KHM Travel Group Interviews Globus European Tour Director – Nicholas Zenobi

Hello, everyone. I’m Marie Smith, National Training Director
of the KHM Travel Group, and with me today is Nicholas Zenobi, from the Globus Family
of Brands, as the European Tour Director. Good morning, Nicholas, thank you for joining
us today. Good Morning Marie, thank you very much, it’s
been – it’s a pleasure being here, I’m absolutely loving it, I love your country. I’ve been here for a couple of weeks now and
I’m gonna be still here for another two weeks. Very good, very good. Great! What we’re going to do today is ask Nicholas
a few questions to see why your client should be traveling on a Globus escorted tour in
Europe. So, knowing that Globus has a reputation for
having the most experienced tour directors, and understanding that you have 16 years experience
in the field – but I think your experience goes well beyond those 16 years – how did
having both your parents in the business of being tour directors influence your decision
to follow this career path. Actually, it’s, you know, I have to say it
really did in the sense that, you know, growing up with a father that’s always done this job,
a mother that was a tour rep, I’ve always been hearing about the traveling business
since I was a kid. And listening to all these amazing stories
that my father had to bring back at home and share with the family was something that was
a really big input for me to come into this career. And I have to say it was a little easier for
me to answer because many things I knew from back at home, and its very important to know
some small, little details that will help you out in this amazing career. I absolutely love being a tour director. And I know there’s several company choices
they can choose when they choose escorted tours; why is Globus the tour of choice in
Italy? Well, I can assure you that everybody in my
position wants to be a Globus Tour Director. And we want to all be Globus Tour Directors
because Globus has been here for such a long time, that has managed to be a certain standard
that nobody else has managed to reach yet. Globus is extremely serious company, it’s
a Swiss-owned company, and for me it is extremely important to have a serious company behind
me because I need to deliver that dream that people are there for. And, the work with Globus just becomes much,
much easier for me to do, because it’s a very steady, easy product. Globus will take you to the places that you
need to see. If we are in certain areas of Italy, if there
is something that of relative importance it will be on our program. Some other companies kind of don’t do this
for cost reasons, so Globus is definitely a steady, easy product and definitely a very
good choice for our customers. And I understand that Globus has many different
features that are only unique to Globus, such as the VIP experience, as well as the local
favorites. Can you give us a little insight on this? Yes of course. Let’s say, I will just go through very briefly
in a typical day in Rome. Rome is a place that attracts a lot of visitors. We would, of course, everybody that goes to
Rome wants to go and visit the Sistine Chapel, of course, and see the Vatican museums, the
beautiful St. Peter’s Basilica, they want to see the Colosseum. All these things can take a long time to be
achieved because lines are extremely bad. Just to give an example, the Vatican museum
attracts approximately 23,000 visitors every day With Globus, I will have made a reservation
that will allow me to enter at a certain time, this would be possibly about 8:00 in the morning,
and this is before anybody else can actually enter. It’s open to the public only from 8:45 am. We will be able to enter before everybody,
we will be able to arrive at the Sistine Chapel before all these immense crowds of people
that are trying to reach the Sistine Chapel, and this makes a big, big difference, because
arriving at the Sistine Chapel with 100 people with you, and arriving with 2,000 people ahead
of you makes a big, big difference. From the Sistine Chapel, I can use special
passes that not other people can use, that will connect me to St. Peter’s Basilica. If you would be an independent traveler what
you would have to do, you would have to back track – walk back – of course this is extremely
time consuming. Walk all around the Vatican walls and arrive
in front of St. Peter’s Basilica where you will find another line. So, at that point we’ll probably already have
saved 2-3 hours line up. When we come out of the Basilica we will reach
the Colosseum. At that point the lines are still very long,
now about probably an hour and half for an independent traveler – we just skip that. So, you know, a whole day in Rome we can achieve
something that people would probably achieve in two days time. So, we still give quite a bit of free time
in the afternoon, too. For some people the idea of spending free
time lining up to get into places at Globus is absolutely not doing this. Another thing that we’ve introduced now, our
clients have slowly, slowly changed – the desires of people are changing nowadays – so,
they wanted even more interaction with the local communities. And we’ve picked up on some marvelous ideas
that we call: Local Favorites. Our Local Favorites will be seeing several
local favorites on every Globus tour, and I can give you an example of a beautiful local
favorites. When we would leave Venice moving down south,
going to what’s possibly Florence, we stop in a little town called Modena. You probably have heard about this very famous
balsamic vinegar that comes from Modena, their balsamic vinegar is very, very famous nowadays. If you’ve tried the one I’ve seen at the super
markets just around the corner from here it’s probably not the one you will be tasting in
Italy. Balsamic vinegar nowadays goes for approximately
$100 US Dollars for an ounce. Balsamic vinegar has to be at least 25 years
of age, and the balsamic vinegar that we try it comes from a tiny little balsamic vinegar
producing family owned place, and it’s an amazing, amazing experience for people. A place that you would never find by yourself. We would drive in the middle of nowhere with
the countryside of the beautiful region of Modena, you see all the beautiful vineyards
that produce the typical red grape that gives this amazing product, and this little, old
lady will come down and speak to us and really gives us this – she can transmit so much passion
to every single person there, just because she’s been doing it for all her life. But not only her, her ancestors have always
been doing this. And we will try with Globus, we’ll walk up
the steps and we’ll go up underneath the roof where she keeps these very special barrels,
where we will be tasting the balsamic vinegar that is 100 years of age. Now Globus offers different styles and paces
for their escorted tours; can you elaborate on the differences of a panorama and a regional
tour? Yes, a panorama would be a multi-cultural
destination, so you would see and absorb more than one country at the same time. And that would not be a bad idea, of course,
for people that are prepared to do something like that. You need to see how much time you have and
