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Useful Tips for Group Leaders


The Van Galder Tour & Travel department has prepared a list of useful tips to help ensure the success of professional group tour organizers:


1. Plan ahead! 

A successful overnight tour is usually planned at least 6 months in advance. But even for one-day trips, most passengers  want to plan their personal calendars well in advance. Extended tours need to be preplanned in order to sell successfully.


2. Research your destination and try to involve as many in your group as possible when selecting your vacation.

A destination that people have already been to or that is unpopular may not do as well as you would like.


3. Pick / plan a tour that you feel fits not only your clients expectations, but also their pocket book!

Your group's full support is vital! Keep in mind we are here to help. We have the MOST up-to-date information on special destinations.


4. Make sure that your tour does not conflict with another local tour, special event in the community or holiday.

Use your networking skills and ensure you have as many peoples' support as possible going into the adventure.


5. Offer "early bird" specials for sign-ups. People need a reason to sign up.

This is a good way to get them to make a decision early for you to budget. Do a "drawing" for a free trip if you sign up by X-date By doing this, it gives people a reason to sign up early.


6. Consider opening tour to public if not full with "group" members.

If your tour is not filling up as nicely as expected, there are many things to consider prior to canceling tour try to contact other groups to see if they would like to join the tour meet with other group leaders and offer the tour open tour to the general public. Call existing clients and tell them there are seats available and if they have any family, or friends that are interested, to please have them call.


7. Consider blocking space on one of Van Galders' Tour and Travel retail packages.

If you have 10 passengers or more and have allowed enough advance notice, we will make a special pickup. If you have 15 or more passengers we will give you one complimentary package to travel with your clients.


8. Study your destination, it will make selling your tour much easier-you will be able to answer specific questions.

Spend some time on the internet. Everyone has a website, use them to your advantage! AAA State guidebooks are also great options, as are travel magazines, and local Convention & Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) or Chambers of Commerce.


9. Let Van Galder handle the "operational" part of tour ... allowing you to focus on the "selling" part!

We can do as much or as little as you wish. You provide the destination, dates, what you want to see (or we can give you ideas) and let us do the rest. We can make all of the reservations for hotels, meals, theatre, attractions, etc. You will not have to worry about deadlines, contracts, and final counts.  We will deal with all of the vendors and make all of the arrangements.


Doing it this way, frees you up to SELL the tour.


Once all of the details have been determined we will provide you with the price per person based on passengers counts. We will provide you one contract from us, which will details the terms and conditions specific to your tour. Our rates on custom tours are NET rates and we can build in the cost of a Van Galder Tour Director and include complimentary packages for you or another group leader if requested. Then you decide what you want to sell the tour for and you're off and running!


10. Invite our sales representative to your next meeting.  We can give a presentation about your destination to help you try and create some excitement.


11. Become active in your community/network. The more people you know and talk to, the more people you have to sell the tour to.


12. Sell tour at EVERY meeting you attend. Remember to ALWAYS take waitlist names, you never know what is going to happen.


13. Keep a list of ALL clients that have traveled with you in the past and share the news! Create a flyer about the tour and: 

  • Fax it

  • E-mail it

  • Mail it (no envelope needed, fold and mail)

  • Hand it out


14. Send postcards to clients as reminders.


15. Don't forget family and friends! They can be great traveling companions (and support)!


16. Use all of the advertising tools you can possibly find:

  • Group newsletters/bulletins boards

  • Church bulletins

  • Supermarket bulletin boards

  • Newspaper activity columns

  • Local Cable TV public announcements

  • Social media! Facebook Twitter, Shapchat, Instagram. Ask your kids or grandkids to help you, if you don't know how! 

Van Galder Bus Company

A Division of Coach USA

715 S. Pearl St.

Janesville WI 53548

Daily Service to Chicago O'Hare • Downtown

Charter Service • 1-800-747-0994

Tour & Travel • 1-800-747-7407