Saturday, December 24, 2011

Over-the-Road Training Tour

Cherie Anderson and Professional Tour Management Training invite you to discover the American Southwest on the 2012

 Over-the-Road Training Tour

January 25 - 29, 2012
Travel arrangements coordinated by Executive Tours International of Westminster, CA.

San Diego – Temecula Wine Country –
Las Vegas – The Grand Canyon

Train & have fun on one great trip!
Bring a guest!

Departing from Los Angeles (LAX), this 4-night training tour will include some of the most exciting destinations in   Southern California, Nevada and Arizona.

Professional Tour Management Training is happy to offer the 2012 Over-the-Road Training Tour which will provide FastTrack training for Tour Directors, Travel Staff, Tour Guides and Cruise Hosts.  Learn tour and program procedures for local, domestic and international travel careers.  Training will include all tour management skills and procedures including safety and legalities for airports, hotels, motorcoaches, and attractions; briefings; documentation; handling tour challenges and emergencies; research and development of exciting and interesting narration; employers; resumes and how to get started now in an exciting career in travel.  Train while spending four wonderful days in beautiful San Diego, Temecula, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.
$1,375 Per-Person + $395 Training Fee
Departing from Los Angeles based on double occupancy.

The deadline to register is January 13, 2012.

TOUR DEPARTURE:  The tour will depart by motorcoach from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, January 25, 2012, and check-in time for the tour will be 9:30 AM.  Passengers who are flying to Los Angeles must book their flights so that they arrive in Los Angeles with enough time to check-in for the tour at 9:30 AM on January 25, 2012. 

TOUR CONCLUSION:  The tour will conclude on Sunday, January 29, 2012.  Passengers who wish to fly out of Las Vegas McCarran Airport (LAS) may book their flights to depart at any time on January 29.  For those passengers who wish to depart from Los Angeles, the motorcoach will travel from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on January 29, arriving at LAX Airport at approximately 3:00 PM.  Passengers who wish to fly out of Los Angeles (LAX) may book their flights to depart at any time in the late afternoon or evening of January 29.

2012 American Southwest Training Tour Itinerary:


We will depart from LAX Airport this morning and head south to San Diego via the Pacific Coast Highway.  Famous for its picturesque backdrop against the Pacific Ocean, Highway 1 is a must see for anyone new to California.  After arriving in San Diego, the group will tour the highlights of the city, which include Balboa Park, Coronado and the Gas Lamp District.  A Welcome Cocktail Reception will be hosted in the evening.  Overnight will be at the Holiday Inn San Diego On-The-Bay.  (Breakfast is included at the hotels daily.)


We will depart the hotel and travel to the Temecula Wine Country of Southern California, where we will enjoy wine tastings at 2 wineries, Stuart Cellars and South Coast Winery.  We will also have some free time to explore Old Town Temecula. 

Later in the afternoon, we will continue on to Las Vegas and check into the hotel and freshen up before a night on the town.  Lodging in Las Vegas will be at the Luxor Hotel.


We will depart from Las Vegas in the morning and travel to the Grand Canyon, making a stop at the Hoover Dam for a private tour of the dam.  Constructed between 1931 and 1936 and using 3,250,000 cubic yards of concrete, the Hoover Dam was controversially named honoring President Hoover.  Following the private tour of the Hoover Dam we will enter the Grand Canyon National Park stopping at various viewpoints along the way prior to check-in at Yavapai Lodge.


We will be treated to more sightseeing of the Grand Canyon before returning to Las Vegas and the Luxor Hotel.  Once back in Las Vegas, the group will enjoy a hosted Farewell Cocktail Reception.  Following the reception the guests will have ample free time to experience the Las Vegas nightlife.


This morning, the motorcoach will make a stop at Las Vegas McCarran Airport (LAS) to drop off any passengers who have made plans to fly out of Las Vegas.  We will then continue on to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), arriving at approximately 3:00 PM, for those passengers who have made plans to fly out of Los Angeles.


Tour Price:        $1,375 Per-Person *
Training Fee:      $395 Per-Person **
Single Occupancy Supplement: $290

Airfare not included.
 *Based on double occupancy.
** The Training Fee is waived for spouses and guests who accompany student tour managers on the tour in double occupancy.

The deadline to register is January 13, 2012.

To register, please see the separate
Registration Form & Instructions.

Prices Are Per-Person And Include The Following:

  • Ground transportation by private deluxe motorcoach.
  • A full-time professional training guide.
  • Tour escorts Cherie Anderson of Professional Tour Manager Training and Richard Price, President & Owner of Executive Tours International.
  • Four nights accommodations (1 night in San Diego, 2 nights in Las Vegas and 1 night at the Grand Canyon).
  • All breakfasts daily at the hotels. 
  • A hosted Welcome Cocktail Reception and a hosted Farewell Cocktail Reception.
  • Sightseeing tours and admission fees as indicated in the itinerary, including wine tasting at 2 wineries in Temecula.
  • Bottled waters on the motorcoach.
  • Complete FastTrack tour management training throughout the tour (including travel time between destinations) from Professional Tour Manager Training.
  • A Certificate of Completion of the Professional Tour Manager Program (enrollment in the program required).

