Chapter 10 Getting the job ... and keeping it.
After reading this chapter, you should be able to:
* Chart out the tour industry's hiring patterns.
* Prepare a professional resume.
* Conduct yourself well in a job interview.
* Identify the potential on-job challenges to a tour manager's ethical standards.
If you're already a tour manager, then congratulations! You've passed one of tour conducting's most formidable hurdles: getting the job in the first place. Major tour operators receive as many as five hundred escort job inquiries a year. From that sizable pool of applicants, the average tour company may hire only a dozen full-time tour directors. A recent poll indicates that the chances of landing a full-time tour-conducting position are one in twenty-three; of getting a part-time job, one in fourteen.
If you're not yet a tour manager, those odds may seem daunting. Then again, if you want to be a tour leader, you aren't the type to discourage easily. Indeed, you love such challenges. This chapter will supply tools to improve the odds that you not only get the position you want, but keep it. If your goal is some other job in the tour industry, the guidelines we'll be giving you will be just as valuable.
Tour Manager Hiring Patterns
Most tour operators try to keep their tours rolling all year long and their tour managers working as much as possible. Some companies see only minor seasonal fluctuations in their tour operations over a twelve-month period. The majority, however, operate most of their tours from June through September, with additional brief peaks during the pre-holiday and holiday periods. In southern hemisphere countries, tourism peaks from January through March. It's the same for companies that specialize in sun destinations, such as the Caribbean or Mexico-the high season occurs during the winter months. A few select tour managers can bank on year-round employment. Most, though, work only portions of the year and like it that way.
This pattern has strong implications for any person looking for a tour-management position. You should, for example, send out cover letters and resumes around January, just before most employers start thinking about the summer "bulge" of touring and hiring that lies ahead. Then perhaps in early March you might follow up this initial contact with a phone call to the person who supervises tour managers at each company, since he or she probably does the hiring, too.
Research the company in advance and show you know what makes it unique. If your resume grabs the company's attention, you'll probably be asked to fill out an employment application form (see Figure 10-1) and be invited to an interview. If you pass that hurdle, you'll attend the company's escort training session in the spring. Remember that companies hire additional tour directors during their high season in emergency situations--if a few escorts quit or the number of tours is greater than projected. (See Figure 10-2.) So if you didn't get hired in the first round, a call to the director of tour managers a little later in the season might well yield results.
[FIGURE 10-1 OMITTED]
If you're interested in other positions at a tour company, seasonality isn't really an issue. Keep checking the classified ads in your local newspaper or occasionally call the company to find out if anything will be opening. Some tour operators post their job listings on their Web sites.
Selecting Tour Companies
How do you find out which companies operate tours and therefore presumably hire tour conductors and other tour-related personnel? One way is to obtain a list of tour-operator members from one of the industry's premier professional organizations, the National Tour Association (P.O. Box 3071, Lexington, KY 40596) or the United States Tour Operators Association (342 Madison Avenue, Suite 1522, New York, NY 10173). A list of major tour operators appears in the back of this book. You might also peruse a tour agency's brochures, research the Internet, or check the Yellow Pages to identify companies that operate in your area.
Of course, be selective. Being selective means being well informed about the companies you contact and whether you're what they want. Do you wish to work for an intermodal company, for an incentive house, or for a motorcoach operator? Do you have foreign language skills and would you, therefore, prefer to escort for an outbound operator or an inbounder who deals primarily with foreign tourists? Would your ties at home prohibit you from working as a tour manager for a company that runs long overseas trips? Are you willing to move to another city where a company that interests you is based? Or does that company have major tours operating where you live?
In other words, you need to first gather as much information about each tour operator as possible. An excellent way to do this is to obtain company sales brochures and study them for clues. This will also help you exclude those companies that operate mostly independent tours, not escorted ones (unless, of course, you wish a non-escort position). Telephoning the company and asking pertinent questions may likewise prove worthwhile. (For example, some tour operators only consider employing people who already live in the area where the company is located.)
