There’s nothing quite like Paris in the spring. The gardens at Versailles begin to awaken from their winter’s slumber, cafes fling open their windows to the sidewalks and Parisians shed their long overcoats and reclaim their rightful place among the world’s snazziest dressers. Go Ahead’s Heidi Durflinger and Lindsay Link got a taste of Paris’ springtime joie de vivre this March at our annual Group Coordinator Orientation.
Group Coordinator Conventions are designed to help our Group Coordinators learn new tips for recruiting, get an inside look into group logistics and experience a taste of another Go Ahead tour location. Group Coordinator Bettye Carpenter said it well: “The practical information about how a tour works is valuable in answering questions for the travel group. Having the opportunity to share tips with other passionate tour leaders is awesome; however, interacting with those who are just as passionate about sharing travel with others is priceless. Group Coordinator John Cushwa put it simply: “Why attend a convention? Because it’s just an amazing experience!” And Group Coordinator Silvana Andrew called attending an Orientation “a must” for group Coordinators of all experience levels: “Even if [you’ve] been taking groups abroad for years, there is always space for new ideas, new tips and new energy.”
Lindsay and Heidi organized workshops with our Group Coordinators and listened to their feedback on how we can make our vacations even better. “We heard some great suggestions on how to improve…everything from changes to the My Account section on our website to emails with packing tips,” said Lindsay, a Go Ahead Tour Consultant since February 2010. But the real fun came when Heidi, Lindsay and the Group Coordinators set off on a tour of the City of Light.
“Everyone loved our Tour Director J.J. [Jean-Jacques Legalle], and for people who hadn’t been on our tours before, he really was the perfect introductory Tour Director” recalls Heidi. “Our hotel was near Rue Montparnasse, a street that’s known for its creperies, and at one point we had a little downtime. Some of us had expressed an interest in seeing Notre-Dame if we could fit it into the schedule, and J.J. made it happen. I don’t know when he found the time to organize our unscheduled walking tour to Notre-Dame, but he did it, and it was one of our favorite experiences in Paris. That’s why we always make sure our Tour Directors are locals who know the area like the back of their hand—you never know when you’ll have the opportunity to do something extraordinary!”
This was Lindsay’s first trip to Paris since high school, so she got to experience the journey in much the same way as many of our Group Coordinators. “I loved every second of my time in Paris. Staying in Montparnasse was amazing. It’s a cozy part of town, close to numerous pastry shops, theaters, shops and the Rue du Montparnasse, a street with 14 creperies! Without J.J. guiding us, I could have stayed there all day!”
If you’ve ever wanted to travel for free (who hasn’t?), consider becoming a Go Ahead Group Coordinator. When you recruit just 12 full-paying Group Members, you receive two free places on your tour. That’s the best free-place ratio in the industry! For more information, click here.
What are your favorite memories of Paris? Leave a comment and let us know!