Prices Do Not Include The Following:

  • Air transportation.
  • Lunches or dinners.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry and phone calls.

For More Information:

  Phone:   For travel-related questions, call Richard Price of Executive Tours International at (714) 897-0074 or (800) 521-0070
           For training-related questions, call Cherie Anderson of Professional Tour Management Training at (949) 830-8603.

E-mail: Send an e-mail to Richard Price at or to Cherie Anderson at

Registration Instructions:

Please complete the separate Registration Form, save the document, and send it by e-mail to Executive Tours International at  When you receive an e-mail confirming your registration on the tour, please send payment using the instructions below.  Please note the fees as follows:

Tour Price:                       $1,375 Per-Person *
Training Fee:                $395 Per-Person **
Single Occupancy Supplement:      $290

*Based on double occupancy.  We do not assign roommates.
** The Training Fee is waived for spouses and guests who accompany student tour managers on the tour in double occupancy.

Payment Instructions:

Once you have received confirmation that you are registered for the tour, you may send payment as follows:


We accept credit cards via PayPal. 

- Simply log onto your PayPal account and click on “Send Money.” 
- Enter our e-mail address 
- Enter the amount to be paid in US Dollars.
- Click on “Services”.
- Click on “Continue.”
- Then, select the Payment Method (i.e., bank account or credit card)
- Click on “Send Money” to complete the transaction.
- You will receive a confirmation of the charge from PayPal via e-mail.

If you do not have a PayPal account, you can easily set up an account at no charge by going to  Then, click on “Sign Up.”


If you prefer to pay by check, you may mail your check (payable to Executive Tours) to the following address:

Executive Tours International, Inc.
5222 Cornell Avenue
Westminster, CA  92683

 Registration Form
2012 American Southwest
Over-The-Road Training Tour
Travel arrangements by Executive Tours International.
Training by Cherie Anderson and Professional Tour Management Training

Please complete the registration form below, save the document and send it by e-mail to Executive Tours International at  When you receive an e-mail confirming your registration on the tour, please send payment by credit card (via PayPal) or check using the instructions contained in your tour confirmation.

# of Passengers
Tour cost per-person
(in double occupancy):
Training fee per-person*:
Single occupancy supplement:


* The Training Fee is required for all student tour managers.  The Training Fee is waived for spouses and guests who accompany student tour mangers on the tour in double occupancy.

Passenger Name:                                              

Additional Passenger Name:                                   

Mailing Address:                                             

City:                             State:             ZIP:         

Primary Phone:               Cell Phone:                      

E-Mail Address (required):                                   

By submitting this form, I acknowledge that I agree to the terms and conditions stated in the Waiver of Liability on the following.

American Southwest Training Tour
Agreement and Waiver of Liability

The Tour Price Includes:  Motorcoach transportation from LAX, hotel accommodations, breakfast daily at hotels, tours, training and services as indicated in the itinerary.  Passengers are responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from LAX (Los Angeles International Airport).  No refund will be made for passengers who fail to arrive at LAX Airport by the day and time of departure. (10:00 AM on January 25, 2012.)

Payment and Cancellation Policy:  Payment in-full is due no later than January 13, 2012.  All payments are 100% non-refundable.

Liability and Responsibility:  Executive Tours International Inc., Professional Tour Management Training and Cheryl Anderson have no responsibility whatsoever in whole or part for any occurrences including but not limited to any delay, loss, accidents, personal injury, sickness, medical expenses, or property damage occasioned by fault or negligence of any person, employee or company entrusted with the performance of such services from whatever cause.  Executive Tours International Inc., Professional Tour Management Training and Cheryl Anderson have no responsibility whatsoever for any expense or inconvenience caused by late arrivals or departures of airplanes, buses, autos or any changes of schedule beyond its control.  Executive Tours International Inc., Professional Tour Management Training and Cheryl Anderson have no responsibility for the loss of, or damage to your luggage, money, jewelry, valuables or any other belongings whatsoever and howsoever caused.  Tour participants are responsible for carrying their own travel, medical and trip cancellation insurance.

Program Changes and Cancellations:  Executive Tours International Inc., Professional Tour Management Training and Cheryl Anderson reserve the right to make changes in the tour itinerary, or to cancel events if enrollment criteria are not met or when conditions beyond their control prevail.  All tours and activities listed in the itinerary are subject to change.  Executive Tours International Inc., Professional Tour Management Training and Cheryl Anderson shall not be liable for default of any of the terms and conditions of this agreement if caused by fire, acts of God, war, government regulation, disaster, strikes or labor disputes, civil disorders or other similar contingencies beyond the reasonable control of the non-performing party to provide services.  If the tour is not held for any reason, the liability of Executive Tours International Inc., Professional Tour Management Training and Cheryl Anderson is limited to the full refund of the tour fee only.

