If you’ve ever attended the IATDG conference, then you may have participated in Pitch Perfect, the 1-2 minute chance to tell your story as an “elevator pitch” to every tour operator at the conference. The results could be huge: you might be asked by a company to come and interview, when they hadn’t anticipated asking you. But it’s also nerve racking! You’re standing up there, alone, in front of a table of 6 tour companies, who are watching you perform your life story. What do you say? How do you convince them to hire you? How do you leave a lasting impression, in such a short time?
Our one-hour webinar (video is above) featured two wonderful tour operators: Kristin Manzoli (Destination America) and Jeremy Hundt (Holiday Vacations). The session featured 8 incredibly brave tour directors who gave their best pitch, and received invaluable feedback. Below we’ve summed up some of the advice for how to make the best elevator pitch to tour companies!
There’s no formula!
This should reassure everyone who thinks they’re doing this wrong. Each tour director that presented something, was different. And our guest experts loved different ones for different reasons.
Showcase your personality.
There isn’t a point in standing up there and performing a perfectly rehearsed presentation, if you do it without showcasing who you are. Many TDs feel extremely nervous in this artificial, pressure-filled situation. Whatever you can do to calm yourself down will benefit you. The tour companies on the other side of the table want to see the real you, and watch your personality shine.
Write your pitch out, and rehearse.
Our expert tour operators said they could easily tell when the TDs were just “winging it” and delivering a talk on the spot. It feels unprofessional to them, to not come polished and prepared. Even with the best personality, make sure you come ready to deliver a great presentation that doesn’t waste their time.
Make the tour operators intrigued by you, and leave them wanting more!
Drop little breadcrumbs in your presentation that make the tour companies want to learn more about you! If you hook them with some information that makes them want to learn more about you, then you’ll leave them intrigued. Each time our guest participants left an opening, our experts noticed and wanted more.
Lead with something impressive!
One of our guests mentioned he was a NPS Ranger, and both our guest operators loved that. It gave them an immediate sense of who the person was, and understood that they came with a good amount of training that will directly bear on the job of tour director.
Don’t just recite your resume, tell a story.
Remember you’re there to make a lasting impression. Don’t use this precious time to simply list accomplishments; give them a flavor of who you are by telling a story that illustrates a skill or experience that makes you qualified to be an excellent tour director! Our guest experts wanted “meat” as Jeremy said! Something real, substantial, developed and delivered quickly, but digging into an aspect of your experience, or one particular time that gives insight into who you are and why you’re great.
Don’t forget to smile!
You’re going to feel nervous, so fake the smile if you need to! Don’t focus so much on remembering your script that you lose sight of the fundamental task of looking fun and approachable. Whenever a tour operator observes you, they’re fundamentally asking themselves, “Do I want to put this person in front of a large group of my company’s guests?” – so make it easy for them to answer Yes! by being fun, approachable, energetic, and enthusiastic.