Over the years we frequently have been approached to create private tours for a group of friends, a social organization, or a business. When these work, they are super fun. 90% of the time they don’t work because they the group never gets organized.
Earlier this month I ran two private group tours in Europe. The first was a Provence biking tour for the American Women of Berkshire and Surrey, a social group of American women living in the London area. This group has traveled with us for three years in a row and while the group members change each year, the trip is always fun. The Provence tour followed on the heals of an Umbria, Italy tour in 2008 and a Rioja, Spain tour in 2009.
Our group of 16 plus Zephyr’s Italian guide Giovanni and me had a super time. This was a special group, with a couple of women (thanks Amie and Janell) who were infectiously fun and most of the rest of whom willingly joined in the frivolity. Four of the group (Dee, Cynthia, Linda, and Amy) had traveled with us for all three tours and so were the veterans who kept the group together.
The second group tour was for the St. John’s Wood Women’s Club, an organization in a different area of London that is similar to and heard about Zephyr via the American Women of Berkshire and Surrey. This group traveled with us for the first time this year and 20 women plus Giovanni and I did a five-day biking tour in Umbria.
This group was also unique, in that everyone was strong on the bike. We rarely had to use the van for shuttling at all and most of the women completed the Medium route each day. This despite threatening rain on a few occasions. I spent two enjoyable days biking long route loops with a handful of riders, once to the wine town Montefalco and a second time on a hill loop near Spoleto. This common ability level is unusual on our tours and is a product of the private group.
Of course, it is no surprise why these trips tend to be extremely fun. The participants all know each other and have a common thread. In this case, both groups were women in their 40s and 50s. They arrived ready for a good time.
What many in the groups don’t know is I spent months working with a key organizer from each group to set up the trip, pick a date, and create a page for the tour on our website. The organizer, Dee for the first group and Kelly for the second, then had to spend many more months promoting the trip to the club members via email, newsletters, and personal conversations.
In short, it is a lot of work organizing a private tour. And this was for two groups that succeeded in lifting off. Most group organizers never get past the stage of emailing a few friends to gauge their interest. The simple fact is it is difficult to get people on the same page as far as timing, destination, and cost for such a tour. It takes an organizer is who is committed and, well, organized to make a private tour succeed.
So what is the lesson for you, a potential organizer of a private tour for your friends, for your upcoming milestone birthday, for your business customers, or for your next family reunion? First, we at Zephyr would love to have you join us on a Private Adventure. Second, be prepared to spend time and effort getting people to join you!