By submitting the tour Registration Form, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the above terms.

Executive Tours International, Inc.
5222 Cornell Avenue
Westminster, California  92683
California Seller of Travel ID #2020858-40
Phone: (714) 897-0074

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Training Tour to National Parks

I'm working on a new training tour to the National Parks (Vegas, Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce) for the end of January. It's one of the most popular US tours and often the first tour for new Td's. It's open to new and experienced Tour Directors as well as their guests. I want everyone ready for the new hiring season the beginning of 2012. If interested make sure you're on my newsletter mailing list and send email for information. Fliers will be sent out soon.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


We interviewed Cherie Anderson, owner and president of Professional Tour Management Training in Lake Forest, California, to get her insights on what it's like to be a tour director. Ms. Anderson has led tours across the globe. When she is not busy touring, she is training others how to become tour guides. In the following interview, she also explains some of the benefits formal training can provide.

What is the difference between a tour director and a travel agent?

Tour directors are actually out in the field leading the tours. Travel agents work for an agency selling the tours and making the reservations. The two roles are completely different one is hands on visiting various countries, dealing with people and logistics while the other works mainly in the office.
As a tour director, I don't work in the office at all. I don't sell the tours and I don't market the tours. I am hired to travel with the tour group. For example if I am doing a tour in Australia and New Zealand I meet the tour group in Los Angeles and we fly together to New Zealand. I return 3 ½ weeks later with the group and go home. I avoid the office. Travel agents have to know computer codes, the computer programs and all that other clerical work, that's not what we do As tour directors.
Most people who are interested in the tour directing and tour guiding don't want a desk job. I know I never did. If you want a steady 9-5-office job then becoming a travel agent may appeal to you but you won't find that as a tour director or tour guide.

How did you become a tour guide?

I was in education, sales and a variety of other jobs before I became a tour director. I actually found my way into this industry by volunteering on a cruise ship as a children's activities counselor. That job led to working as a cruise host on the cruise line. Tour operators would hire me to escort their guests on cruises to all their various destinations. That experience eventually lead to escorting tour groups for international tour operators.

How did you evolve from a tour guide into teaching courses on how to be a tour guide?

In 1993, I realized there was a need for a college course that would provide direction to those who were interested in tour guiding, tour directing and cruise hosting. I decided to combine my education background with my career in tours and developed my course, "Get Paid to Travel".
In the United States there is very little available to educate people on how to be a qualified and successful tour guide and/or tour directors. Most people would apply to tour operators and state in their applications that "I love people and I love to travel." But that doesn't mean they are qualified to lead a tour, especially overseas. Tour operators need to feel comfortable that the people they hire know the procedures, briefings, documentation, safety and behind the scenes work that goes into being a successful tour guide and tour director. That is exactly what my course offers. I had to learn all the procedures the hard way!
I approached the local colleges about teaching my course and found a lot of interest. That led to credit and non -credit classes in tour management and cruise hosting. In the beginning I was working with 15 major colleges and now I work with over 1,200 online.

Why did you decide to put your course online?

September 11th hit the tourism industry hard. Everything slowed down, it was frightening. At first no one wanted to travel. After the initial shock of 9/11 wore off, the travel industry gradually picked up but things had changed. People now wanted to travel domestically. Many of the International Tour Operators had to build up more domestic tours to stay afloat.
I took advantage of the tourism slump to re-work all of my teaching material and offer it as an online course. I also wrote my textbook, Tour Director Training Guide. It took a while to put together but the slump lasted a while so I was okay.

How has September 11th impacted the tourism industry?

As I mentioned more people wanted to travel domestically. Tour operators added domestic tours to their itineraries. In that sense it worked to the advantage of the new tour directors. Tour directors could now be trained domestically which is easier for both the tour director and tour operator. After gaining experience they may be placed on international tours.
Another thing that really impacted the tourism industry is that the economy fell after 9/11 and it hurt the incentive market. As the economy tightened up companies shortened their trips and looked for ways they could still offer incentive trips but more economically. For example, an incentive house before 9/11 might rent out Sea World for the night would instead offer a "dine around" and take their guests for fine dining.

You've mentioned several times Incentive Houses, what exactly is an Incentive House?

