Are these really the same?
When it comes to choosing the right music travel company, if your school policy requires the submission of competing bids for trip approval, be sure to compare “apples to apples”. All bids should reflect quotes on equal or similar items such as: the location and quality of hotel, overnight security, transportation (consider age of the equipment), meals, sightseeing, admissions, performance opportunities, liability and emergency medical insurance, payment plan, complimentary packages, company history, and cancellation policies.
Choosing The Right Music Travel Company
If you need to find a music travel company, do your research carefully before making your decision. Consult with colleagues who have traveled for advice on a company they might recommend or suggest that you avoid. Consider the following before you sign a contract:
- How long have they been in the music travel business and are they financially stable?
- Read their testimonials; call their references and some of the ensembles they have worked with.
- How many full time employees do they have?
- How much liability insurance coverage do they provide?
- Is medical emergency insurance coverage provided?
- Is trip insurance available?
- Do they belong to any business partnerships or national travel associations?
- If you’re traveling with an exceptionally large group, ask if they have previous experience with a group of your size.
- Will they provide an experienced tour manager from the trip’s point of departure to its point of return?
- Will your tour manager be housed at the same hotel as your group?
- Is there a 24/7 emergency communication plan available to travelers and their families back home with an emergency contact person while your group is away?
- Is there an option available for direct billing of student trip payments to the travel company?
- What is their refund & cancellation policy?
- Will your trip include overnight hotel security on each floor, complimentary packages, and a director’s pre-trip inspection tour?
- Will a travel representative be available to make a presentation to your parents?
Hiring a music travel company will shift liability from you, your school, and boosters to them—the third party. You will work closely with the chosen company for the better part of a year or more, so it is important to build a relationship with your representative from the start. Communicate your goals and any concerns with them early in the planning process!
Thanks to our guest blogger, former band director Andrew M. Yaracs!
Yaracs is the author of “Travel 101: A Band Director’s Guide for Planning Student Travel”. Stay tuned for his guest blog series featuring excerpts from his book, now available on Amazon!