Convention Tours are a great way for new and experienced Group Coordinators to get to know each other, share their tips and connect with Go Ahead staff. To find out the full scoop on why these exclusive tours are so valuable, we sat down with Robin, Director of Group Sales & Marketing, for a Q&A about the Convention Tour experience.
How would you describe a Convention Tour?
Conventions are truly the best of two worlds—an exclusive tour led by one of our most experienced Tour Directors in an inspirational destination combined with a dynamic hands-on meeting designed to stimulate feedback, generate ideas and share best practices between Group Coordinators and Go Ahead staff. Convention Tours have taken groups of Group Coordinators to London, Prague, Iceland, Peru, Portugal, Sicily, Budapest and Thailand, just to name a few. They are truly unique experiences in that everyone is deeply invested in not only seeing the world for themselves, but generously sharing it with others.
Tell us about your favorite Convention Tour experience. Where did you go? What made it so special and memorable?
It’s hard to choose a favorite, as I have had tremendously memorable experiences on all four Convention Tours that I’ve been on! However, there was something very unique and special about my first one, which took a small group of us to Peru. We visited not only the well-known spots such as Cuzco and Machu Picchu, but also the tiny floating islands on Lake Titicaca, a local school in the Hidden Valley and a tucked-away Eco Lodge on the banks of the Amazon. I will never forget the incredible innocence and wonder on the glowing faces of the children of the island of Uros. One little girl stuck by my side for my entire visit and asked to wear my pink scarf. She was so attached to it and looked so angelic that I asked her to keep it. I still think back on that experience and wonder if she’s still wearing my scarf to this day!
What are some things you’ve learned from our travel community while on Convention Tours?
I’ve learned so many valuable lessons about travel, organization, patience, discovery and gratitude. I’ve learned that the best Group Coordinators look at every tour as an opportunity to open the world to others and that nothing extinguishes their passion. I’ve learned that it’s important to turn delays or cancellations or surprises into chances for laughter and bonding. It’s crucially important to be organized and ask questions in order to set proper expectations for every group member so that all travelers feel supported in the lead-up to departure. And I’ve learned that travelers love to talk about travel—they’re the best storytellers in the world!
How can first-time Group Coordinators benefit from attending Convention? What about very experienced Group Coordinators?
Convention Tours are fun for everyone no matter your level of experience. New Coordinators can learn a lot from our experienced travelers. Our upcoming Sicily Convention, for example, will be an opportunity for more experienced Group Coordinators to mentor and train new leaders.
What are you looking forward to seeing at Convention Tours in the future?
I’m thrilled to have seen the demand for Convention Tours increase dramatically since I started in this role. Recent Convention Tours have sold out very quickly—Budapest sold out in only six hours! Therefore I am excited about introducing even more of them to our community, varying our Convention meeting agenda to keep things fresh and exciting and bringing together more Go Ahead staff with our extraordinary Group Coordinators.