Be sure to find out whether the company you're applying to is one that concentrates on a narrow market segment. Some specialize in adventure trips, others focus on groups going to the Tournament of Roses Parade, still others target school groups, and some design tours for specific ethnic groups. Such a company might be right down your alley--or it might be a complete dead end.
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If you wish to be a tour manager, you must be willing to work your way up through the industry. The prime tour operators prefer that applicants have at least some tour-related experience. A typical pattern is for a person to first work as a city guide for a local sightseeing operation, then take part-time employment with a smaller tour company, and finally move on to an escort position with a major tour firm or with an incentive house. At each step you may decide that particular level is actually what you want.
Another path to tour conducting is to take an office position with a tour company. Sometimes tour operators draw new escorts from their own operational ranks. More significantly, many tour operators find escorts through recommendations from their own staff. If you know someone at a company, by all means have that person bring you to the attention of the director of tour managers. This is also a powerful strategy if you want a non-escort position at the company.
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Information and contacts are useful, however, only if you take a hard look at yourself. Matching your skills, attitudes, and life situation with a tour company is the best way to maximize your job-hunting success. (See Figure 10-3.)
A Tour Company's Hiring Criteria
Tour companies have clear-cut patterns regarding what they look for in would-be tour leaders. As noted in Chapter 1, hiring personnel seek people with outgoing personalities, superior organizational skills, a solid sense of ethics, good decision-making abilities, and a love of people, places, and travel. Different companies stress different traits, of course. But overall, there's a consensus about what makes a fine tour manager. As for other job positions, tour operators generally favor applicants who give evidence of reliability, initiative, and solid communications skills. They're more open to hiring individuals with limited or no tour-related experience for entry-level positions.
Tour operators focus on three sources of information about applicants: the resume, the cover letter, and the interview. Job seekers who polish their resume-writing and interview skills will have a special advantage when applying for an escort job.
The Resume Format
A good resume is a concise, well-organized summary of what you have to offer. By forcing you to identify your marketable skills, it helps you organize your job search. It also assists you in discussing your assets while being interviewed and serves to remind employers of your availability.
Many resume formats exist. The one most popular among tour operators is the job-targeted reverse chronological. This resume is written specifically for a tour-related position and lists work history in reverse chronological order. (See Figure 10-4 for an example.)
Your resume should be brief--one page, if possible. It should look professional, and list all of the following information:
* Essential Data. Give your name, address, and phone number.
* Job Objective. State your desire for a specific position (e.g., tour manager) in a single phrase or sentence.
* Work Experience. Begin with your most recent experience (including summer jobs) and work backwards. List the years you held each job and official job titles. Emphasize any experience that was travel industry-related or in some way similar to the job you seek and its demands. (For example, nursing, teaching, or acting experience is good training for tour conducting.) You may wish to leave out any experience that doesn't really reflect your ability to do the job. (For instance, carpentry, astronomy, or stock brokering would not strengthen a tour management application.) Don't forget to mention how well you did in each position and what you achieved.
* Education. List schools, degrees, certificates, and special training, also in reverse chronological order. List your high school only if you didn't attend college. If you took any classes or training sessions in tour conducting, you should list these first or underline them. Cite things like scholarships and notable extra-curricular activities.
* Special Skills. Do you speak a foreign language? Do you have experience in driving motorcoaches? Do you have CPR training? If so, mention it here.
* Personal Data. Limit this section to items that would grab the reader's attention or have a direct bearing on the position you seek. Have you traveled extensively? Have you taken any tours? Do you belong to a public-speaking society? These are the things that will interest your potential employer.
* References. If you have room, give names, titles, addresses, and business phone numbers of persons who have consented to be references-be sure you get permission from them in advance. If there's no room, state, "References available upon request."
Resume Do's and Don'ts
* Do limit your resume to one page, if possible.
* Do start sentences with impressive action verbs, such as "designed," "achieved," and "conducted."
