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Extended Tour Planning Course – Spring 2022
The Guild is pleased to offer its members a new online 6 week course on the subject of planning and operating an extended tour. In these uncertain days, guides may benefit from branching out into this area of tourism and so the Guild felt it was an opportune time to run such a course.
The programme is designed to give an overview of the skills and techniques required to operate a successful tour and to offer guidance based on first-hand experience. The course does not lead to a qualification or endorsement and can be best understood as professional development. It will enable guides to decide for themselves if this work is a suitable adjunct to their day-to-day guiding career.
Each module is presented by a different guide who has worked extensively in tour management. The guides, both Green and Blue Badge, represent different regions of the UK and between them have worked in most parts of Britain and also further afield. The modules cover different aspects of the job and, put together, give a complete picture of what is needed as well as conveying useful practical tips. There will be plenty of opportunities for discussion and we are expecting this to be a lively and interactive course.
Dates for the course
The dates are as follows:
Module 1 Business Management Mon 7 March Chrissie Le Marchant
Module 2 Tour Planning Tues 15 March Sue Grimditch
Module 3 Crisis Management Mon 21 March Sue McCarthy
Module 4 Duty of Care Mon 28 March Petra Herrmann
Module 5 Customer Service Mon 4 April Sarah Scanlon
Module 6 Regulations and post-tour Tues 12 April David Tucker
Each online session will start at 10am and is expected to last about 90 mins, with the final session being slightly longer to round off the programme.
The cost for the total course is £70.
The course is being co-ordinated by Rosemary Barnes
Details of each module
In this first session which looks at operational expectations, Chrissie will be introducing us to the “real nitty gritty” of tour management emphasising attention to detail and using your common sense. She will also explain the importance of following the relevant company’s procedures.
Moving on we will learn how to read a tour itinerary including reading between the lines! The focus in our second session will be on meeting groups on arrival and departure procedures at airports and railway stations. Sue G will also explore operating excursions and tour company payment procedures. Finally how to set realistic group expectations.
This module will be about “managing and averting crisis situations” – careful planning is the key. Sue M will build on the knowledge gained from previous sessions and explain how to prevent these situations cropping up. But despite best efforts, sometimes things do go wrong, and there will also be advice on how to handle unavoidable problems.
Duty of Care
This module looks at ways of implementing a safe, secure and hygienic environment for passengers and also the unpleasant aspects of tours such as accidents and illness. The session led by Petra will equip guides with the knowledge, tools and confidence to deal with these issues in a pro-active and professional manner.
In this session with Sarah, we shall be putting ourselves in the customers’ shoes and consider the touring experience from their point of view. We will cover issues such as upholding tour company standards, leading by example and communication. We shall look closely at customer requests and complaints and how best to respond to these. Finally we will consider the importance of good and bad customer service on the group, the tour operator and the guiding profession.
Regulation and legislation
In the final module, David will introduce us to the key aspects of regulation and legislation, an awareness of which is vital to being an effective tour manager. He will also provide a template for rounding off a tour – the tour reports, gratuities, customer satisfaction questionnaires and invoicing. Finally he will remind us of the enjoyable aspects of tour managing which make it such a great job!
Chrissie Le Marchant
Chrissie trained as a Blue Badge Guide for the West Country back in the last century. She gained useful experience working on open top tours in Plymouth and then moved on to tour managing all over the British Isles and Europe from Scottish Railways through German Christmas markets to Cliff Richard concerts! She has lots of stories and tips to pass on and assures us she hasn’t left people behind that often.
Sue G is a London Blue Badge and Manchester Green Badge Guide and has spent most of her career in the tourism industry. Starting out as a resort representative in sunnier climes she then went on to start up her own travel agency specialising in tailor made travel. This morphed into a corporate hospitality agency and she worked for several companies who are household names until one day she read an article in the local paper about a Blue Badge Guide and decided this was the life for her.
Sue M started her tourism career in a travel agency before going on to recruit, train and manage Tour Managers. Leaving her desk behind, she went out on the road working as a full time TM in long haul destinations. She has been involved in teaching Travel and Tourism at FE colleges and in 2011 qualified as a Manchester Green Badge guide, which she now combines part-time with her touring work, these days mostly in Europe and around the UK.
Petra is so impressed by the beauty of Northern Ireland that she has been busy showing it off to visitors for over 20 years. She has worked mainly on extended tours for the German market but has also done local guiding often for the cruise market. In the last few years she has become involved in training and recently completed Northern Ireland’s first ever ITG Green Badge course as Course Director.
Sarah has been a London Blue Badge Guide for 12 years and a secondary school teacher for 24 years. She is a linguist who loves to travel and is happiest outdoors among nature. Indeed you can often find her walking the South Downs with her Golden Retriever by her side. For her the ‘people’ side of guiding is paramount and she embraces and celebrates the diversity and unpredictability of the job.
David is a qualified BBG for the whole of Scotland with the Scottish Tour Guides Association. He has also served on the Board of the STGA. His tour managing experience extends over many years both in Scotland and across Britain, with a particular focus on the challenges and rewards of managing large groups of visitors to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
Rosemary is a proud Yorkshire lass and enjoys introducing visitors to the variety of attractions in the county. Before qualifying in 2015 as a Blue Badge, she was employed for several years in the travel industry and is now in her 20th year of working as a Tour Manager. During this time she has worked on rail tours and cruises as well as coach tours and still gets a buzz from meeting new people and helping them have great holidays.