Tour managers organise and accompany groups of holidaymakers on tours to a wide variety of UK and overseas locations.
They are responsible for ensuring travel arrangements for holidaymakers run as smoothly as possible from beginning to end, as well as providing them with practical support throughout the trip.
Tour managers have in-depth knowledge of a particular area/region and may act as tour guides during the tour. On overseas tours, they use their language skills and knowledge, for example of the culture or history of an area, to ensure the tour goes smoothly and that holidaymakers enjoy themselves.
Most tour managers work on a self-employed basis for tour operators, ranging from international companies to small, special interest operators.
This is a demanding, varied and rewarding role.
Tour managers may also be known as tour directors.
Typical work activities
Tour managers usually accompany groups travelling by coach, although on specialist tours travel may be by mini-bus, car, boat, train or plane.
Duties usually include:
- welcoming groups of holidaymakers at their starting point and announcing details of travel arrangements and stop-over points;
- checking tickets and other relevant documents, seat allocations and any special requirements;
- helping with passport and immigration issues;
- assisting holidaymakers check-in and settle into their accommodation;
- communicating a range of information on itineraries, destinations and culture;
- informing passengers of arrival and departure times at each destination on the itinerary and ensuring that all members of the group are back on the coach before departing from each stop;
- developing a specialist area of knowledge;
- using professional knowledge to answer questions from holidaymakers and to fulfil their expectations of the tour;
- making sure all travel arrangements run according to plan and that accommodation, meals and service are satisfactory;
- organising entry to attractions and transport, such as car hire;
- ensuring that the tour is running smoothly for individual members of the group;
- responding to questions and offering help with any problems that arise, ranging from simple matters, such as directing a member of the group to the nearest chemist, to more serious issues, such as tracing lost baggage;
- dealing with emergencies, such as helping a holidaymaker who is ill or those needing to contact family members urgently;
- making contact in advance with places to stay or visit to check details and arrangements;
- liaising with hotels, coach companies, restaurants and other clients;
- advising about facilities, such as sights, restaurants and shops, at each destination;
- occasionally making accommodation bookings on proposed dates;
- organising and attending tourism events, conferences, workshops, seminars and exhibitions;
- writing reports and maintaining records;
- providing feedback after a tour as part of a debrief session.
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