* Do make your resume look professional and readable.
* Do be certain that your resume contains no typos, misspellings, or grammatical errors. This is extremely important.
* Do use simple, concise, direct language.
* Do eliminate any repetitious information.
* Do convey confidence through positive phrasing. Remember that a resume isn't so much a biography as it is a sales tool, an advertisement for you.
* Do type your resume on a word processor and quality printer to give it that desktop-published look. If necessary, use a professional resume preparation service.
* Do have your resume printed on quality paper.
* Don't clutter your page by using slim margins, minimal spacing, and small print.
* Don't list negative experiences or reasons you left previous jobs.
* Don't list personal information like height, weight, age, and so forth. The tour company will certainly be curious about your age, health, and marital status, but these shouldn't be given in the resume or cover letter unless you're sure they match what the tour operator is looking for.
* Don't mention salary history. This can be given in an interview if requested.
* Don't include photographs of yourself unless the company requires them.
Here is a composite of actual mistakes received on resumes. It shows how important accurate spelling and professionalism are to a resume: Job objective: To become a Super Visor. Work Experience: Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwestern chain store. Work experience: Oversight of entire department. Education: Yes Special Skills: Proven ability to track down and correct errors. Personal Data: Married, 1992 Chevrolet. References: Professor James R. Robinson (deceased) Source: Accountemps, Menlo Park, CA
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The Cover Letter
No resume should be sent to a tour operator without a cover letter. The letter should be short, state your reason for contacting the tour company specifically, and highlight the elements in your background that qualify you for the job. Toward the letter's close, express the desire for an interview and your intention to follow up your mailing with a phone call in a week or so.
"Dear Sir or Madam" is not the way to start a cover letter. You must customize your cover letter for each firm, according to that company's type of touring. Address the letter to the specific person who is in charge of hiring. You can obtain this information in advance via a phone call. You should also try to grab the reader, if possible, in the opening sentence. Don't resort to boasts or corniness, though, to achieve a dramatic opening. And don't be too formal; let a little of your personality shine through. (See Figure 10-5 for a sample cover letter.)
For virtually every position in the tour industry, interviews are important, and interviews are exceedingly important to those who hire tour managers. A face-to-face meeting gives tour employment personnel the opportunity to experience applicants' outgoingness, to assess their communication skills, to gauge their personal warmth, and to evaluate their motivations and expectations. No cover letter, resume, test, or phone conversation, say tour executives, can do all of this as well as an interview.
You must do all you can to get your foot in the interview door, for that's where tour hiring personnel really make their decisions. And you must prepare for the interview with great care.
Look Good. You don't have to look like a movie star or a model. But tour operators expect you to dress professionally and be well groomed. Don't wear sunglasses, chew gum, or smoke. Shake hands firmly, keep steady eye contact, and sit in a relaxed, well-postured manner. Don't be afraid to smile, be animated, or react to what the interviewer says. Remember, first impressions are lasting ones.
Know the Tour Company. Make sure to examine the company's brochures before the interview. If possible, talk to someone who has been on that company's tours. Look around the interviewer's office for clues (photos, diplomas, awards) that may help you as the conversation progresses. If you've been on a tour, especially one of that company's tours, mention it. Experience with tours will convince employers that you know that escorting isn't all excitement-that it's hard work too.
Be On Time. Punctuality is essential to success in any field. If you arrive late for your interview, the personnel director will immediately wonder about your reliability. Call to reconfirm the interview time, then try to get to the interview a half hour early, in case something delays you along the way. (Don't present yourself for the interview, however, until the appointed time.)
Stress Your Achievements. Be specific about your job experience and special skills. Couch your achievements in positive terms. Bring with you the syllabus for any tour-related courses you have taken, and give it to the interviewer if the subject of your prior training comes up. Allow the interviewer to guide the conversation--this way your responses won't sound like bragging but will serve to underscore your self-confidence. Don't speak badly about former jobs and employers. The interviewer may conclude that you'll do the same thing someday to him or her.
