additional international travelers to the United States.

Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, are the 50th and 51st U.S. Senators to support the legislation. Since 9/11, potential visitors have found ever-changing security policies and negative foreign press coverage to be a deterrent to visiting America.

"We are grateful to Senator Bennett, Senator Specter and the rest of the cosponsors for their bipartisan commitment to create thousands of new jobs and add billions to the U.S. economy by supporting the Travel Promotion Act," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "We encourage the Senate to capitalize on the bill's momentum and vote to pass it as soon as possible."

The "Travel Promotion Act," introduced by Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and John Ensign (R-NV) and co-sponsored by an additional 49 Senators from both sides of the aisle, creates a public-private partnership to promote the United States as a premier international travel destination and communicate U.S. security and entry policies. The bill specifies that travel promotion would be paid for - at no cost to U.S. taxpayers - by private sector contributions and a modest fee on foreign travelers who do not pay $131 for a visa to enter the United States. Nearly every developed nation in the world spends millions of dollars to attract visitors.

Overseas visitors spend an average of $4,500 per person, per trip in the United States. Oxford Economics estimates that a well-executed promotion program would attract 1.6 million new international visitors and would generate $4 billion in new economic stimulus and $321 million in new federal tax revenue each year. The U.S. Travel Association estimates that this program would create nearly 40,000 new American jobs in the first year. Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office reports estimates that the "Travel Promotion Act" will reduce the federal budget deficit by $425 million over ten years. A House companion bill, H.R. 2935, is co-sponsored by 41 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Thank you Elizabeth Moran for the update.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Port Lectures

I received the below from one of our major cruise line. They are expanding their Port Lecture series. They are looking for experienced speakers that can share information onboard their ships. Right now they are looking for those with Asia knowledge or the ability to research and share the information. They also will need Port Lectures for South American, North America (East Coast and Alaska), Europe, South Pacific (including Australia and New Zealand) and possibly Mexico.

Hi Cherie,
It was great speaking with you. You sound like you have a good group of people and I appreciate your offer to refer some of your more promising graduates to me. Below is a brief paragraph explaining what qualities I look for in a successful Port Lecturer and attached is the actual job definition. Thanks again for your help.

"We look for speakers who possess extensive public speaking experience, a strong stage presence and an engaging style. Presentations should be delivered in an enthusiastic and confident style, and not in a monotone voice. Scripted words should be spoken by memory -- verbatim readings of prepared texts should be avoided at all costs. We are looking for lecturers who are familiar and well-versed with their topics so that information can be shared with the audience in a conversational manner that always sounds fresh. Maintaining good eye contact is key to connecting well with one's audience.

Typical port lectures are 45 minutes long and need to include a visual slide show (in PowerPoint). All our venues come equipped with full projection screen capabilities, sound systems and lighting, and are assisted by a production technician to handle the technology. We recommend port lecturers bring their own laptops to connect with existing equipment in our venues onboard. Lectures are scheduled by the Cruise Director or their staff."

Your responsibilities as Port Enhancement Lecturer include:

A. One 45-minute lecture for each port and/or related topics. These may be videotaped and replayed on the ship's television circuit. If you haven't already done so, please send to my attention in writing for our approval a list of your planned lectures. Once we agree on your program of lectures, we'll notify the ship of your presentations. Your lectures should cover the following:

Historical Overview - A synopsis of the port's history that passengers will be able to relate with their cruise experience. This portion shouldn't take up the entire lecture, but only enough fore passengers to be aware of the historical highlights. They will get additional information from the tour bus guides as well, so information shouldn't be redundant. This is also an opportunity to provide some historical or background information on the venues we cover in our tours.

Culture & Lifestyle - Passengers should be aware of current trends and lifestyles in the ports visited. What should they expect to see and experience once they get off the ship, what to observe, etc.

Practical Information - This could include a range of topics from the weather, shopping (recommended shopping while in town), local customs (customary greetings, do's and don'ts, etc).