The incentive houses work with Fortune 500 companies in planning their company trips. The trips may be a reward for their employee's job performance, training, meetings, team building, a convention or an introduction to new products. Tour directors, often called "travel staff", are hired to travel to the destination and make sure their guests receive VIP treatment.
The incentive house will then hire a DMC or Destination Management Company which is a company located in or near the trip destination. They hire local tour directors and tour guides to assist the guests by meeting them at the airport, covering hospitality desks, taking them to attractions, leading city tours, assisting with dine-a-rounds, taking them on car or boat rallies, assisting with parties and events and so on. DMC work is fun and a great way for new tour directors to start getting experience and networking. I cover the job responsibilities in my training. My new tour directors have been very successful starting with the DMC's.

If someone came up to you and asked you how to get into the tour guiding business what advice would you give them?

Take my online class "Get Paid to Travel". It's convenient because it's online, it's offered through the colleges and it's in expensive. The course costs around $100. It's a six week course that offers students resources to all the employers, what they are looking for, the necessary tour procedures, what to cover in their briefing, what to do if there is a medical emergency etc. In addition I offer my students a list of potential employers and how to gain experience in the industry.
The other thing I would tell someone interested in becoming a tour director is; don't quit your day job. It may be very competitive to become a tour director or guide and it will take more than a "passion to travel and love of people" to land your a job. Get experience wherever you can. You can work as a step on guide for a local tour operator, work locally for destination management companies or volunteer to docent at a local museum or historical site. There are lots of ways to gain experience in the field that will vastly help you land a job with a major tour operator.
Finally I tell my students to network. Often a tour director or a guide will be offered a job and when they are not available, the tour operator will ask, "Do you know anyone who can do the tour?" Word of mouth recommendations go far in this business so it's a good idea to build up a network within the tour guide community.

What kinds of career advancement can a tour guide look forward to?

The future opportunities are amazing. Tourism is the largest and fastest growing industry in the world. The baby boomers are beginning to retire and many of them say they want to spend their retirement traveling.
Tour directing can also lead to other opportunities. I've done lectures throughout the US doing seminars and workshops for a number associations and companies.
I've turned down jobs promoting hotels, cruise lines and countries.
Tour directors have become product managers (developing tours), vice presidents and presidents of tour operations. This kind of work also develops excellent leadership skills for other careers.
Do you have to be an expert on any given subject before you get hired as a tour director?
It depends on what kind of tour operator you are working for. Most U.S. domestic tours include a lot of history. It might be difficult to get a job giving tours of Gettysburg if you're not familiar with the Civil War. However, the internet has made research much easier, so if you tell a specific employer that you have had my tour guide training and are willing to do as much research as possible on the Battle of Gettysburg, you may have a good chance at getting hired.
When I lead an international tour, local guides deliver the narration. I don't need to be know the history of Australia or wherever the tour may be. I'm also not bilingual, my local guides help if I need an interpreter. My job is to manage the tour group, not deliver the narration.

How difficult is it to juggle a family life while being a tour director?

You can work locally for a destination management company, receptive services or lead local tours, which will allow you to be home at night and still be a part of the tourism industry. However, if you work for a domestic or international tour operator you might be gone for several weeks and then home for a few days or a few weeks. Some families may like that set up, for others it's not really an option.

Would you say that the work for land tours is pretty much year round or is it more of a seasonal job?

There are high and low seasons, but tourism is year around. I lead international tours so we are busy all year round. For example, when it is winter above the equator, it is summer below the equator. In the fall we usually started our South American, Australian and New Zealand tours. In the winter when the domestic tours slow down the domestic tour directors and guides may work for the incentive houses and destination management companies to keep busy. They're busiest in the winter and spring. There really are opportunities all year.

You mentioned tour directors are always busy doing work behind the scenes. Do you even get to experience the "fun" of traveling?

Of course we have fun! We get to experience all the things that people pay thousands of dollars to do. Some people think that the tour group is with you 24 hours a day, but they don't want to be with you all the time! The tour group wants time to themselves and go off on their own. So you may have some days where you are working from morning until night but then there are other days when you may have a half day tour. When this happens you can go off and explore the destination on your own. Not to mention we participate in all the fun evening activities that are planned for the guests. For example, the evening might include a night out at the Moscow Circus or Shanghai Acrobats. As the tour director you get to be part of these incredible events. It really is a fantastic experience.

Do tour directors usually freelance or do they work through a company?

I would say that most tour directors and guides freelance. Most people start out working for several companies. When I started as a tour director I worked for a couple companies. After the tour, operators received the evaluations from the tour members and saw that I could do the job, they kept me busy from there on out.

Can you draw any parallels between tour guiding and other types of employment?

There's a lot of carry over. Teachers, mothers, actors, health care workers, administrators, managers, I find almost any responsible career has carry over that will help. I think I've used every skill I've ever had in tour directing and guiding. We do it all, we're teachers, caretakers, lecturers, sales people, administrators, actors, customer service reps, we do it all. Most people think we are mainly a host, we are much more than that.

Do you have certain qualifications or any restriction you're looking for before you let someone take your classes?

