We decided to dedicate an article to those who play an important and pivotal role in our company ensuring smooth and memorable experiences of groups on vacations, whether in India or abroad. Dedicated professionals who are the linchpins that bind the entire travel journey together, seamlessly orchestrating every aspect of the trip. Their significance lies in their ability to handle logistics, manage group dynamics, and offer expert guidance throughout the excursion.
From coordinating transportation and accommodation arrangements to providing insightful information about destinations and cultural nuances, they serve as a valuable resource for travellers. Their adeptness in problem-solving and adaptability in unforeseen circumstances make them indispensable in guaranteeing a stress-free and enjoyable travel experience for our customers.
They can make or mar a company, depending on whether a customer returns because of a wonderful experience, or vows never to do so because of a disaster!
They are the company’s Tour Managers and Quality Control Managers (QCMs) …. Our brand ambassadors and the face of the company!
We asked Shreyas Devare – Associate Vice President, Head Tour Management, to tell us what it involves to be a Tour Manager. Here is his take on it:
“During my 20 years of experience, I have observed that, often when we go to another destination or country, our passengers may feel a wide range of emotions, some feel excited and curious, a few may feel anxious and overwhelmed. The bold ones experience a sense of adventure, and look forward to experiencing a new culture and way of life, while others could feel homesick and miss their loved ones. It is important to know that these are normal reactions. All of this evens out as soon as they meet our Tour Manager. His or her primary mantra is to make the guests settle down, and make them feel happy, comfortable and confident.
Eventually, it is about making every effort to ensure that our Customers plan to take yet another holiday with us. The tour Manager is that very important connection between the organisation and the customer. Truly the Brand Ambassador, and an advocate for the Company.
Our Tour Manager also takes on the role of a father, mother, brother, sister, friend, guide and assistant, all rolled into one! It is second nature not to show any traces of stress, personal or professional. Moreover, our Tour Managers have to be sharp and alert enough to know the ‘pulse’ of the group members. Whether they themselves are happy and enjoying it all, or upset in any way, they have to be sensitive to their clients, and concentrate on everything happening around them.
Tour Managers often stay away from their families for long periods of time. The group becomes their family. But it can also be a very enriching experience meeting people from across the world, imbibing different cultures. You get remunerated well, and learn a lot, not only about the countries and their culture, but one also gets trained to understand and handle people well. Most of them are equipped with excellent communication skills, energy, dynamism, a sense of humour, and a strong memory! That is why I call a Tour Manager the Last Man Standing, who ensures that our customers return with great memories, and still ask for more.”
About the QCMs, Shreyas informed us:
“QCMs or Quality Control Managers are equally important team members of the Tour Management team. This role was created in 2015, when we wanted to ensure that their good on-ground expertise and understanding of the place/country would contribute in making fundamental / nuanced changes to product design and on-ground service delivery.
Each of the continents, where we have our groups in the series format, has its own QCM or a set of QCMs depending on the size of the business and requirement. Also for our MICE businesses at Thomas Cook and at SOTC, we have a dedicated team of QCMs who travel with these Corporate Groups, to make sure that on the ground, quality and delivery are well taken care of.
These QCMs are predominantly Tour Managers with at least 15 years of experience in escorting tours themselves. Their role is to advise the product teams in terms of the inclusions and design of the products. This also includes on-ground quality control and time-to-time evaluation of delivery, making changes whenever, and wherever, things are not as per plan, competition mapping, new attractions, finding unique experiences which can be implemented in the products, ensuring top quality of all services as rendered by the Tour Managers.
Since the time we introduced the QCM concept, we have seen marked enhancement in our products and services, while customer satisfaction has gone up to a different scale. There is always room for improvement, and our team is continuously looking for ways of improving our services, and constantly raising the bar.”
Below is a list of our present QCM team across all destinations.
|Sr.No||Name of QCM||Destination|
|7||Neeta Moghe||Australia & NZ|
|8||Martin D’Costa||TC Mice|
|9||Sudhir Khedekar||TC Mice|
|10||Manoj Davda||TC Mice|
|11||Lawrence Estebeiro||TC Mice|
|12||Ajinkya Kulkarni||SOTC Mice|
|13||Guru Iyer||SOTC Mice|
|14||Akshay Sharma||L & D QCM|