It occurred to me that if you’ve just been watching our Facebook coverage for our annual tour guide summit, you’d think all we did was party. Well, the guides have all gone home now, and we’re back at our desks — sorting through all of the great ideas generated by the tour-itinerary roundtables that were the actual work of the summit.
Each day for over a week, all of our conference rooms here were booked with guides from various countries meeting with the appropriate members of our Tour Operations team. They spent long hours debating the fine points of their itineraries and sharing lessons they learned from last year’s experience and experiments. None of our itineraries are broken, but they can all evolve as we grow with our traveling public and fine-tune the structure of what we hope are trips of a lifetime.
In 2013, we took 16,000 travelers on over 600 tours. They came with high expectations (about half of them were alums coming back for second, third, and fourth Rick Steves tours). And, judging from our feedback, we met or exceeded nearly all of those expectations. We break from this huddle energized and enthused…confident that we have the perfect itineraries to match the travel dreams of our tour members.
Thanks to our guides for coming all the way from their homes — most of them in Europe — to Seattle in the dead of winter. Thanks to my amazing staff here at Europe Through the Back Door for designing and hosting this successful summit week. And thanks to all of the travelers who keep us so busy by joining us on our tours. We love this work. And we love traveling with you!