Jeff Alexander

Denver, Colorado, United States

Travel Director, Tour Leader

Unravel Travel

Seeing the world is one thing, witnessing others have life changing travel experiences that you arranged--wow! The best part of what I do is that I get to educate others and broaden their world-views while following my passion. It’s the best job in the world!

I started traveling and working abroad in 1999, which led to me creating a small-scale tour business, Unravel Travel, running trips on four continents.

I’ve always worked in hospitality, but things really changed when I set out to explore the world on my own. Since then, I've worked in restaurants and bars overseas, on sailboats, as a movie extra, volunteered at a Thai vegan Buddhist commune, worked as a SCUBA dive master and rafting guide and led small group adventure/cultural tours in 16 countries on four continents.

Here's are a few of the most important aspects of being a tour leader you will gain in our PivotPlanet time together:
• Get an overview of the travel industry, how tours are designed and marketed by tour operators, industry trends and niches
• Learn how to conduct research - sources of information, finding appropriate activities
• Prepare for the tour - confirm reservations, finalize itineraries, identify contingency plans, complete trip notes, print passenger info packets
• Understand how to conduct and oversee included activities and optional activities- what they are, how to present them, operate them and money handling
• Learn how to professionally handle a group - interaction, sharing your attention and communication skills
• Discuss group psychology and behavior– group leadership, client emergencies, difficult passengers, conflict resolution, establishing credibility and setting expectations

NOTE: I am in Antarctica until March, 2013. I am available to provide expertise and advice via telephone (I call you) while I am "on the ice". I will be available for live video and in-person mentorship once again in April, 2013. Thanks! Jeff

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I have found my calling and a way to live the life I've always wanted. I get to share the world and amazing cultural and adventure experiences with people. I take people on the types of trips I would like to go on. I love taking first time travelers and seeing the world open up before their eyes.

I can share with you my experiences in starting a travel business, handling marketing, operations and customer service and provide you with the tools and knowledge necessary to become an excellent tour leader/manager/director. You can build the travel business of your dreams!

The hardest thing is taking the first step, but once you do it becomes easier and you gain the confidence you'll need to follow your passion. Missteps usually just make great stories. Anyone who has a desire to travel, loves dealing with people, and loves challenges, should consider a job in this field. It doesn't take much to transition into this type of career.

Some things I’m excited to share with you may include: An overview the travel industry, including how tours are designed and marketed by tour operators, industry trends and niches. I can teach you how to conduct research to find the appropriate destinations and activities for the trips you want to run. I’ll help you find local tour guides and give suggestions about best ways to work with them.

I can give you pointers on how to prepare for the tour: everything from how to confirm reservations, finalize itineraries, identify contingency plans, complete trip notes, and what to include in info packets.

I’ll teach you how to engage your guests, manage group dynamics, address client needs and set trip expectations. We’ll also discuss the hard stuff, like client emergencies, difficult passengers, and crisis management.

This is a job for someone who likes a diverse range of responsibilities. In one day you can be dealing with customs, leading a bike tour, helping an injured traveler and settling a bill with a hotel. There’s never a dull moment and you’re exploring all the places you want to travel in the world.

Here's are some of the most important things we can cover in our PivotPlanet time together:
• Get an overview of the travel industry, how tours are designed and marketed by tour operators, industry trends and niches
• Review travel industry terminology
• Learn the difference in tour manager/director vs. tour leader positions
• Clarify professional roles and relationships
• Evaluate compatibility of interests, personality traits and skill sets with requirements for the job
• Learn how to conduct research - sources of information, finding appropriate activities
• Make commentary come alive, paint word pictures and become a storyteller
• Prepare for the tour - confirm reservations, finalize itineraries, identify contingency plans, complete trip notes, print passenger info packets
• Handle initial group meeting- welcoming clients, completing essential paperwork, addressing client needs, setting trip expectations
• Learn practical job duties and everyday responsibilities
• Understand how to conduct and oversee included activities and optional activities- what they are, how to present them, operate them and money handling
• Learn how to professionally handle a group - interaction, sharing your attention and communication skills
• Discuss group psychology and behavior– group leadership, client emergencies, difficult passengers, conflict resolution, establishing credibility and setting expectations
• Receive an introduction to crisis management
• Determine how to utilize different problem solving techniques
• Gain an understanding of the Conditions of Carriage agreement, tour brochure and documents
• Do role playing - managing a group, difficult passengers, crisis management, passenger emergencies
• Visualize a typical day on the job and the limitless complications that can happen on the job
• Observe tour leader in action
• Determine what local job experience you may acquire prior to the start of new career
• Explore different niches within the adventure travel industry to discover best fit
• Gain tools to network within the industry
• Identify resume improvements, interviewing techniques and hiring tactics
• Practice interviews
• Determine your immediate and long term goals
• Determine which tour operators will best meet your goals