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Career Story: General Manager Of A Tour Operating Company

General Manager Of A Tour Operating Company

Job Title: General Manager Of A Travel Agency And Tour Package Operator

Type of Company: I work for a full service travel agency. We are a tour operator that primarily focuses on special events and group travel.

Education: BA, Romance Languages, Boston College

Previous Experience: I started at Saga Holidays as a sales rep in 1989 and worked at Liberty Travel and Marathon Tours before joining my current company. I worked in all departments of the agency including day-to-day operations, c/s and tour management.

Job Tasks: I currently oversee the daily operations of a full-service travel company and tour operator. I manage a staff of five persons and deal directly with our marketing and operations departments. I am responsible for scheduling and for hiring and training staff.

I work directly with high school and college tour planners to craft trips to their particular specifications, making presentations in the process to students, families and staff. I am responsible while planning these trips for contracting air transport, ground transportation, guides and hotel accommodations. I also have to market the trips and collect payments. As general manager, I work with corporate travel accounts and individuals too. I cooperate with our sister company to arrange airfare for groups and individuals to special events such as Bonnaroo Music Festival, Riders Ranch, Florida State University Bowl Games, and New England Patriots regular season and Superbowl packages.

Interacting with clients on an individual level and providing exceptional customer service is our number one priority. As GM, I try to instill the importance of service into our staff. But maintaining and growing our client base is extremely important to me too.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is the people I work with. We share a commitment to each other and our clients. My schedule is fairly flexible and my vacation benefits are very good. The job is rarely boring and there are always new challenges. Working with our vendors is perhaps the most frustrating part of the job.

Job Tips: If I were to give advice on entering this profession, I would caution people to do their homework. Travel is highly competitive and very stressful. Starting salaries are low and advancement can be difficult. I would recommend working with a specific type of tour operator or as part of a company that organizes group and meeting travel.

Additional Thoughts: Avoid working for airlines and car companies!

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