what you’re expecting from your experiences. Let me give you an example. You could – there’s a beautiful tour that
covers Italy and Greece. That would be a fantastic tour – I would consider
that a panorama tour. So, we know nowadays that airfare is quite
expensive, so why not, if you can, join two countries together. So, you would land in Rome, have a nice little
tour of the beautiful Italian cities: Rome, Florence, Venice; and then take this beautiful
ferry that looks like a cruise ship that we have all personal nice, lovely cabins with
personal facilities inside – spend the night on there. Relax and arrive into Greece, at that point
a bit of a beautiful mainland tour of Greece, and then you would fly out of Athens. So you would basically catch the two countries
for the one airfare to come to Europe. The regional tour will be more of a selected
option on one country only. And this will make you absorb the whole culture
of one country in a more profound way. So, a typical Italian tour would of course
cover only Italy for different periods of time. You can have tours that are seven days tours
up to just over two weeks, so you know, and they can all be differently spent, and most
for me beautiful country in the world, Italy. I think some people believe that escorted
tours are for the retired community, but what are you finding as a typical Globus client
these days? Yea, Marie, this in fact a misconception again,
the escorted tour business is changing completely. Our customers are getting younger and younger;
I would say in the 50’s and the panorama tours that are a little faster even a younger age
sometimes. And it’s beautiful to see that ages really
filter out different times of the year. So, sometimes people say I wouldn’t want to
travel with families or younger kids. Usually families and younger kids just come
at certain periods of the year because of the school breaks. People of a certain age will come because
of climate change with it getting a bit more cooler weather. And if they have the ability to go whenever
they want they will move at other times of the year, so it’s pretty constant that you
will have a very homogenous group on the actual bus and this makes things beautiful for people. I know with Globus we do a lot of family tours,
but also religious focused tours. How does a religious tour focus differ from
a normal Globus tour? A religious tour will, of course, focus more
on the religious aspects of certain countries. You know we have a beautiful catholic tour
in Italy. You can imagine for a catholic what it is
like to experience and see the Pope. This is what we offer for people who come
on that particular tour. The Pope will have an audience and we will
be there for his audience. You can imagine for a catholic seeing all
the beautiful basilicas, the four basilicas of Rome; you can imagine what it can be like
to have mass in the beautiful basilica of St. Francis where St. Francis from Assisi
is actually buried. St. Catherine from Siena. Of course St. Anthony from Padua. But this doesn’t have to necessarily move
off people that just have a special interest into religion. Sometimes people that not necessarily have
to be catholic. You know, you would go on a catholic tour
in a place like Rome, you will go to see the beautiful church that contains the chains
the St. Peter was imprisoned with. The chains are actually still there, so you
can imagine how important that will be for a catholic, but if you’re not catholic you
just turn your head around theres the beautiful Moses by Michelangelo, so, you know it can
combine both interest there. Now, having an experience with both Globus
First Class Escorted Tours and Cosmos’ Value Escorted Tours in Europe, what are the major
differences between the two brands? Cosmos is definitely a very good value way
of moving and coming into Europe, doing the tours that we actually offer. Of course, there are some differences. You know, we always say you pay for what you’re
actually getting. So, on a Cosmos typical tour your locations
will not be the same. Globus has some amazing locations. Locations Europe is very important with steeple
right down in the center of town. With Cosmos your hotel will still be nice,
mostly be 4-star hotels, but they will be a little further out of the actual city. Globus will have more inclusions. Globus will take you to the Vatican Museum,
will take you to see the David. These things with Cosmos will not happen. But, of course it will be possible if you
want to do them you will be able to add on onto an excursion if you want, or even independently
do these things. We always put you in a situation that you’re
not going to be stuck in a hotel, you will always if you want to do something by yourself
you will always be able to move with public transportation to do more independent activities
if you would like to do so. Nicholas, can you tell me the value that you,
as a tour director, bring to the clients that are traveling on a Globus tour? My job is a very complex job. There are many, many little aspects about
my job, of course it’s not only the fact of putting you into an easy line to enter the
Vatican Museum. I’ll be there literally following you in every
single aspect of the whole tour. I’ll be there making sure that your luggage
will make it to the next hotel. I’ll be there making sure that if there is
a complication on the tour, lets say in Italy strikes or things that are quite common the
museum will shut down for a certain reason – the Pope is having something special and
the Vatican Museum will not be able to be accessed that particular day – I’ll be the
one that will know and to take these things in time and will still manage to run your
program smoothly. I will postpone, I will move things around,
and I’ll make sure that every single thing is delivered to the client. I would assist clients on things like injuries. These things of course can happen when you’re
abroad. And of course insurance is always very good
to assist the clients, but of course when a client goes to a foreign hospital and has
to be – and the feeling of for them I can understand – it can be very difficult situation
for them, I will be there assisting them til I can and if I have to in a sense leave with
the rest of the group and go away keep on going on the tour, I will be in contact with
my client til he’s in Italy for the last day. I will continuously make myself calling the
actual client on a daily basis at least three times a day most of the time. So, many many things will be covered by me,
and of course my main objective is to actually bring, deliver, and get the client as a satisfied
client. There’s nothing more gratifying for a tour
director, more than that little hug at the end of the tour, or the little tears sometimes
from the person that says goodbye to you. And it’s an absolutely fabulous feeling and
that’s what I’m there for. Thank you so much for all the information
today, it was really great getting to sit with you before this and getting to learn
a little bit about Globus and the life of a tour director. And the life of being on a tour. To learn more about Globus, logon to
and take the GTE, Globus Tour Expert Program.

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