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Ask Questions. These should come toward the end of an interview, although a few peppered throughout the process can be effective. Questions demonstrate your interest, show you're not self-centered, and give you clues about what the company is looking for.
Be Yourself. Acting the way you think someone wants you to act often leads to false, anxious behavior, useless digressions, and inattentiveness. Don't worry if you're a little tense--interviewers expect this and make allowances for mildly nervous behavior.
Follow Up with a Thank-You Note. In Chapter 9, you learned that follow-up is an important step in a marketing and sales campaign. It's just as important when you're trying to sell yourself. A brief thank-you note reminds the interviewer of your wish for employment and shows you are a diplomatic and considerate person, just what a tour manager should be. (See Figure 10-6.)
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How Tour Managers Keep Their Jobs
If you land a non-escort position with a tour operator, you can expect a long career, possibly with significant advancement opportunities, as long as you perform well and your company continues to succeed. But if you become a tour manager, your odds of long-lasting success are less secure. One out of two tour directors quits or loses his or her job within six months. For some it's a blessing in disguise--the job's demands turn out to be just too much, or the fit of personality to profession is not a suitable one.
Sometimes, though, the job is lost because the tour director copes poorly with an overwhelming and unexpected onslaught of hard-to-resist temptations. What is or isn't proper as far as tour managing goes? In a field with few ethical landmarks and in an era with hazy codes of conduct, it's sometimes hard to figure out the difference between a kickback and a commission, between deserved perks and disguised pilfering. A clearheaded, unequivocal sense of integrity is essential in tour conducting, where the rules are ambiguous and the temptations frequent.
Company Loyalty and Job Pride
Usually tour managers know exactly where to put their loyalties: into the efficient and effective operation of a tour. Sometimes, though, loyalties become mixed, even conflicting. Should your first loyalty be to the company? To the clients? To co-workers? For example, suppose you found out that another tour conductor was having an affair with a passenger and that it was distracting him or her from escort duties. Would you talk to the person about it? Would you leave well enough alone? Would you report the tour conductor to the company?
No universal principles can be applied to each unique situation. But career-related standards, especially those related to company loyalty and pride in one's job, are clear-cut. For instance, tour managers discover that they can easily cut corners as they perform their job. Why not leave out that little portion of the itinerary and finish a tour early? Why not sleep in the back of the bus rather than socialize with the passengers? The reason: a tour manager's duty is, above all, to his or her tour members. To deprive them of deserved services is inexcusable. A professional ought to give 100 percent to a job at all times. Anything less is a betrayal of client, company, and self.
Another easy temptation is to view tour members as enemies or fools. This problem plagues many other service areas; the sarcastic waiter, the arrogant hotel manager, and the hostile Motor Vehicles Department clerk have become stock characters in books, plays, and films. To be curt with passengers; to snap at them; to ignore, avoid, or mock them-these are the bad habits a tour manager must avoid no matter what the mood or situation.
A tour manager must likewise avoid bad-mouthing clients, competitors, colleagues, or company. Gossip, ridicule, and innuendo have a way of circling back to their point of origin. A tour leader's critical or disdainful comments can spread through a tour group like a plague, more swiftly than you ever imagined. The classic story is of the tour conductor who sits on an empty motorcoach while the group is visiting some attraction. He or she spends this time in conversation with the driver, laughing at the tour members. Suddenly the driver glances in his rear-view mirror and begins making peculiar warning signals to the tour director. The tour director doesn't understand but looks back. There in the seventh row is a passenger who stayed on the coach. How long do you think it will take that client to tell others about what has transpired or to write to the tour company about this tour manager's attitude?
Liaisons with Clients and Colleagues
The story is almost a cliche: an actor on a distant location has an affair with an actress, who happens to be married to the studio chief, who in turn ... Well, you know the plot. Of such stuff gossip magazines are made.
