While your Program Manager is working on your tour details, you'll be working on growing your group! Here are some proven strategies for success:
Host Ongoing Meetings
We've found the best way to maintain enthusiasm with your group is to host a series of tour meetings throughout the year. Use the time to answer any questions about the tour, review documents, plan fundraisers, learn about your tour destinations and enhance group camaraderie.
Delegate to a Tour Assistant
Do you have a participant who is eager about the trip and is looking for more to do? How about someone you can always count on? Ask them to be your Tour Assistant. They can help you with planning fundraisers, scheduling and hosting meetings, and can even work on rooming/hotel/bus/flight breakdowns with your passengers. This can save you a lot of time and there's almost always one eager volunteer!
- Listen to your group. Are you losing out on potential tour members because you chose a destination that didn't interest them? Are prices too high? Is the time of year not good? Ask your group what they want and need so you can help craft a tour that will inspire them to register right away. If necessary, revise, revise, revise until you find the right tour that excites your group.
- Get the parents/companions involved. For student groups, it's imperative to get the student's parents/guardians involved right away. They'll be the ones ultimately deciding whether their student will travel. Try not to leave the discussion up to the student. Call the parents individually to discuss the tour or invite them to your first tour meeting. Similarly, sometimes participants need a little nudge from their companions, family or friends to register! Chat with your participants' companions/family/friends to let them know about this life-changing opportunity and ask for their support. You might even choose to invite them along on a “Friends and Family Tour!”
- Highlight the highlights. Talk with your Encore tour consultant to find out the most exciting points in your itinerary. Be sure to talk these up to your group in rehearsals and at your meetings. Try to visually or aurally engage them by showing them a virtual tour or online video of the sightseeing activity in advance to spark their interest.
- Find a student ambassador. Sometimes finding the right person is all it takes to get your members on board. Find an ensemble member who is the most enthusiastic about your tour and is popular with your group. Ask them to be an ambassador for the tour. They can help with recruiting passengers by talking up the itinerary, answering any questions they have and spreading their excitement online and through social channels (if applicable).
- Last-resort: option for ringers, combined ensembles or festival opportunities. If recruitment numbers are low, but you still have a core group that wants to travel, keep in mind that there are always options for your group. Encore can arrange ringers or find another local group who knows your repertoire for a joint performance opportunity. And, in some cases, we can find a festival opportunity for groups to combine with other ensembles from around the world as part of a “festival ensemble.”
Most groups typically have 1-3 fundraising events to raise money for their tour. Start by recruiting one of your members to help coordinate and plan your fundraising activities. Download our Ultimate Guide for Fundraising and start earning money!
Pack Your Bags
Once you are done with recruiting and fundraising, it's all smooth sailing from here! Your Program Manager will be in touch throughout the year to discuss any necessary travel or musical logistics. When it's time to depart, download our packing list and pack your bags!