Friday, September 30, 2011

Tour Director Couples Traveling Together

I’m often asked about couples traveling together. Small, more local companies will often hire married tour directors (or at least let the spouse travel with the group) and so do the DMC’s (doing local programs).

To get in with the major tour operators you’ll want to prove you’re both tour directors. I would not ask about traveling together in the beginning. It may put up a warning for the tour operator that you’re looking at the career more as a vacation rather than a job. It may help if at least one of you gets hired first and then recommend the other’s skills later. (You can both apply of course.) It may be a good way to network the second person into the company.

Most often there is only one tour director on the tour since there’s usually only one motor coach. Some companies will send two coaches on popular programs. This may be a way for you to travel together with the major tour operators. I know a couple that does so.  They will often lead two motor coaches together on the National Parks tours.

Getting into the incentive market is another way to work together since you work as a team.  Again you will need to prove you are both travel staff and may want to network the second person in to the company. Again, I know a couple that often gets hired together.  The both also work for the DMC’s together.

I know this may not be what you want to hear, but the companies are leery. They want their tour members to receive outstanding service and tour members will complain if they think you are there enjoying the tour for ‘free’.  I know it sounds petty but we are watched by all.

So I guess my answer is ‘maybe’...hopefully. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fall Hiring for Tour Directors and Guides

 I recently heard from several students that have been interviewing for fall positions with major tour operators.  Most major tour operator’s start their hiring right after the Christmas Holidays but this year seems to be a bit different.  After recessions, visitors and companies planning meetings, wait until the last minute to book.   If you’re available I recommend contacting the companies immediately. 

This is also a great time to contact your local DMC’s.  Most were extremely busy this last spring and are anticipating a busy fall.  DMC’s are hiring and I’ve been training new employees for a DMC in Southern California.  Even if you talk to one not hiring, be sure they know you are available.

This is also a good time to contact Student Tour groups.  I recommend reviewing Liz Moran's suggestions in Chapter 2 of the "Tour Director Training Guide" to local companies and procedures.

I hope you’re all busy in careers you love. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

United States Travel and Tourism Exports: June 2011

The good news for all of us in Tourism continues. Tourism continues to grow and so does the meeting market. If you're looking for work in the fall, now is a great time to apply to the DMC's. They were all busy last spring and are anticipating a great fall. Here are the recent figures from US Department of Commerce on US Tourism:

International Visitor Spending Accounted for 25% of all U.S. Services Exports for the Month
The U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced that international visitors spent nearly $12.5 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States during the month of June - $1.0 billion more (9%) than was spent in June 2010 - marking the eighteenth straight month of growth in U.S. travel and tourism exports. Travel and tourism-related exports have increased, on average, more than $1.3 billion a month in 2011.
Travel Receipts: Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States totaled $9.5 billion during June, an increase of 10 percent when compared to last year. These goods and services include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation in the United States, and other items incidental to foreign travel.

Passenger Fare Receipts: Fares received by U.S. carriers (and U.S. vessel operators) from international visitors increased by 7 percent to $2.9 billion for the month when compared to June 2010, despite decreasing 4 percent when compared to last month.
International visitors have spent an estimated $73.5 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services year to date (January through June), an increase of 12 percent when compared to the same period last year. In fact, the U.S. travel and tourism industry is on pace for a record-setting year for travel and tourism-related exports.
Americans have spent nearly $53.6 billion abroad year to date (up 6%) - resulting in a $19.9 billion trade surplus for travel and tourism through the first half of 2011.