But there's a kernel of truth in such tales. For when people go for a week or two to a faraway place, they often leave their morals at home. The implication for a tour conductor, who is already a sort of star to forty clients, is clear: a liaison with a client can happen swiftly and with uncommon ease. Single or married, male or female, twenty years old or sixty--it doesn't matter; almost every tour director will someday be given the opportunity for an easy fling.
But on-tour affairs are fraught with peril. Will the situation become known to the other passengers? If it does, it will surely upset some of them. Will it lead to a neglect of duties? If a tour manager makes a wrong decision, it will be blamed on any on-going social distraction. What will happen after the tour? Will the home office get a curiously perfumed letter addressed to the tour director? Will a sexual harassment suit be filed? Will word of the affair get back to one's spouse? To cite religious, ethical, and medical objections isn't even necessary; having affairs with clients in any business is just plain stupid.
The same can be said about liaisons with colleagues: at first it may be fascinating, but in the end it's usually uncomfortable, embarrassing, or bitterly nettlesome. There's nothing wrong with socializing with one's peers, but when it goes beyond that, the complications begin.
An awful loneliness can beset tour managers on the road. Chapter 4 gives strategies for overcoming such feelings. Certainly it can happen that a tour director meets someone during the course of a tour who becomes very special. If it's a client, perhaps it would be acceptable to get together with the person after the tour's end. If it's someone at the destination, it might be okay if no conflicts of interest exist. The object of this chapter isn't to moralize; moral systems are best left to each individual. Your overriding business ethic, though, should be to do nothing that could corrode the quality of your tour, or even anything that might be perceived as detrimental to your on-job performance.
The Question of Money
You might think that a tour director's greatest temptation is sex. Think again. For many tour managers, it's money.
Appeals to a tour conductor's greed are endless. The most obvious, though, are kickbacks, schemes to boost tips, and pilfering from the tour company.
Kickbacks. Usually, after only a few weeks on the job, a tour manager becomes acquainted with a myriad of methods to make extra cash. Here the peer grapevine works only too well. If a tour stops at a certain souvenir stand, 10 percent of total purchases will end up in the tour leader's pocket. If a certain extra boat ride is arranged, 10 percent of the ticket price will be returned as a "commission." If breakfast is set up in an out-of-the-way Las Vegas restaurant, a $20 bill may be stuffed into the tour manager's pocket. If a Hong Kong tailor shop or a gem store is the stop, commissions could approach thousands of dollars.
Certain commissions seem justifiable. Some tour operators sanction escort commissions for extra sightseeing trips; they may even require that the tour manager divide this money with the home office. What happens in this case is that the standard 10 percent commission that would flow back to the tour company is divided with the tour leader to provide him or her with a sales incentive. Also, a commission-gift, such as a case of oranges from a Florida fruit stand, seems acceptable, since it's not much different from a free meal at a restaurant. Like any gift or comp, however, it should not be overdone.
The following considerations should guide you:
* Avoid any kickbacks that come from suppliers who charge your clients more than the going rate. A jewelry store that slips you a 10 percent commission but charges your client 10 percent more than every other jewelry shop in town is fleecing your clients. So, too, are you.
* Don't steer a group to a store or unplanned attraction at the expense of the official itinerary. Clients aren't naive--they resent it when a tour becomes a series of unexpected buying stops.
* Never take a kickback from a supplier when the company is paying. The one exception is when the tour operator has sanctioned the commissioned activity.
* Be completely informed about your company's commission policies. Check the company tour manual. If it forbids some or all commissions, don't even think about sneaking around the rules. If found out, you'll probably be fired.
* Make sure to split acceptable commissions with the motorcoach driver. This is an unwritten but firm rule, especially on a motorcoach tour where the same driver is with you for several days. A three-way split may be warranted if a step-on guide is involved. On the other hand, you must resist a driver's or guide's efforts to steer a group beyond what you or the company deems appropriate.
