Sunday, May 23, 2010

Inspiring and Informative TV piece

A fun Evening magazine piece on the Pike Place Market featuring a Savor Seattle Tour guide, Eric Musehl.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Yelp Reviews is one of the online review sites that people can be referred to. Tours Northwest is registered with Yelp, and you (and they) can see other reviews. Here's a recent one from someone who went on our Seattle City Tour on May 8th.

Mt. Rainier Guests Gush

Make sure you cross-merchandise all of our tours. Kevin Roe did a great job selling both Boeing Tour and Mt. Rainier Tour to a guest staying in a Tukwila hotel. People are looking for things to do. Encourage people to visit our web site (with its great videos) or our facebook page.

This couple was on Mark M.'s Mt. Rainier tour earlier this week. Want to try capturing a review with the Flip Video? You can be trained in a matter of minutes!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fun option for your guests on M Day

If you have guests on Friday, Sat. and Sunday who are looking for something to do on Memorial Day, consider recommending Argosy Festivities on  Blake Island for Memorial Day  a 475-acre state park, and home to Tillicum Village Long House. The 45-minute boat ride over will be narrated. As soon as they arrive lunch will be served and the buffet will remain open until 1:30 pm. Spend the rest of the afternoon wandering the island, keeping an eye out for wildlife, or exploring the Long House which will remain open. Boat will leave Blake around 3:30 in the afternoon and return to the Seattle waterfront at 4:30pm (Please note: The traditional TIllicum Village show will not be available). 

BBQ MENU: Tossed Salad with vinaigrette, wood fired salmon served with signature juniper berry seasoning and lemon butter, oven roasted red potato salad, Texas-style chili, chilled melon wedges, grilled hamburgers with all the fixings, old fashion apple pie. Coffee and Tea. (beer and wine available for an additional cost). 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

For our snowboarding members

We have at least three snowboarders on-board (so to speak): Dan, Mark D. and Tom. Here's something for them.

This video is (and they are) awesome.

Peter and Ben? Are you paying attention?

Culture. Free!

Tell your guests about the FREE Symphony performance at City Hall (a two-fer ... they NEED to see that building!) on Friday, at noon.

Excellent Boeing Facebook Page

Facebook allows you to follow entities as well as people. When they put something on their page, it appears on your wall. Here's Boeing Company.

The Most Important Woman in Seattle History?

It has been said that some historians believe the 1993 movie Sleepless in Seattle put Seattle on the map around the world more than any other "event" in its history. It surely showcases the area well (despite its geographic hijinks). I had five women from Outer Mongolia a few years ago who had watched this movie 20 times each!

Well, if so, Nora Ephron, it could be argued, is the most important woman in Seattle history. I like calling her the Erastus Brainerd of the modern era (take our tour if you don't understand this joke.)

According to the Writer's Almanac, today is her birthday.The Writer's Almanac, written by Garrison Keillor, is a wonderful way of having new and interesting tidbits to share with your guests each day. Subscribe today!

Here is my favorite Sleepless in Seattle parody:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fantastic Customer Reviews for our Boeing Tour!

Chris was on Daniel's Boeing Tour this morning and gush about how good the tour and guide were. I, of course, pulled out my Flip Video on the shuttle back to the south end and saved it for posterity. She and another guest were dropped off at the Museum of Flight, and you should keep this in mind for those flight enthusiasts who can't get enough.

To drop off at the Flight Museum pull into the entry driveway at the south end of the complex and go to the back side of the museum. Go around the parking lot counter clockwise and pull up to the curb just a few feet away from the entry way. Inform the guests that a No. 124 bus runs regularly out front to Seattle, or across the street, to Sea Tac.

Here's another review from the same trip. This gentleman was a commercial pilot from Taiwan.

Volcano Day!

Thanks to Liz for this link to a great explanation of volcanoes. On this, the 30th anniversary of Mt. St. Helens blowing up, there are many online sources of information.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Five Person Private Tours, coming around the corner

Have you noticed our Mercedes SUV? Have you sat inside and looked up through the two huge skylights? Have you brought a tie and dress shirt into work so you too can take it out for a spin ... and a shuttle assignment?

We are planning on offering private tours for up to five people. Its a luxurious ride, and has been a hit with everyone who has taken it out so far.

Anniversary Money Shot

Click here for a 360 degree view from the rim of Mt. St. Helens. Where were YOU 30 years ago on the 18th? (Me: biking east of Seattle wondering why all the cars coming from the east had dirty snow on them.)

Take DNR's quiz about the volcano.

Another Mohai Minute: UPS

Charters Galore!

We have had a number of wonderful charters this month. Jay and Liz took out the above Central Bank Classic club off the Sapphire Princess when they were in town on May 13th. They did a textbook example of staying together throughout the tour so these 41 people could schmooze all together at the stops.

The Smithsonian Student Travel program brings in high school age kids with parent chaperones for a whirlwind tour of Seattle. Bryan grabbed a group this week at 6 AM and improvised a tour in the early morning for their pleasure.

Kevin and Jean Marc combined to delight a French Tahiti group. Kevin provided a visual rich front end of the tour, while we scrambled to get Jean Marc in so that this french-speaking group could interact with the guide and learn even more. They appreciated both of their efforts and were impressed by the flexibility and clever adaptation of our company to their needs. Muy Bien, Jean Marc and Kevin! (joke!)

