On my first foray in international travel, I had a certifiably disastrous concert tour experience with a tour company that promised Nirvana, but delivered a week in hell! My reputation as an orchestra director suffered, some members dropped-out, and my legacy was in danger of being written in invisible ink.
A wonderful gentleman named Nick Atkinson was representing Encore Tours in those early days. He heard about my plight and came to my house to try to persuade me to consider a concert tour again, this time with an expert. He promised such opportunities as a beautiful boat on the Seine for my orchestra’s rehearsal room, and a ballroom in Paris for a private concert for a Mayor of Paris. I was skeptical, but alas, I agreed to try again.
Not only did he deliver on his promises entirely, but by doing so, he taught me a valuable lesson about the enormous difference between lowest price and value. I remind myself, to this day, about the lesson of the two sides to the coin that Nick taught me:
Price Vs. Value
- One side of the coin, tails, involves a conversation centered on lowest price.
- The other side, heads, involves an awareness of value.
Lowest Price is costly. You pay dearly. On my first concert tour, I paid a high price for low cost. And the only change that occurred was pocket change.
Value, on the other hand, comes gift-wrapped in investment. Investment doesn’t cost. It pays. It pays in the value of a lasting legacy built on the foundation of rich experiences. Value gives back change, the kind that comes from transformation.
Tourist Vs. Traveler
Furthermore, I learned the difference between companies that serve the tourist versus the traveler.
Tour companies that feature a low cost product exist solely to serve the tourist. The tourist takes. They take a trip. They take pictures. They take souvenirs home. Tourists share very little of deep value with their international hosts.
But Encore Tours serves the traveler. The distinction is as different as a one-night-stand versus a lasting relationship. The traveler has a rich and enduring relationship as an explorer on an adventure. They become totally immersed in the richness of a culture. And with an Encore Tour, the traveler gives, rather than takes, when they perform a benefit concert for their international hosts.
- The tourist pays, and is taken- down a one-way street.
- The traveler explores, is adventurous, and invests in the benefits of giving. The traveler in turn, receives: their lives are transformed and an enduring legacy is bestowed. A rich exchange of currency results from the circle of giving and receiving.
“Tales, You Win”
Today, when I find myself at the crossroads of low cost vs value, I remember my first experience with Encore and Nick. The lesson in value resulted in 9 international concert tours and 1200 travelers who were transformed. My orchestra of 12 grew to 450 students.
So now, I remind myself to use my head. Invest and receive the currency of value as a traveler, instead of paying a price as a tourist looking for low cost.
The moral is: if I use my head, tails will be transformed.
And for the Encore traveler: “tales you win.”
About the Author
Ward Dilmore is a recently retired music teacher from Wilmington High School, MA where he grew his string orchestra from 12 students to over 450, in large part due to his incorporation of foreign travel into the program. Ward initially traveled with other companies, but once he found Encore, he never looked back. He has taken his ‘Strings Attached’ orchestra overseas with Encore 7 times, in total taking over 1,200 students abroad during his years at Wilmington.More Content by Ward Dilmore