My courses are offered through public education, everyone is welcome. I find most skills can be learned if the student will follow my instructions and say exactly what I list in the lessons.
I've had students I didn't think would be particularly good tour directors or guides and they turned out to be excellent. I've had others I thought would be excellent and they couldn't show up on time or cancelled at the last minute.
If they are not responsible then they shouldn't be tour directors or guides. It's not the type of job where you can put on your voicemail and hope that will cover for you. You have to actually be there and on time. Better yet, be early!

What would you say your typical student is like? Are they usually college age or adults?

Most of my students are mature. It's a great job for those that are 'mature'. They have experience and maturity is an asset since most people on typical escorted tours are mature, 70% are over 50.
I like seeing younger people in the training too. There are so many opportunities now! Tourism is the largest and fastest growing industry in the world, yet most people know very little about it. There are also specific tours where young people are desired for the tours such as: Contiki Tours or many of the adventure, camping, or Alaska programs.
I trained a young man years ago that became a tour director and now has worked for years as an assistant cruise director for Princess Cruise Lines. He's on his way now to Europe to join the ship for his next assignment. He loves it. There's opportunity for all ages.

Is there any other kind of work experience that is particularly helpful?

Narration is important for domestic tours, so public speaking skills are very helpful. If you have worked as ski instructor, camp counselor or other kind of activity that you have led a group of people that may help your chances.
Volunteering as a docent is also very helpful. In California the mission docents are very knowledgeable of California history.
Customer service skills are important, sometimes handling tour members under stress can be challenging. You need to be able to think and make decisions.
You have to think on your feet, obviously, when there's a crisis or other emergency situation.
Yes, you'll be making the decisions for the group. Even though the tour is set up a year in advance, things change and there are challenges. It's up to the tour director to decide what's best for the group.
In my training I give information on handling challenges and emergencies and I have to say, they often seem to happen in the middle of the night.
We do the best we can when there's a crisis. In my experience most things that happen may be a hassle and inconvenient but not fatal. Yes, you definitely have to be able to think on your feet.

Perhaps some minimum CPR training would help?

Yes, first aid and CPR are important and some companies require an updated card.

Are there physical demands?

Yes. Often there is a lot of walking. On some tours like in China, it may be miles of walking, which I love.
Active tours have become so popular that it may really be to your advantage to be in shape.
You don't have to be real strong, but we do have long days and jet lag on international tours. And as I said emergencies seem to happen in the middle of the night. You should be able to function occasionally without a lot of sleep.
Since it's difficult to replace tour directors before or during a tour, the tour director should be healthy.

Why do you think people typically pursue the tour industry?

Some because they are retired and want to do something new and fun.
Other people go into it because they are tired of the day-to-day routine job. They are looking for something that is more fun and less routine.
In some cases the kids are grown, out of the house and now there's time for mom to travel and have some fun.
Most go into it because they love travel. Since our job is strictly on tour with the tour members, there's lots of travel!

What would you say the average entry-level pay would be?

It varies a lot, depending on the tour operator, type of tour, and destination. Normally, on escorted tours, we earn salary, commission and gratuities. Most tour directors should be making between $200 and $350 a day with experience.
The entry-level destination management companies are starting out their newly trained tour directors at about $15-18 per hour. Experienced tour directors are earning $20-25 per hour, earning time and a half after 8 hours.
Experienced travel staff working for incentive house's are now making $350 to $400 a day when working for the major companies.

You mentioned some of the benefits. Is there anyway to get things like medical or retirement?

Some of that's changing. In the past we had to buy our own medical insurance. However, in the last few years there have been major lawsuits over companies hiring us as independent contractors. The IRS determined that we are in most cases employees. The lawsuits cost the major tour operators millions of dollars, so hopefully it will change things. We're sill in the wait and see mode right now.

Are there any particular jobs in the industry that people consider more glamorous or popular than others?

I'm sure most would say international tours are more glamorous. Most of my students say they want to go international.
Some of our major tour operators will start their new tour directors on domestic tours before assigning them to international tours.
Actually I have students that prefer the incentive market. They stay at four and five star hotels and work as a team. The income can be just as good and sometimes even better than on escorted tours.
Do companies help the guides with the transportation costs or anything like that?
Absolutely.  It's like any other job that requires travel. All of our travel expenses are paid including flights, hotels, meals, and tips. The company will give the tour director funds to cover their expenses and the tour expenses before they leave home.

Can you summarize quickly some of the advantages of training, like your, versus somebody who just goes it on their own?