Shore Excursions - It is very important that the Port Enhancement Lecturer should incorporate the venues we visit on our tours in his/her talks to promote shore excursions in an indirect by effective way. For example, if they wish to see the Grand Canal, then they can take two of our tours (highlight them). This is particularly helpful in selling tours that require a high minimum to operate. This is also an opportunity to promote our new tours.

B. Port commentaries from the ship's bridge as required. These are descriptive narratives on the port, sights of interest, etc. These commentaries occur while the ship is entering or leaving a port or other areas of interest. Your commentary is transmitted over the ship's public address system on the open decks.

C. Maintain regular desk hours (as directed by the Cruise Director) for passenger questions, often located at the Shore Excursions Desk or in that vicinity. Hours will not exceed 3 per day and may be split between morning desk hours, gangway hours, and early evening (pre-dinner) hours with the Cruise Director's approval.

In exchange for your services, you will be provided with the following:

The cruise, inclusive of a Fleet or Passenger cabin (tba) and all meals.

Regardless of cabin type, Port Lecturer receives full passenger status. If Port Lecturer is staying in a Fleet Cabin, then a separate Passenger Account Charge Card must be issued for Port Lecturer's use on the ship.

A guest privilege; you will be allowed to have one guest with you in your stateroom for the duration of this agreement.

Economy round-trip transportation to and from the major airport nearest your home to the ship.

An allowance of US $X per day, not to include final disembarkation day (payable directly to you on board at the end of each cruise).

Onboard daily gratuities (cabin steward, waiter, assistant waiter) to be charged to your shipboard account and will be covered by the cruise lines at the end of each cruise. Any remaining charges will be your responsibility. Please note that any monetary amounts paid do not include day of disembarkation.

Complimentary Laundry Service.

One complimentary ShoreEx Ticket per port, for lecturer only. 20% discount for lecturer's guest for shore excursions (booked onboard only), subject to availability.

25% alcohol and specialty beverages discount for Port Lecturer and guest in restaurants and lounges.

Internet Access as required and related to the duties and responsibilities of the Port Lecturer, to be accessed through the Shore Excursion Office or Purser's Department, whichever is available.

If you are qualified and interested in the position send your resume to: You will be notified by the cruise line if they can use your services onboard. Contracts are normally from one to four months. If you don't hear from them right away, don't get discouraged the spots are limited. You might also resend your resume when you have updates.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Real Job of a Local Tour Guide

