A Rousing Reunion Week at ETBD
The first week of February marked our 20th Annual Tour Reunion, drawing 1500 recent tour alums from all over the USA and Canada. At the same time, we hosted a bunch of European friends, and 80 of our favorite tour guides. While everyone else came to have a good time, the guides came to work (okay, they played a little, too).
|Beloved guide Arthur Smith regaled our guides and alums with Scottish wit.|
Half of each day was devoted to a particular Rick Steves tour we offer. Rick, the guides, and our tour operations staff met to review each itinerary in the kind of detail that only a tour guide could love. The passion our guides have for their work was evident in the energy they brought to these discussions (as they usually work "solo" on the road, this was a rare chance for guides to bravely toss ideas around in a room filled with their colleagues). After two dozen of these meetings, everyone emerged a bit bleary-eyed, but more excited than ever about the quality of tours we'll have in store for travelers in 2005.
As though that weren't enough, between meetings Rick pulled guides and guests into our brand new sound studio, to record interviews for his upcoming weekly public radio show, "Travel With Rick Steves." Primarily a call-in show, it will also feature interviews and caller conversations with guests and travel experts from all over the globe. Our "reunion week" provided a great opportunity to record travel tips and insights from our friends visiting from Ireland, Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Poland, Turkey and beyond.
The days were capped off with a series of happy hours with our guides and staff, including a couple of rowdy nights of dancing at Rick's house. It takes a real tour guide to immerse herself in history and logistics all day, and have plenty of stamina left over to dance for hours on end.
The week concluded with two noisy days of reunion parties with hundreds of our tour alums, and free "Test Drive a Tour Guide" presentations featuring our (still) energetic guides. What a great way to kick off another year of travel!
It was a week that won't be equaled for pleasure and productivity...until this time next year.
(For a closer look at all those finely-crafted itineraries, check out our 2005 tours.)