As I mentioned the tour operators get a lot of resumes from people that say they are qualified because they love travel and people. By saying that it may tell the tour operator this person thinks the job is being a host. It's much more than that.
The job includes safety, legal aspects, specific procedures, documentation, narration, challenges and emergencies. What are they going to do if someone gets ill or dies on the tour. Unfortunately that's part of our job too.
Another big advantage to the training is being able to locate the employers and types of employers. Some people still think we work for travel agents. There are lots of different types of employers offering careers locally, domestically, and internationally.
The training will help you be successful and get hired. I hope my students learn from my mistakes and hard lessons what works and does.

Your job does not end when the tour ends, correct?

If you're talking about the end of the day, after the tour members get off the coach, you're right. There's lots that goes on behind the scenes. These are responsibilities the tour members don't know anything about. I cover it all in "Get Paid to Travel", the online course. It's not really difficult, you just need to know what is expected.

Do you have a favorite story you might want to relate?

My favorite stories are from my students on their first tours. They tell me I'm right there on their shoulder the whole time. I also enjoy the fact that they get most excited about the challenges during the tour and are so impressed with their own skills when they handle challenging situations.
One young man said, "I want to tell you that everything you said is exactly right." What I stress is that you have to know your job, you have to be direct, and you have to stick to procedures. He said he had tour members that when he told them what time they were going to be departing the next day they said, "No, we want to go later." So he changed the time to just 15 minutes later. He than had the others in the tour very upset because he changed the time just because others wanted it. So you have to know the psychology of the group, too. You make the decision, you stick with the decision, and you never ask for a vote. It's not a democracy. People take tours because they want to be led, they don't want to deal with decisions, that's why they're on an escorted tour.
I have another student who was up in Washington State and he called one of his first tours the Red Cross Tour. Within a couple of days he had a woman who slit her knee open and had to have 20 stitches and a man who had to be taken by helicopter to a hospital because he had a heart attack. These are sort of typical stories and things we talk about in class. When the students start working they find out this is what really happens! This is the reality of it all.
I have a student, who is now over in the Alps working for Tauck Tours . Her first tour was with Dominico and they sent her to the East Coast. She was to lead a tour from New Jersey to Myrtle Beach. She prepared all the narration and when she arrived, she was told, "Now you're doing the tour from New Jersey to Niagara Falls!" And she had tour members from Germany, the United States, and England. She had to translate documents, do the tour in two languages, and prepare the narration until two o'clock in the morning. So, it's a job! When the new tour directors get back, I always ask, "How did you like it?" They all have said they absolutely love it! They absolutely love it.

If you could give people your best advice before pursing land tours as a career, what would it be?

Research the job and responsibilities. It's not for everyone. We're not a host, we are on the tour working. With the Internet you can research and learn a lot about the career. If you find it is the career for you, than you'll absolutely love it. Most tour directors will tell you they can't imagine having a 'real job'.
If you do want to be a tour director or tour guide, be persistent. Get training and experience. Get your resume out there, network and be persistent. The jobs are out there. It took me about one and half years to get my first job in travel. It doesn't need to take that long, that's why I started my training. The students leave the course with information it took me years to learn.

You can email Cherie Anderson directly at Cherie@tourtraining. com
“Tour Director Training Guide”  -

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ruth Sherman on Nonverbal Communication - Public Speaking, Presentation Skills, Media Training

Professional Tour Management Training 

Video by Ruth Sherman  

Executive Speech Coach and Strategic Communications Consultant Ruth Sherman helps clients develop compelling and creative content and messages and coaches them to deliver it all with impact! Ruth and her team guide and support clients through the entire process to successfully integrate all communication elements into a cohesive, seamless performance.

Ruth gives wonderful examples of what we do as Tour Directors, Guides, Travel Staff and Cruise Hosts to deliver information and narration in an informative and interesting way.  I'm sure you'll enjoy her video.

Click on Below Link to Start Video: 

Ruth Sherman on Nonverbal Communication - Public Speaking, Presentation Skills, Media Training

Copy to your browser:

Cherie Anderson
Professional Tour Management Training
949 830 8603 
We're successful because you're successful. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Vantage Deluxe Travel - Looking for Program Directors for European Cruises

Here’s another job posting for 2012.  Most major companies start their new hiring right after the Christmas Holidays.  It’s encouraging to see so many starting their search for new Tour Directors and Guides early.

Vantage Deluxe World Travel is looking for Program Managers (Tour Directors) for their European River Cruise Programs in 2012.  Vantage Deluxe World Travel is a well-respected tour operator that has been creating Five-star travel programs at Four-star prices for mature travelers since 1983.


Program Manager – European Rivers:  Experienced Tour Leader to deliver the touring river cruise program along various rivers (Rhine, Danube, Saone, Rhone, Seine, & Elbe) in Europe as outlined in the Vantage operational day by day for one coach of American senior travelers, and achieve the overall program quality goals.

