Categories: About ExperiencePlus!

The Secret To Our Success

by John Giebler - Thursday, March 3, 2016 ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours Hiring Event for Tour Leaders

The Secret to Our Success

BEHIND THE SCENES AT AN EXPERIENCEPLUS! TOUR LEADER HIRING EVENT

People often ask how we keep such a high rate of return customers. We’ve grown our business mostly through word of mouth. People ride with us one year and return with their friends the next. Those friends then return with more friends and so on.

It’s true, we’re fanatics when it comes to finding amazing routes. We also choose the most welcoming and characteristic hotels, search out intriguing cultural aspects, and sniff out superb restaurants that excel in local traditions.

But as hard as we work to create all of the components for the best cycling vacations, we hold one element above all: our tour leaders.

While our office staff creates the recipe for tantalizing cycling adventures, our tour leaders are the talented chefs who make magic happen on our cycling tours.

Tour leaders keep you safe. They share cultural morsels you would likely never find on your own. They’re intuitive and know when to support, when to encourage, when to lead, and when to step aside so you can discover on your own.

Tour leaders bridge the cultural gap. They help you absorb a foreign land, interpreting rich culture for you. They’ll pedal beside you up a hill, or offer you a lift in the support van. Most of all, they share an intense inner drive for customer service and a deep desire to give you the best vacation ever.

But don’t take our word for it, here’s what our customers have to say about our tour leaders:

“We’ve done dozens of bike tours and this was the best leadership team I’ve ever experienced.” – Margaret VanAndel

“The tour leaders were fantastic, the best I’ve ever had, completely committed to enhancing our experience! Wonderful people as well.” – Michael Domash

“Your guides never cease to amaze me.  Their kindness and patience is something I aspire to.”  – Terry Gunning

We’re lucky to have such exceptional tour leaders. But it’s not simply luck that brought them into our family. Finding, training, and keeping our guides is a full time job for Betta Sazzini, our Tour Leader Manager.

Mechanic skills are among many of the things we look for in tour leaders.

The Process

Before one season ends in October, Betta is already combing through countless applications and resumes for the next. Throughout the winter, her days are full of interviewing and checking references.

Each February, we bring top candidates to our base in Italy for an intense weekend of activities to get to know the potential tour leaders better. We then select the most appropriate applicants to move to the next step in our tour leader selection process.

More than finding the right people, we prize keeping the right people. Overwhelmingly, our tour leading staff come back year after year. Their years of experience translate in exceptional customer service.

“Our guides were absolutely superb!! We were worried that they would be two twenty-something men in spandex. Instead, in Stephane and Jo, we had two guides who were closer to our ages who totally understood and anticipated our needs offering support or staying in the background always at the perfect time.” – Marina Grossi

We’ve retained so many tour leaders over the years that this year we only invited 10 candidates to our 2016 hiring event. From this highly qualified group, we will only be hiring a few new tour leaders in order to keep up with our growing number of departures.

Those we select will come to our training event in April. At ExperiencePlus!, all of our tour leaders – not just the new ones – come to our annual training event.

And it doesn’t finish there. In fact, it never ends.

We train and support our new tour leaders carefully their first season and beyond. Even the most experienced guide can always learn something, so we weave constant improvement and feedback into everything we do.

We’re excited about the new people joining our team this year. And hope you will have the opportunity to meet them yourself in Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and Portugal.

“The tour leaders made the trip. Period, full stop!! They were knowledgeable, fun, sensitive, organized and helpful.” – Jeff Tonkin

 

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John Giebler - has led tours in France and Italy and has been with ExperiencePlus! since 2000. When he’s not leading bicycle or culinary tours, he enjoys putting his sommelier skills to to practice. In 2013 he became ExperiencePlus!'s Director of Tours where he will oversee the quality and development of all of ExperiencePlus's guided bicycle tours. John loves music, cooking, and travels with his friends/colleagues in Italy. John was Head Produce Buyer for Whole Foods Market in the Boston area until – having always had an intense passion for food, wine, and travel – the travel bug became too strong in 1996. John got a great price on a round-the-world ticket that eventually led him to Europe. Getting back to his love of food and wine, he delved into the French culture working on small farms and harvesting grapes in Burgundy. After relishing several years living in France, John moved near to our Italian headquarters in 2006. In the past few years, John’s European roots have grown deeper; in October 2011, he married in the charming medieval town of Brisighella.

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