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June 15, 2018

What Happens When a CEO Turns Tour Manager

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In part 6 of our 12 part series, we sit down with our CEO, Dan Sullivan, Jr., to talk about the tours he's personally guided and how important it is that every tour has a professional, well-prepared, caring and knowledgeable Tour Manager to bring a destination to life. Read on to learn how the proactive and involved leader of our 100-year-old family-owned company delivers the best possible tour experience to our guests.

Where have you guided our guests and what are your favourite destinations?

I've guided our guests all over the world - Mackinac Island in Michigan, Egypt, Scotland, New York City… the list is long. Every tour I've guided has been a favourite for a different reason. Each one is special. Some are special for the history, some for the hotels, some for the scenery or the local culture, but they all have something unique to offer. It's up to the Tour Manager to make sure our guests see it all.

What was your favourite tour to guide?

That's hard to say. Honestly. But sticking close to home, I really loved guiding our Mackinac Island tour that goes back to early Americana. It's magical to sit on the front porch of the Grand Hotel and look out over the Straits of Mackinac. Somewhere in Time is one of my favourite movies, and this hotel stirs up that sense of romance, wonder and timeless beauty - as does the destination as a whole. People love that programme. On the global scale, I'd be inclined to say Egypt. It's one of the first civilizations; seeing the sphinx, the pyramids and the Nile River is one of those experiences that feels cinematic and a bit unreal. It's like diving into history and becoming an explorer. There's nothing more rewarding than seeing the awe on the faces of people who are experiencing something so significant for the first time. Tour Managers get to see that all the time and it's one of my favourite parts of the job.

What is the Tour Manager's role?

The Tour manager's job isn't an easy one. Collette can plan everything and offer a programme at a great value to our guests, but in the end, it's the Tour Manager who brings these tours to life and that's a tremendous responsibility. They work tirelessly to be destination experts, with historical and cultural information to share with our guests in a meaningful way. They are full of personality and love people (or they wouldn't be leading tours for about 200 days each year). They are responsible for on-tour logistics and planning and work hard to ensure a seamless delivery of the great programmes we offer. We have an amazing group of experts who treat our guests like family. In the end, that's what it's all about no matter if I'm personally guiding a tour or if it's another member of our team. We take care of the details so that our guests can have all of those "wow" moments they've been dreaming about.

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