Responsibilities include:
·        Team Player – work with two to three other Program Managers and take direction from the Lead Program Manager
·        Display strong leadership skills
·        Manage day to day delivery of the tour & problem solve on site to ensure program overall quality
·        Create a sense of group identity and make all travelers feel they have someone looking out for their well-being
·        Coordinate & reconfirm all services with hotels, coaches, restaurants & local guides
·        Be knowledgeable about the tour and the region
·        Follow Vantage Policy & Procedures
·        Deliver informative briefings and set realistic trip expectations
·        Share your insider’s view of the destinations to help drive cultural connections
·        Excellent command of the English language, both written and oral.  Comfortable command of German.

This is a freelance position and we are recruiting for the 2012 season.

I’m not sure what they mean by “Comfortable Command of German” but if you do not speak German I still recommend applying if you feel you have most of the other qualifications.  Its listed last telling me, it’s not as important as the above listed requirements. I covered most of the list in the training so hopefully you feel comfortable about the procedures and with a bit of Internet research you should be able to learn about the destinations easily.  Remember too, you’re not the guide, you’re the Tour Director and managing the groups.

Ark of the Covenant discovered with Tomb of Alexander the Great

This is the type of news story that can quickly lead to new tours and destinations, leading to work for  tour operators, tour directors and local guides.  The use of Social media may speed up the requests for bookings.

An Unbelievable Ark Of The Covenant Announcement And 10 Relic Trips   
Reports are cropping up that the fabled Ark of the Covenant, said to contain the remnants of the Ten Commandments, has been discovered along with the Tomb of Alexander the Great on the Greek island of Thasos.

The Focus Information Agency, a Bulgarian outfit not exactly renowned for accuracy, is reporting that, a Russian web portal that purports to be an "official information partner of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Greece," has claimed that a group led by Nikolaos Kumardzis, an archeologist apparently unaffiliated with any other dig, has identified one of the world's great treasures. At least one Armenian newspaper is running a similar story.

What more confirmation could anyone possibly want?

Thasos, which is near Macedonia, has long been rumored as the potential resting place of Alexander the Great, who died in Babylon in 323 BC after conquering Persia and consolidating Eurasian power. The connection between the great military leader and the Ten Commandments -- none of which he could truly be said to have followed -- is unclear, which makes the news that they were discovered together even less credible.

That being said, the Ark of the Covenant has inspired travelers and explorers for hundreds of years and is likely to continue to do so. It is worth remembering that pilgrimages remain part of the modern travel culture and that visiting relics or searching for them is quite popular in much of the world.

Because the Ark of the Covenant story is likely to bounce around the internet, exciting then disappointing people, we thought it would be nice to offer up a selection of places where relics were actually discovered.
We can't vouch for the authenticity of every one of these relics, but they are revered by many of the faithful.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Alaska Driver Guides - Holland America Line - Princess Cruises

Enjoy a Summer as a Driver Guide through Alaska's Wilderness with Holland America Line and Princess Cruises. Narrate tours while driving a motor coach through the Last Frontier! CDL training will be provided in the Orlando area prior to the Alaska season. Relocation assistance is provided. Training starts soon, apply now! EOE

I also recommend reading the posting on January on Alaska.  Jill Hyatt, a past student is now involved in hiring and offered to help.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chicago's no. 1 Travel and Tourism Site,, Teams Up With Motorola On New Mobile Tourism App

This Chicago app may be a wonderful tool for Chicago Tour Guides, Tour Directors and Travel Staff. allows Chicago visitors and residents to view, upload and share videos

CHICAGO–, the City of Chicago’s Official Tourism Site, is teaming up with Motorola Mobility, Inc. and the Motorola Mobility Foundation around, an innovative mobile tourism app recently released in the Android Marketplace. The service allows users to view, upload and share site-specific video content, giving visitors and residents a whole new way to engage with places and spaces while navigating Chicago., the No. 1 travel and tourism website for Chicago based on traffic volume, is managed by the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture (COTC), an agency dedicated to promoting Chicago as a premier cultural destination to domestic and international leisure travelers. COTC provided the professional content for the testing phase of, uploading nearly 100 videos collected from its cultural and hospitality partners including:

·         Time-lapse video of the construction of Museum of Science and Industry’s Smart Home
·         Lakeview East walking tour submitted by the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce
·         Short film of a classic Chicago wedding from Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.
·         Stop-motion video of “Go Do Good” art installation provided by Chicago Loop Alliance
·         Clips of past productions and interviews with guest artists of TimeLine Theatre Company

“The Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture is a recognized leader in the visitor industry for using cutting-edge technologies and social media to market Chicago as a premier leisure travel destination,” says Dorothy Coyle, Executive Director, COTC. “We’re thrilled to be working with Motorola to enrich the experience of our visitors.”

There were 38.11 million total visitors to Chicago in 2010, 28.03 million of which were leisure travelers. The Chicago visitor industry generates more than $11 billion in direct spending, $616 million in tax revenue, and sustains more than 124,000 jobs for the city’s economy.