* When a restaurant comps your meal, be reasonable about what you order. This is not the time to order appetizers, soup, salad, the most expensive entree, and dessert. Always leave a tip, even if the meal is free.
Tip-Boosting Schemes. Gratuities are part and parcel of tour conducting (though a few companies and most incentive companies prohibit them). The usual procedure is for a company to announce in its brochure that "tips for escort and driver are not included in the tour price. If you wish to show your appreciation for a job well done, a gratuity of $3 per person per day is customary." Other companies add that "such appreciation should be extended on a voluntary, individual basis and not as a group," thus discouraging awkward group "pass the hat" collections. Still others provide clients with special preprinted envelopes, much like those in the cruise industry, in which they can place their gratuity and hand to the driver and tour leader at tour's end.
Gratuities can be a substantial portion of a tour manager's remuneration. Tips reflect an escort's performance: usually, the better the tour directors do their jobs, the better their gratuities will be. (By the way, clients tend to tip more per day on a short tour than on a long one.)
Occasionally, tour conductors use sly ways to enhance their tips. If a company permits group collections, a driver or tour leader may manipulate one persuasive, cooperative passenger into getting a group tip rolling (and suggesting a dollar amount). A certain tour director, in order to augment a group's generosity, was notorious for telling passengers that his birthday happened to be taking place during the tour. He did this every tour, every week. When clients from different departures began comparing notes, his scam came to an end. So did his job.
Pilfering. One disquieting poll discovered that 68 percent of all workers in the United States steal supplies from their work. There's no reason to believe that the touring business is any different. Some tour managers steal travel bags, sell off unused tickets, make claims for phony expenses, and bury unauthorized personal charges in the hotel bill. One tour conductor once cashed company checks, which he then lost on the blackjack tables of Atlantic City. When discovered, he claimed that he had "loaned" the money to himself.
When a tour manager signs on for a job, he or she agrees, de facto, that the salary is acceptable and the perks well defined. To go beyond these agreed-upon boundaries is clearly unprofessional, unethical, and foolish.
Alcohol and Drugs
What reason do alcohol- or drug-dependent people give for their substance-abuse problems? Ask any therapist or health care professional and they'll tell you that one of the most common reasons they hear is "to get away from problems."
Whether this is the real reason or an excuse doesn't matter. Tour management is a career replete with "problems." To ease the challenge of dealing with forty clients or to dampen the loneliness of the road, some tour managers resort to the false relief that alcohol or drugs can bring.
If you think substance abuse has become a problem for you, don't even hesitate: see a doctor or other professional immediately.
After reading the above, you may conclude that tour conductors are a sleazy bunch, but rest assured that the complete opposite is true. The vast majority of tour managers are loyal, ethical, and thoroughly brilliant at giving the traveling public a splendid and superior vacation experience.
Some Final Words
If your goal is to serve in a clerical, administrative, or sales-related position at a tour company, know that you'll be involved in one of the most creative and exciting segments of the travel industry. If you wish to be a tour manager, this book should prepare you well. On the job you'll continue to learn and grow. Remember that someday, somewhere, someone will take out a photo album, show it to a friend, point out a certain picture, and say, "And that was our tour manager. That escort really did make our trip!"
A would-be tour manager should begin a job search in early spring when tour operators gear up for the high tour season ahead. Someone who is looking for a non-escort position can apply at any time. A resume should list essential data, work experience, education, special skills, personal information, and references. It should be accompanied by a brief, striking cover letter.
At an interview, an applicant should present a professional appearance, exhibit knowledge of the company, be on time, ask good questions, and be natural. Afterwards, the applicant should follow up with a thank-you note.
To keep a job, a tour manager must be loyal to the needs of both client and company. He or she should avoid entangling liaisons, improper monetary schemes, drugs, and alcohol abuse.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. When does the tour season usually peak? At which two times of the year are companies most likely to hire tour managers?
