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Tour manager: Salary and conditions

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  • Typical starting salaries for tour managers in full-time employment: £15,000 - £20,000 plus board and lodging when on tour.
  • Salary levels with three to five years' experience: £25,000 - £30,000.
  • Typical salary at senior levels: £30,000+, though for tour managers with extensive experience, salaries may be higher.
  • Pay is usually calculated per day, with rates and expenses varying between companies. Salaries vary considerably depending on the company, location/country visited and type of tour.
  • Salary may be enhanced by commission and tips; the amount will depend on the clients and the tour. Industry conditions also have an impact on salary levels.
  • The work is often seasonal, with more jobs available during the holiday periods. Tour managers may take on other work to boost income.
  • Tour managers involved in the planning and organisation of tours or special interest holidays may be employed continuously, especially with large tour operators.
  • Tour managers are often self-employed, working on a freelance basis, moving from one tour to another.
  • As tour managers are responsible for holidaymakers throughout their tour, working hours are generally from early morning through until late in the evening, including weekends. You may be on call 24 hours a day in case of an emergency.
  • The nature of the work means that tour managers are often working and living out of a suitcase, with frequent moves and without an office base.
  • Work may be at a variety of locations in the UK and frequently overseas.
  • The work is often without supervision and there is usually considerable contact with clients.
  • Job levels are affected by the political and economic climate in the UK and overseas.
  • Tour managers need to be physically fit to deal with the frequent long hours of work and the occasional need for a lot of walking, as well as to help passengers with luggage.
  • Tour managers are always on show during a tour so your appearance and clothing must be smart and behaviour exemplary. Most tour managers wear a uniform.
  • The amount of free time available and opportunities to socialise vary, but this can be a very rewarding job balanced with the demands of working with people in variable circumstances.
  • Periods of time away from home may have an impact on your personal life.
  • Travel within a working day, absence from home overnight and overseas work and travel are all integral to the job.

Salary figures are intended as a guide only.

Written by AGCAS editors
March 2013

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