I’ve been leading international tours and training tour directors and guides for years. I love learning about cultures and sharing stories with fellow professionals. Last year I was privileged to get to know a wonderful professional Bulgarian local tour guide. Bobi, the local tour guide, took my online tour managementclass but I’m sure I learned as much from her as she did from me.
As a local guide Bobi has worked with groups from around the world. She has also traveled extensively so she has an amazing understanding and ability to express and share her experiences. Her insight has given my students a wonderful understanding of the what the local guides may be feeling as they work with visitors from around the world.
When one of my students expressed her concern and fear of delivering narration for the first time, Bobi shared her first experience. I think it’s good advice for all new tour directors and guides.
She said, “I can tell you a story about my very first presence in front of a large group from USA. I am a Bulgarian and English is not my mother tongue. On the other hand, at that time (I was 24 just graduated from the university and was very shy.) Bulgaria was a communist country and we did not really see Americans, nor we had any idea about the difference between British English and American English. Believe me there is a great difference. However, I had to talk in front of 42 Americans, who I did not understand at all. I was about to cry and wanted to hide, but I was at work and had a week ahead and a lot to talk about. I am sure everybody has his moments of being shy and feeling uneasy. Then the tour director (he was an American of Polish origin) came to me and said in Polish (yes, I know Polish) - he said - just talk, keep talking. Don't worry that you make mistakes, don't worry about how good or bad you sound. When you are talking people do listen. They will understand you and even will help you. That was all I needed. Just talk and don't think of what you look like and how you sound. You sound great and you look tremendous - I am positive about it. Wish you luck. Go for it.”
As tour directors and guides our jobs are never boring. No matter how prepared we are surprises and challenges still happen. I call it “job security”. If everything always worked perfectly, we may not be needed. Here’s how Bobi handled one of her challenges.
“I am from ex-communist country. Once in the 70s I had a group of Americans. That was very rare at that time. The group had two hours only for lunch before departure. We had the first course served and then the group was totally neglected because, imagine - the daughter of the Prime Minister had her birthday party in the same restaurant. All the staff went to serve her party. A Prime Minister's daughter is extremely important. We waited for more than 30 min. Nobody came to serve us. When I found out the reason and talked with the manager he dared not tell his staff to serve the Americans. Can you imagine how the tour members took that? They were hungry, did not have much time due to the departure time, were hurt, had pre-paid the tour and the food, were treated as a "second" class or even worse - enemies. I went to check out what was going on. With the bad news I came to the group (I was a guide but it was in my country and my city). I told the tour director the real situation and he presented it in such a manner that all the members laughed loud. With a very nice sense of humor he told them the situation. They laugh and laugh and that laughter brought the manager’s attention who came as pale as a white sheet of paper. He was begging for silence being scared for his position and promised the world to the Americans if only they won't laugh so much and so loud. We finally had an extremely fast and perfect service plus a good laugh. I am sure that the tour members remembered that for long time, told it to their friends, and laughed over and over again.” I’m sure she is right. I always admire Bobi’s professionalism and commitment that every one of her groups have a great experience. Her attitude is always positive and she never seems to complain and is always grateful. Here’s an example of why I am so impressed and feel privileged to call her a friend.
“As for me - I am well, as I always am - never tired, never hungry, never sleepy. My last trip ended this week and it too, was a good one. I worked for a Bulgarian small company dealing with agriculture. They had their American partners on visit. Two Americans who never came to our part of the world and 8 Bulgarians were on a week trip round Bulgaria.
The great weather and off season everywhere was so peaceful and nice. Right after that trip a one day conference and a city tour with 2 busses with doctors from Balkan countries. Tomorrow I'll meet two gentlemen from the UK for a short two days and next weekend another two day excursion.
That is all for now, but I am glad I have those.I better close the present or you won’t have chance to take a break. Best of luck,Bobi”
This makes me smile since she’s concerned about my break. I hope you think of Bobi as you travel the world meeting your local tour guides. They are dedicated and work hard to share their countries, cities and attractions with you. It may not always be as easy as they make it look. I now share Bobi’s stories and words of wisdom in my Tour Director Training Guide ( She’s an excellent example of professionalism and what our career is really all about, helping others.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

E-Petition Launches in Support of Meetings

Feb 11, 2009 9:08 AM
Negative publicity has been churning in the media around the meetings and incentives industry because of the perception that events organized by companies receiving emergency relief money from the federal government were inappropriate. In reaction, a new electronic petition has been launched to draw attention to the importance of meetings in the U.S. economy and to give people a way to show their support for the industry.
The electronic petition, Keep America Meeting, is now live at, allowing signers to “help send a message to our legislators nationwide that we need them to take the proactive step of publicly supporting the meetings and events industry in order to hasten the U.S. recovery.”
Keep America Meeting was created by TBA Global, a meeting and event marketing company, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association and with support from the Event Marketing Institute. It is endorsed by a nonpartisan group of associations, publishers, and companies, including the MeetingsNet magazines.
Organizers plan to deliver the petition to the White House, Congress, and the leadership of the Fortune 200 companies, with a clear message of support for meetings. The petition says: “Corporate meetings enhance employee and partner performance, fuel company growth and profitability, support the needs of local communities, and aid the American economy as a whole.”
It continues, “We the undersigned believe meetings build businesses and are an important part of our nation's recovery. Meetings that are well executed and designed to meet specific company goals greatly contribute to company profits.”
Before its official launch, the petition had already gathered almost 1,000 signatures, many with thoughtful commentary about the value of meetings, events, and incentives as a business tool and as a critical element of our economy. The goal is one million signatures.
Best Regards,
Robbie Glowczwski, DMCP Program Manager
ACCESS Destination Services949-454-2111 p949-454-9815 f 949-795-0730 cell
HSMAI Orange County Chapter Board Member
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