A Peak Behind the Curtain on Spring Student Travel
We live in a world that searches for authenticity. People want to know beyond public personas and sales pitches. As we walk through the White House on a tour, do we not wonder what the President is really like behind closed doors? When we meet our Senator or Representative on the steps of the United States Capitol, do we not wonder about the work they’re really doing, if they serve others or themselves? From government officials to educational travel companies, there is a natural curiosity to know who they really are. To know if they are legitimate and trustworthy. Think of the following article as a sort of glimpse behind the GTA curtain, a snapshot of sorts of our staff during the busy Spring student group travel season – of who we really are.
Full disclosure, I am Tim Smith, the Lead Guide at Global Travel Alliance. Hence, I’m an employee of the company, so one could accuse me of company bias while writing this piece. Fair enough. But as a part of the Global Travel Alliance team with a hand in trip delivery to all of our students, parents and teachers, I have a unique vantage point. I am behind the curtain, I’m on the inside and I know how the sausage gets made, as it were. Well, let me give you a little taste of who Global Travel Alliance is, from “top” to “bottom.”
In May, the President of the company, Ethan, chose to travel to Washington, D.C. to meet the first of our 2021 groups to visit the area in order to show them our gratitude. A thoughtful gesture alone worthy of mention. But, after returning home following the first successful tours (and our first tour of wonderful Pittsburgh!), he returned to spend 2 full weeks in the Washington, D.C. area during the busiest time of our trip season to not only meet as many groups as possible, but to help. He thanked teachers, engaged with students, listened to guides and vendors and otherwise simply gave himself to service, whatever that looked like. From the humble acts of distributing vouchers and helping students “chap up” (educational travel jargon!), to making sure every group had what they needed for a successful tour; none of it was beneath him.
Meanwhile, two of our Vice Presidents were also in the field getting their hands dirty. One, Steve, was actually guiding one of our groups, using some of his many talents to lead students and teachers on their unforgettable class trips. Anyone who has guided a group of middle schoolers on their class trip knows the toil it takes to lead a tour. Early mornings to make certain breakfast is on time; late evenings confirming hotel security is in position; and all manner of details in between. With all of it, Steve does not hesitate to serve in whatever capacity is needed just to make certain that students and teachers have a successful tour.
Another of our Vice Presidents, Ryan, also offered his services to these important class trips. He, too, was there to show gratitude, support to our teachers and guides and generally to help make these tours unforgettable for students. No duty was too menial, even when that meant waking early to help facilitate the morning or staying late to assist with hotel check-in, both integral to good touring.
The examples could continue. J.J., our Director of Art and Design, also guiding a tour, making sure every detail was addressed to give the best tour possible. Tori, from our operations team, serving groups in myriad ways on Saturday and Sunday just because that’s when it had to be done. Our guides, working on their days off to ensure that all vendors are prepared for the group’s arrival, that they not only have all materials for the tour, but that they are organized for efficient handout. And on and on…
If you’ve read our blog posts or articles before, you know we use the phrase “building bridges and changing lives through educational travel.” It’s a motto, an animating principle, an active pursuit for us. The reality is that we know building these bridges that change lives takes service. And from the top down, we are a company that lives that out. It’s the truth and we’ll be happy to prove it to you.
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