One of the most powerful memories from Mulkey’s time as travel coordinator involves an emotional trip to the nation’s capital.
“We were visiting the Vietnam Memorial,” said Mulkey. “We had a lot of men on that trip who had not only been there but had lost people. To see people looking at the wall in tears was heart wrenching. It was good, but tough.
“I think it’s important to think about what our country has been through and how that affects even our own towns and neighborhoods.”
Peoples Travel members also go back to Ireland, Alaska and Hawaii time and again. Mulkey receives feedback from surveys to determine future trips, and those three destinations remain so popular that the club regularly rotates them back into the offerings every three or four years.
But far from recycling old trips, Mulkey strives to dazzle members with something unexpected on every club trip.
“I always try to find some extra stop that isn’t on the agenda that I can surprise them with,” said Mulkey. “You find out things about your travelers, such as maybe they used to live there many years ago. So we’ll try to find their house.”
If Mulkey overhears someone mention something about the place that holds meaning for them, she will work to quickly fit it into the tour. Her goal is to elicit astonished faces when she reveals the special tour stop.
Like Cats in an Airport
The Army may have prepared Mulkey for many things in life, but little could prepare anyone for navigating a group of restless people through an airport.
“That’s the hardest part,” said Mulkey. “Everybody wants to go in a different direction. All you want to do is to get to the next gate. One of my customers joked that I needed kindergarten ropes with the straps so we can all just hold on and follow.”
Mulkey has learned to tell everyone to first go to the gate, and then they can roam as they wish.
“I reiterate that often,” said Mulkey. “But I don’t know if that’s a good way to do it because they still scatter like cats.”
Many other travel-planning lessons Mulkey has learned work with more regularity, such as encouraging word of mouth, promoting trips on Facebook and using the club to bolster relationships with clients.
“As a banker, my job is to build relationships with our customers,” said Mulkey. “Besides them coming in and opening an account, I may not have the opportunity to do that other than the travel club. It gives them a sense that the bank cares, because we take care of them.”
- Carry flyers for your travel club in your purse. I have given many out at church, the beauty parlor and school events.
- Post your travels as they are occurring on your Facebook travel page and on your personal one. Everyone loves to see them, and I get tons of comments or questions while on the trip.
- Remember that life is a journey and you hold the map. Make every trip a great one because your travelers are taking their hard-earned money to travel with you.