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The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

BankTravel 101 — Organization’s role in group travel

A Calm, Collected and Repetitive Approach
Kay Baker, director of the Southwest Club at Southwest Bank in Fort Worth, Texas, also considers herself organized.

“I do admit that I’m old-fashioned,” she said. “I hand-write most everything.”

Baker’s organization motto is “attempt to solve problems before they happen.” Before the Southwest Club departs on any trip, this bank director has stared at the itinerary to ensure she has covered all bases.

“There is a mental checklist that has become second nature for every excursion. Do I have the bus company’s phone number and their number for after hours? Do I have all the contact names and numbers of the tour company if we are using one and the bus company who is to pick us up at the airport?

“On an information sheet for our travelers, I make sure they have all the necessities, including our cell phone numbers, flight times, gate numbers, names of venues and more. We also have our travelers’ cell phone numbers.

“If someone doesn’t show up at our departing motorcoach, I call them and say, ‘We’re leaving for the airport. You have all the information — meet us at the gate in 30 minutes.’

“We also have all critical information about our travelers, including their medical information. We’ve had a customer have a medical emergency, and I just handed the medical staff a sheet with all the history and medications of that person. It was a lifesaver.”

Although Baker takes a bulk of paperwork on every tour, she has devised a system that allows her to have the most important information at her fingertips.

“I don’t want to be reaching into my carry-on luggage or leaf through a file every time someone asks me a question or when I need to make a phone call,” she said. “I put all the essential times, contacts, numbers and anything that I commonly need throughout my trip on paper that fits into a compact disc sleeve. It fits in any purse and is always within a hand’s reach.”

Hone Your Best Techniques
Bank travel directors can feel frazzled with details and paperwork from time to time, and improving skills on the many electronic devices available can be of great assistance. However, all three bank directors, regardless of their technological proficiency level, agreed that it is most important to be impeccably prepared.

“Thanks to our preparation, by the time we depart on a trip, we are so relaxed that we make it appear as if we aren’t working at all,” said Scherer.

“This makes for a better trip for our customers and a better trip for us. Regardless of your methods, it is extremely important to be organized.”