As a Tour Escort, I’ve spent a lot of time traveling with student groups. It’s something I absolutely love doing. The energy of a group of young people having new, exciting experiences is indescribable.
But there’s a downside – the thrill of discovery can also lead to a haze of sensory overload. That can mean Tour Escorts get to experience a whole other kind of thrill – the herding of cats.
“Heeeeeere, kitty, kitty, kitty!” isn’t going to cut it when you need to get your group loaded onto a bus that has scant time to wait curbside. When your group straggles to the agreed upon meeting spot 10 minutes late, 15 minutes late – your scheduling can take a hit and your itinerary can be blown to smithereens.
So, of all the life lessons learned on tour, time management is one of the most significant. Impressing on your group the importance of respecting the integrity of your itinerary is paramount. Here are some tips for getting your cats herded right.
Have the talk.
When I started out as a Tour Escort, I labored under the naïve assumption that my students would be perfectly willing to stick to the program. While that’s mostly true, they sometimes need to have it spelled out, right at the beginning of your tour.
Now that I know better, I like to sit everyone down and ask “How will you get home if you miss the plane/bus?”. The response to this question is usually stunned silence. To break that silence, I describe to my groups the process of travel planning and how important it is to be on time, so they get the most out of their tour experience.
Upon arrival at your destination, it’s inevitable that most of your group will whip out their phones and take a selfie to commemorate the occasion.
Use the moment. Let your group know the correct time and then see to it that all their phones/watches are synchronized to the minute.
Before you leave on your adventure, it’s crucial you make it clear that everyone must wear their watches, or carry their phones with them everywhere you go, so they’re aware of the time.
One of best life lessons I’ve learned on tour for effective time management is “fudging it”. When agreeing on a time to meet, give the group a time that’s 10 minutes earlier than you need them to be at your mustering point. As they straggle in 10 minutes late, they’ll be right on time!
Sneaky, I know. But believe me, it’s highly effective.
Every tour group is going to have one or two habitually tardy members. Take these people aside and gently push them toward punctuality. Ask them again how they plan on getting home if they miss the bus/plane.
Look ‘em in the eye and ask the question with conviction. They’ll get the message.
These simple life lessons learned on tour, time management, should prevent you from having to learn them on the fly. Contact Peak for more information.