Have you ever seen a tour that you would love to do but realized that your champagne tastes weren’t in line with your beer budget? Don’t despair, there is another way to travel that you may not have considered. Try being a Pied Piper!
What is a Pied Piper? It’s a person who takes the initiative and finds other like-minded people to take a group tour and/or cruise. Think about all the “groups” you belong to – say a church congregation, a youth leadership group, or perhaps a close knit community group. Do you sit on a board, belong to an association or get together regularly with a group of friends? Do you take yoga or other classes or belong to an alumni? Do you work with a group of colleagues or have a large extended family? All these are potential travellers who may be interested in travelling with you as part of a small (or even large) group tour.
So now that you’ve established you live in a social world full of potential, the next step is to find a travel agent who specializes in groups. In fact, you are the “dream” client if you come to an agent and ask for their assistance to plan a tour for you and your following. Travel agents have access to thousands of suppliers (called tour operators and cruise lines) who have been vetted as reliable and have value in their product (tours). Take the time to talk to your agent about the kind of trip you’re interested in and let them guide you. Perhaps it’s a destination. (i.e., have you ever dreamed of going on a safari in Africa, or a wine cruise up the Douro River, or on a history tour to Dieppe.) There are no limits to your dreams. You’ll need to be realistic in selecting a tour or cruise which your circle of contacts could afford. The higher the price tag, the longer out you will want to plan. Some groups are planning tewo years out, and others are looking at this coming winter. The more complex the trip, the longer lead time you need.
Now comes the work, getting your tour in front of your audience. Tour operators will come to your groups and do presentations – live or as webinars. The travel agent and tour operator will provide you with collateral pieces to share in all kinds of creative ways. Your job as the Pied Piper is to get them interested and as excited as you are to go on the tour. The agent and tour operator will help close the deal and do the actual booking.
This may sound like a lot of work, and it is… so what’s in it for you? Tour operators and cruise lines give you your trip for free, or at least at a substantially discounted rate depending on your numbers. Most cruise lines offer you 1 berth for every 8 to 10 cabins you sell. For tour operators, it might be for every 8-12 passengers you bring in you travel for free. You don’t have to lead the group, just join in on the fun without taking a huge hit to your bank account.
I’ve frequently travelled to Paris, England, Italy and throughout the entire Caribbean region by being a Pied Piper. In fact, my accountant wants to know how I have such a great lifestyle and still watch my finances. Don’t put off your bucket list any longer. Try it! You’ve got nothing to lose and the whole world to gain. Who knows, you might even find a second career.