Every year Wells Gray Tours holds an annual staff retreat. With five offices in BC and 5 tour directors and Wally, our mascot out on the road in various areas of the world, the planning is challenging. However, bringing everyone together provides invaluable insight into the challenges encountered in every segment of our operations. This year’s host for our retreat was the city of Portland, Oregon. This beautiful city is one that Wells Gray Tours often includes in our tour itineraries and is one that offers a good mixture of attractions, local tours and culinary delights. Hosting a destination retreat provides the entire staff with a chance to experience the city and some of the attractions that it could offer our clients on future tours.
Pat, a new member of our Kelowna office attended her first retreat and said, “Firsthand knowledge of destinations is invaluable for staff as we can pass this information on to our clients. The more we know about our destinations & tours, the easier it is to sell it to our clients.” Allyson, from our Kamloops office also attended her first retreat and says, “The location and activities were well suited to our mixed ages and abilities and I enjoyed everything.” Both Pat and Allyson also felt that the firsthand experience with activities such as the Segway city tour will be helpful to not only the tour planners but also to staff when they share their knowledge with our customers.
We all had the opportunity to see the city on a Segway tour and from my perspective, it was awesome! I have watched security officers in various airports ride around on these and often wondered about the experience. As we were each waiting for our test drive before the tour began, there was a mixture of excitement and apprehension among the staff. However, once we were all ready to venture out, there was not one among us that felt they could they could not step up to challenge of trying something new. Here is what I see as the advantage to touring a city tour on a Segway; you are out in the fresh air but not in traffic as the Segway moves easily and safely along sidewalks, it is easy to stop at sights, there is no bus to get off and on and most of all its fun. Even though I was feeling a little apprehensive about the experience, I ended up feeling empowered as did all my colleagues. You are never too old to learn something new! While this tour was one of the retreat highlights, visiting other attractions, taking a Brewvana Tour and sampling food from different restaurants made for a well-rounded city experience.
The meat of the retreat of course is the meetings portion and one in which the entire staff participates. Pat commented, “It is immeasurable for the company as all staff are encouraged to present their ideas for new tours, tour inclusions & exclusions, cost saving tips, streamlining processes, how to work more efficiently and help to set a plan for the company’s goals & direction. Staff returned home with renewed energy and excitement which transforms into happier and more productive employees.”
Allyson also observed, “The team gelled well and has a great amount of respect for each other no matter their role or length of time with the company.”
Wally says, “The staff retreat is all about making your future travel experience with Wells Gray Tours the best.”
Written by Joan Niemeier, Allyson, Pat and Wally