“The Motorola Mobility Foundation is pleased to collaborate with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture to leverage this new app in innovative ways that enhance the visitor’s experience of Chicago,” says Eileen Sweeney, Director of the Motorola Mobility Foundation.

For details and to install, visit Partners with Motorola/ADD ONE

About Motorola Mobility
Motorola Mobility, Inc. (NYSE:MMI) fuses innovative technology with human insights to create experiences that simplify, connect and enrich people's lives. Our portfolio includes converged mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets; wireless accessories; end-to-end video and data delivery; and management solutions, including set-tops and data-access devices. For more information, visit

About Motorola Mobility Foundation
The Motorola Mobility Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola Mobility. With employees located around the globe, Motorola Mobility seeks to benefit the communities where it operates. The company achieves this by making strategic grants, forging strong community partnerships, fostering innovation and engaging stakeholders. The Motorola Mobility Foundation focuses its funding on education, community, health and wellness and disaster relief. For more information, on Motorola Mobility Corporate and Foundation giving, visit

Visitor Information Resources
Visitors and Chicagoans planning to entertain out-of-town guests can receive trip-planning assistance and information by visiting Brochures and information on Chicago’s exciting events and activities are also available at the Visitor Information Centers. Friendly Visitor Representatives can answer questions and assist in planning an unforgettable itinerary. The visitor centers are located in two of the city’s most popular areas: across from Millennium Park in the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph Street; and at the historic Water Works pumping station, 163 E. Pearson Street at Michigan Avenue.

For daily alerts about fun and free things to do in Chicago, follow Explore Chicago on Twitter at and “like” us on Facebook at, where you can also weigh in on your Chicago favorites. Receive answers to your Chicago questions on the go, and tips on the latest citywide events and activities, via the FREE Twitter Concierge Service (@explorechicago) available daily., the City of Chicago’s Official Tourism Site, is the No. 1 travel and tourism website for Chicago based on traffic volume. Recent additions and other highlights include:
A popular blog, providing a unique insider’s point of view of the city;
Events, tours and attractions, searchable by date, neighborhood and interest areas;
Social media travel tools including free visitor assistance via Twitter (@explorechicago);
Fun, location-based games including 11 free SCVNGR treks and Foursquare badges;
Multimedia content such as videos, slideshows, podcasts and an itinerary builder;
“Insider Profiles” of real Chicagoans, with their favorite things to see and do in the city;
Convenient airline and hotel booking services provided by;
Detailed information and interactive Google maps for Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods.
The Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture is dedicated to promoting Chicago as a premier cultural destination to domestic and international leisure travelers, providing innovative visitor programs and services, and presenting free world-class public programs. For more information please visit

Sunday, October 30, 2011

UN partners help least developed countries to take up more effective tourism development

I am glad to see Tourism getting attention for the many benefits it has in educating and helping world populations.  I have been leading international tours and training new Tour Directors for years.  I’ve always stressed the many benefits it has especially with responsible locals, governments, tour operators and Tour Directors.
I have a request from a developing country now to help in training their staff.  I’m flattered and hope to be able to work out the logistics.   There are safety concerns and yet I also understand how the media and politicians will play up a situation.  Claims are often greatly exaggerated.  

International tourist arrivals in the 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) grew from 6 million in 2000 to over 17 million in 2010. In the same period, international tourism receipts climbed from US$ 3 billion to over US$ 10 billion.

Eight of the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have begun to assess their tourism development needs and pinpoint relevant funding sources at a workshop held by the United Nations Steering Committee on Tourism for Development (SCTD) in Geneva, Switzerland from, October 18-20.

Representatives from the Tourism, Finance and Trade Ministries of Benin, Burundi, Cambodia, Comoros, Lesotho, Maldives, Sao Tome and Principe and Uganda came together with the nine UN Agencies that make up the SCTD at International Trade Centre (ITC) Headquarters in Geneva, to learn how to better work together to maximise tourism’s development potential.  

“Tourism is one of the few economic sectors through which LDCs have managed to increase their participation in the global economy,” said UNWTO Executive Director, Márcio Favilla, opening the workshop. “The multiplier effect of tourism is also particularly effective in the LDCs, where tourism expenditure generates additional flows of revenue and consumption for other branches of the economy such as agriculture, local fisheries, handicrafts and the furniture and construction industries”.

The workshop allowed the countries to learn more about the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) and how to best access the mechanism to develop their tourism strategies and action plans, as well as leveraging human and financial resources.

The workshop builds on the momentum generated at the Fourth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV), at which tourism was included as a poverty reduction tool for the first time. It is now expected that the LDCs, with the support of SCTD Agencies as well as the EIF Secretariat, will be able to prepare project proposals by the end of 2011, for local approval and subsequent submission to the EIF Board for endorsement by mid-2012.