2. What three sources of applicant information do tour operators pay close attention to?
3. Name the seven sections of a good resume.
4. List six "do's" for effective resumes.
5. What elements make for a successful cover letter?
6. Indicate seven strategies that you should follow as part of the interview process.
7. What three bad habits must a tour manager avoid with regard to loyalty to company, clients, job, and self?
8. Give four reasons why on-tour affairs are a bad idea.
9. Three temptations exist when it comes to money and tours. What are they?
10. List five considerations that should guide you when dealing with kickbacks or commissions.
* Complete the outlined resume below. Enter no more than three items in any given section. Use the reversechronological format.
* If you were being interviewed for a position as a tour conductor, how would you answer the following questions? Answer each question with a maximum of three sentences.
1. Why do you want to be a tour manager?
2. Do you realize how much work tour conducting is?
3. What is it about your previous work experience that you think makes you qualified?
4. What do you think would be the hardest thing about escorting for you?
5. What previous job did you like most? Why? Which one did you like least? Why?
6. Do you see tour managing as a short-term or a long-term career?
7. What was your favorite vacation trip? Why?
8. Don't you think your friends and family will object to your being away so much?
* Describe what you would do in each of the following situations.
CASE 1: You're on a city tour. Most of your group seems tired and bored. Only a few minor attractions remain to be pointed out. It's 4 P.M. You're supposed to tour until 4:45 P.M., but you could cut the tour short and return to the hotel.
CASE 2: You're conducting a tour in Florida, with clients from all parts of the country. No activities are planned for tomorrow evening. A representative from a land development company comes to you and offers to provide dinner for your whole group, free of charge, the next evening if the group is willing to listen to a sales pitch for buying Florida land.
CASE 3: It's the last tour of the season. You've been conducting the same tour all summer. Your group is about to board a harbor cruise boat (something your company has set up for your groups to do every week). The owner of the company, who has become somewhat of a friend, asks you to join him while your group is on the cruise. You agree, since the guide on the boat tends to your group and your presence on the large boat is rarely noticed anyway. The owner takes you to a clothing store. He says, "Buy anything you want. It's my way of showing my thanks."
CASE 4: It's 2 A.M. There's a knock on your hotel room door. You open it. A very attractive passenger who is on your tour is standing there, smiling. The passenger is naked.
CASE 5: You're a trip director for an incentive tour to Seoul, South Korea. The group insists on visiting a specific electronics store, which you know gives commissions to the tour conductor. You stop there. The manager tells you that of course she'll give you 10 percent of all your clients' purchases as a commission.
CASE 6: You and your colleague are escorting two busloads of clients on a return from a Mexico tour. You've crossed the border and were subjected to only a minor inspection. Both groups are in a restaurant, dining. You go out to the motorcoach to get something out of the underneath luggage compartment. You open the compartment of the other tour conductor's coach by mistake. It's filled with a dozen television sets.
Your name is Y. Lee Coyote. ACME Tours has asked you to serve as one of their tour conductors this summer. They ask you to sign the contract given below.
* Read the contract carefully, then answer the questions that follow.
Sample Agreement Between a Tour Operator and a Tour Manager This professional services agreement is entered into by and between ACME Tours, a company incorporated in the State of Delaware and based in New York City, hereafter referred to as the Tour Operator, and Y. Lee Coyote, an independent contractor operating his business based in Burbank, California, hereafter referred to as the Tour Conductor. This agreement will be in effect from June 1, 2001, to September 4, 2001.
The Tour Conductor shall travel with ACME's pre-formed groups as specified in ACME's tour itinerary and shall perform, to his best efforts, all typical tour conducting functions, including but not limited to the management and coordination of the group's activities at airports, hotels, cruise ships, trains, restaurants, attractions, motorcoaches and other such locations, as specified in the tour departure's itinerary, as well as give sightseeing commentary, as needed.
As an independent contractor, the Tour Conductor reserves the right to exercise his judgment with regard to commentary content, routings, scheduling, problem resolution, and the like, provided that such judgments are consistent with the passengers' expectations, such expectations being the result of the Tour Operator's tour itinerary and promotional materials, as well as the Tour Operator's expectations with regard to the tour's costs, legal requirements, and the like.
