Person of the Week
Sometimes your skills on a resume don’t shine, but in real life these may be very powerful skills. You have to dig in and look at what you are good at and do it. I decided to be a bus tour operator because it’s a good combination of all my skills. Don’t get distracted by small things that don’t always matter. Stay focused on your goal which for me is to keep people having a good time, entertained, and enjoying themselves. That’s the key.
1. What led you to the mission of being a tour operator?
Being a tour operator gives me the opportunity to use my talents. I decided to be a bus tour operator because it’s a good combination of all my skills. I’ve always been good with people, personable, and loved being on stage. I have acting skills and love entertaining people. (Click here to see the Magic Bus Tours website.)
All these things can be unique skills. They can be brought together and can be well suited to be a tour operator. It takes those abilities to be able to entertain people, to read people, keep them comfortable, and keep them engaged. Those people skills and special qualities that an individual has can make a lot of people well suited for the tourism or tour operator field.
Any business where you are catering to the tourist sector though sightseeing tours is a very broad spectrum. There are a lot of opportunities in this field. I do a variety of services – tour guide, tour operator, all the above!
2. What does this mission mean to you?
What it means to me to be a tour operator is to be an ambassador to the world. What it means to be a tour guide is a great responsibility to show a little bit of what is below the surface of life. I am here for other people and to introduce them to interesting parts of the world.
I live in an interesting part of the community. There is so much local history, local breweries, the paranormal experiences, small farming communities, and local wineries. I can introduce people to these interesting aspects of our local community and a different part of the world. I educate people and do it in a manner that is entertaining and fun.
3. What was your best day as a tour operator?
I would have to say that my very best day was when I had a large group of people on a local tour in our community. They were coming from outside of the country. They were having a rough go. They had had some tough troubles with their traveling. Their flights were delayed. Their baggage had been lost. They were in a state where there are 300 days of sun a year. Since they arrived, there had been a couple of days of wet, rainy, and dreary weather.
There was some flooding in the area so they couldn’t do some of the activities they wanted. They took one of our tours and had such a wonderful time. I gave them a really special experience. I think the tour shined a great light on their experience – not just in our community, but also for the whole country. That really is what sets me on fire – the feeling of being able to make someone say, “Wow!”
4. What was your worst day as a tour operator?
My worst day was when I had a large private tour of a very important group of a local company in Fort Collins where my tour bus company is located. We had gone to pick the group up at their location. That day the air conditioning started failing on the bus. This was about a ninety-five degree day. It was in the middle of the day with twenty people on the bus.
When you are standing in front of twenty people entertaining them, they may not vocalize it but — how do you say it — body language is seventy percent of communication. I was staring at twenty people and I could pick up on all the little signs of their discomfort. It became clear very quick that these guys were paying less attention to me and more attention to the A/C unit that was not working on the bus.
That was pretty rough day. They were all pretty understanding. I did my best to play it off and to pass out a lot of cold water to keep everybody well hydrated. At the end of the day, we were able to open up the windows and get a little fresh air on the bus. Everybody still had a wonderful time. We just had to make some light jokes about it and carry on with the tour.
5. How did you survive your worst day?
“The show must go on” — as they say in the theater! I stay focused. That’s the most important thing. Don’t get distracted by small things that don’t always matter. Stay focused on your goal which for me is to keep people having a good time, entertained, and enjoying themselves. That’s the key – to stay focused and try to keep your mind where you are not distracted by small things that may go wrong. Things will always go wrong. It is sure true.
Don’t be afraid to take a risk. At the base of it is to focus on what you are doing. Sometimes your skills on a resume don’t shine, but in real life these may be very powerful skills. You have to dig in and look at what you are good at and do it.