Backroads is Buzzing! 140 new Trip Leaders Released into the Field by July 2013
Berkeley, CA (July 12, 2013) Backroads, The World's #1 Active Travel Company, will send more than 4200 guests on over 250 trips this month alone. Backroads' spectacular July trip destinations are peppered across the globe—Alaska, Yellowstone, Botswana, Peru, the Fjords of Norway, the Swiss Alps, the Dolomites, the Dalmatian Coast, and the Galapagos—to name a few. Currently, hundreds of our guests are cycling, kayaking, hiking, dancing, cooking, shopping, dining, exploring, and celebrating with fellow travelers from all corners of the world, many of whom will become lifelong friends and travel companions. Most of these guests—about 80%—will either return for another Backroads trip or refer a friend.
So far, in 2013, Backroads has more than 20,000 guests booked for active travel.
If you've ever travelled with Backroads, you know that our trips are exquisite symphonies, obsessively researched and perfectly executed. We recruit, train, and deploy top talent to make this happen.
For many of our guests, our trip leaders are the pinnacle of the Backroads experience. Guests may initially fall in love with catalogue photographs of spectacular mountain passes, glittering beaches, and picturesque European villages. But ultimately, our leaders steal their hearts. "This trip was our 32nd or 33rd trip," said Jeanne Knox, who traveled to India with Backroads this year. "I don`t know how Backroads does it, but the quality of the leaders continues to be consistently outstanding." Chris Smith, who took his first trip with Backroads last month, said, "I would follow this entourage anywhere."
Like our trips, our hiring and training process is a tour de force. The season commences with a series of full-day Hiring Events, beginning as early as January of each year, followed by several ten-day intensive training programs in one of our three global hubs. During training, we teach trainees critical hard skills, like bike mechanics and safety. But huge emphasis is placed on leadership training and public speaking, too. Nick Baker, a thirteen-year veteran leader, and former member of the Hiring & Training Team, who also works as an ICU nurse for Kaiser, said, "I use the skills I learned in Leader Training every single day—especially in my work at the hospital." Each training session also includes a full-on mock trip—and lots of laughter.
Like our guests, our leaders form deep bonds with each other. In fact, explains Backroads President and Founder, Tom Hale, we've had over 50 marriages between Backroads leaders in 33 years. And only one divorce! Hale likes to speculate about this. "Leaders play together. And they tackle huge obstacles together. In the process, they learn a ton about each other, and develop deep respect for one another."
"We don't train excellence. We hire excellence," explains Jo Zulaica, Backroads Global Field Operations Manager. "We know exactly what it takes to succeed in the field," she said, "so we know what to look for in candidates. And then we build upon what's already there."
This season, the Backroads Hiring & Training Team released 140 new leaders into the field. "Most of these people have wanted this job for a long time," said Matt Fletcher, Backroads Hiring & Training Coordinator. "They're really excited." Zulaica agrees. When asked about her favorite part of the job, she says, "It's definitely that first morning of training, when we welcome new leaders."
Dayna Ferguson, who just completed training in Salt Lake City at the end of June, is a prime example of an excited new leader. Ferguson, who left her San Francisco-based tech job to join Backroads, was referred by a former leader, who described the leader experience as "the job of a lifetime."
"I really do get excited about passing the Backroads torch," said Baker to a trainee this season. "It's been such a beautiful catalyst for so many of my best times and has introduced me to such an incredible community. I'm excited for you to experience it for yourself."
Backroads, founded in 1979 by Tom Hale, offers the most destinations, itineraries and annual departures in the active travel industry. Each year, the company hosts thousands of guests in hundreds of locations across the globe, 80% of whom are repeat guests or referrals. Backroads has been in business for more than 35 years, is a founding member of the Adventure Collection and, in 2013, was named one of the top 100 places to work by Outside magazine. For more information, please visit www.backroads.com or call 800-462-2848 daily, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Pacific Time.