Despite snowy weather, our annual staff retreat in Calgary was deemed a success by all attendees.
This year’s hosts for our meeting were Travel Alberta and the downtown International Hotel in Calgary. We were very lucky to have Travel Alberta team member Samantha Bos help with all the planning. Cameron Wood, who is the Manager of Business Development and Global Projects from Travel Alberta did a presentation on all that is new and exciting in Alberta and they even hosted our staff for an amazing dinner. A big thank you to our own Stephanie Dilling, General Manger, who worked so hard to coordinate all the aspects of the retreat.
Our retreat had four new staff members attending for the first time and each of them gleaned insight.
- Kamloops Reservations Manager, Paige Kimberly says, “What a great weekend of meetings, comradery and sight-seeing. The weekend allows the opportunity for our entire team including our mascot Wally, tour directors, office sales/reservations, marketing, planning and operations mangers to put their heads together to come up with new ideas, revamp past ideas, and discuss our tour experiences and client feedback. These retreats create cohesion, consistency and innovation. I’m so happy to be part of such an amazing team, which in turn creates lifetime memories for all our clients. “
- Jill Cope, Customer Service Representative shares, “The retreat provided an opportunity to meet everyone and put faces to names. As a team we are a well-orchestrated wheel with many departments and getting everyone together keeps that the wheel operating smoothly. I am very excited about the additional tours for the remainder of 2018 and the sensational new ones for 2019!”
- Pam Stewart, Operations Assistant, said, “My position in Operations specifically coincides with the tour directors, who I see very infrequently. Being a part of their meeting and hearing the challenges they face, provided me with opportunities to change some aspects of my work that otherwise I would not have known were areas needing improvement. I am in the same office as 9 of the 25+ staff of Wells Gray Tours so getting everyone together allowed me to understand the impact my work has on other team members.”
- Tour Director, Laura McWilliam expressed, “As a tour director, we work on our own, so I found it helpful to meet with the other tour directors, to share ideas & stories from the road, as well as compare notes on common issues so these situations could be dealt with as a team. I loved that everyone was encouraged to submit ideas for future tours and talk about why they thought their tour idea would be a good fit. For each itinerary item, we all were encouraged to put in our two cents. I felt that everyone was listened to, and their ideas were taken seriously. I’ve worked in other organizations where the concept of ‘team sharing’ was encouraged, but was never the reality.”
Another big weekend item is always presented by our Director of Sales & Marketing, Kerrie Niemeier on new advertising initiatives, sales training and website changes. For you, changes to our website this year will ensure our site is more user friendly and easier to navigated. We always encourage input from you, our customers.
Adding the activity levels icon on the front page of our tour lists on the website will let you know immediately how active you should be to enjoy all the tour activities. In addition, hovering your mouse over the provides an explanation of the activity level requirements.
Tell us where you would like to go! Wally could “bearly” contain his excitement when he was successful in securing a new permanent spot on the website. Wally’s idea was that as our mascot, he is always on the road meeting you, our clients and hearing about exciting places you would like to visit. He thought it would be perfect “bear spot” for collecting your ideas and getting that information to our tour planners. Take a look at our Wells Gray Tours website and you will now see Wally inviting you to tell him where you would like to on your next holiday. Suggestions can be a city, a country or an event. Our planning department can now see with one easy click what places you, our clients are thinking about for future trips. Once we have a few ideas for a certain place or event, the planning department will begin researching that area. Please take time to visit Wally and leave him with your great idea.
The entire staff at Wells Gray Tours is excited about the new destinations we are planning for 2019 and hope to see many of you join us.
Written by: Joan Niemeier with Paige Kimberly, Jill Cope, Pam Stewart, Laura MCWilliam and Wally.