The Tour Operator shall treat the Tour Conductor's expenses as part of the group's normal expenses. As a result, the Tour Operator shall pay for any and all transportation, accommodation, dining, baggage handling, and similar expenses that would normally be included as part of a passenger's paid-for tour package and that are incurred by the Tour Conductor, including "repositioning" travel costs to get the Tour Conductor to the tour's starting point and from the tour's end point. The Tour Operator shall also pay the Tour Conductor $120 per calendar day for his rendered services, beginning with the first day he meets his group through the last day he will be with the group.
Both parties to this agreement acknowledge that the Tour Conductor, as a self-employed independent contractor, reserves the right to accept or refuse each assignment offered by the Tour Operator during the duration of this agreement, according to his circumstances and schedule. The Tour Conductor also reserves the right to accept assignments from other tour operators. Once a tour management assignment is offered and accepted by the Tour Conductor, he must not accept any other assignment from another company for the same time period unless the Tour Operator cancels the tour or releases, in writing, the Tour Conductor from his agreed-upon assignment. The Tour Conductor agrees to not accept commissions, fees, and the like from hotels, restaurants, attractions, stores, and other suppliers who provide components to the tour's itinerary, since such fees or commissions may compromise the relationship, stated or implied, between the Tour Operator and the passengers and/or suppliers.
The Tour Conductor represents and warrants that he is an independent contractor for purposes of federal, state, and local employment taxes. The Tour Conductor agrees that ACME Tours is not responsible to collect or withhold any federal, state, or local employment taxes, including, but not limited to, income tax withholding and social security contributions, for the Tour Conductor. Any and all taxes, interest, or penalties, including, but not limited to, any federal, state, or local withholding or employment taxes imposed, assessed, or levied as a result of this Agreement shall be paid or withheld by the Tour Conductor upon demand by the Tour Operator.
The Tour Conductor also acknowledges that, as an independent contractor, he is in no manner entitled to health insurance coverage, profit-sharing plans, health plans, unemployment benefits, paid sick leave, paid vacation leave, overtime pay, or other such benefits which the Tour Operator may provide its employees.
This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York. The Tour Conductor hereby consents and submits to the jurisdiction of the courts in the State of New York in all questions and controversies arising out of this Agreement. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties.
Executed on the dates set forth below to be effective as of the date first above written by the Tour Operator and the Tour Conductor.
-- -- for ACME Tours Print name: -- Date: -- Date: -- Address: -- SS#: --
1. If another company asks you to conduct a tour for the week of July 4 at a rate of $150, can you accept the assignment?
2. Can you accept gratuities from passengers?
3. Will ACME reimburse you for phone calls that you make to reconfirm restaurant or hotel reservations?
4. Will ACME withhold social security from your paycheck?
5. How far in advance must ACME inform you that a tour you've been booked to conduct has been canceled?
6. Your tour arrives in Boston. Will you or a step-on guide give the city tour?
7. The itinerary shows no rest stop scheduled during a three-hour motorcoach ride. Can you schedule one?
8. Can you set up a nightclub tour for your passengers on an evening when ACME has not scheduled anything?
9. You go to a restaurant where the passengers must pay for their meal-the lunch is not included in the tour package price. Will ACME reimburse you for the cost of your meal?
10. You travel on June 15 from Burbank to New York City. You will meet the group on June 16 for a seven-day tour of New England. But on the morning of June 16, you wake up sick and cannot take the group. Will you still be paid for the New England tour? Will you be paid for your June 15 travel day?
Marc Mancini, Ph.D.
Department of Travel
West Los Angeles College
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|Publication:||Conducting Tours, A Practical Guide, 3rd ed.|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2001|
|Previous Article:||Chapter 9 Creating a tour.|
|Next Article:||Appendix A Useful addresses.|