Mark D. and Loren provided a Missouri group a Boeing/Winetasting tour one day and a Mt. Rainier the next.(Note to self: Mark D. discovered that a stop at Country Village just off I-405 in Bothell met the group's need for lunch between Boeing and Woodenville.)

These charters are a great way to stretch and challenge us as a company and as drivers. We offer customization options to each group, and it has been very impressive how our drivers step up and WOW
the groups with deviations from our usual tours to fit their needs. Mark M. was a master of improv ten days ago with a group from Romania who wanted a city tour, a Boeing tour, several meal stops during a 13 hour day. Mark always approaches these as pleasant, intriguing challenges and he models excellent ATTITUDE before, during and after these stints.

We do have an extraordinary opportunity to interact with guests from around the world; the groups and individuals in the groups of charters offer a unique chance to bring out our best; and everyone who has run charters this month have exemplified why we are at the top in the tourism business in the Northwest.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Should we, or shouldn't we?

Garmin or Droid, we have technology issues coming up often nowadays. How should you use GPS if you have it available? Hands on phone, or Hands OFF? No texting while driving ... do you got that? Remember the Arboreteum incident before you blithefully give your judgement over to a handy dandy device!

We want you driving safely out there and the best way is for you to rely on your HEAD, not on a device. Know the hotels and routes!

Guests will look awry at a driver who is using a device while driving; and, of course, never have the device TALKING to you telling you directions.

Let's keep the discussion going while we sort it all out.

Range of Guest reactions.

I stumbled upon this picture and it reminded me of the range of reactions we get from our guests. We want to be informing the serious ones, delighting the ones who want to be entertained, and we need to step it up a bit to jolt the yawning ones back into the moment!

This site, btw, is a delightful look back on that historic day 17 months ago.

Photography Reminders

Keep in mind the Top Ten Composition Rules as you are asked to take picture of and for your guests. Review these rules and improve your picture taking on and off the job!

 And here's Life magazine's suggestions for great travel  photos.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

On this date ....

On May 11, 1792 Robert Gray, an American fur trader, entered the Columbia River - the first non-Indian to do so. Read the details in this article. He named the river after his ship, the Columbia Rediviva.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A good metaphor?

Our guides help each other out - assist, if you will - in picking up guests in a timely fashion. When traffic is tough, times are tight, and pickup locations are far-flung, does this video provide an apt metaphor for our guide's creativity and craftiness?? A grateful Dispatcher says YES!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Visualizing what We Do in Words

What words do you hear from satisfied guests?
(email me a few)

This Week in History


The May 10, 1906, the opening of King Street Station gave Seattleites a rail depot they could finally be proud of. Designed by the architects who built New York's Grand Central Station and paid for by the Northern Pacific Railroad, the new brick building was a far cry from the wooden depots used up until that time.

Less than a year after cofounding the Pacific Aero-Products Company, William Boeing renamed the enterprise for himself on May 9, 1917.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Where to live in Seattle?

Check out Seattle Metropolitan's coverage of the Best of Seattle's Neighborhoods.

The Best Chef in the Northwest

Have you stayed up with the James Beard awards?? We (the Northwest) had a number of nominees. ONE rose to the top: Jason Wilson of Crush. Be aware: you WILL have foodies on your tours.Click on ALL of the links in this posting to stay marinated in the foodie cutting edge!

Be Fully Informed!

Yet One More Habit To Get Into: check out what happened on this date before doing your tour.

Chihuly at the Seattle Center?

With an eye on Tacoma for group tours and its Bridge of Glass, and always thinking about the future of Seattle attractions, read this article about the impact a Chihuly exhibit had in Chicago in 2002.

What do you think about the proposed Chihuly Exhibit at the Seattle Center?

Do you know how many glass objects are in the Seaform Pavilion, which is part of the Chihuly Bridge of Glass? Click here to learn more.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Keep your eyes open!

Mario Batali is in town and doing a book signing today at Salumi, around the corner from our Pioneer Square stop from 11:30 to 1:30. We are not only going to be at that book signing in a yellow vest; if anyone ids us from Facebook or Twitter (the first person, that is), we'll buy their book for them.

Later, after 1:30 PM we'll be at the Pike Place Market with other giveaways: bouquets, coffee cards, chocolates. TELL YOUR AM Tour guests to look for us at the Market in order to win after you drop them off (and call the office when you do).

Monday, May 3, 2010

Reminder No. 137: SMILE!!!

Mt. Rainier Nature Notes

Even if you never lead a tour to Mt. Rainier, you should learn basic facts about the National Park because you will get questions from guests. And, of course, you should cross-merchanidize this tour, persuading people that it is a outstanding way of spending a day during their visit to the Northwest. Mark Duzcik brushed up on his facts before his first MR tour of the season (today) by reading Nature Notes which tell stories of the park's naturalists over the years.

Interesting note: this week Mark M. and Bryan D. did a scouting trip to the park. At the Cougar Rock pullout, they looked up and saw a mountain goat. Click on this page of the Nature Notes for a 1929 sighting of the same. I wonder if they are related.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tours Northwest CLINIC: Shifting UPhill at Mt. Rainier

Of course, you don't want to keep it in too low of a gear for too long. Check out the Mazda: Automatic Gearshift commercial on this site.

New Guide: Lance Miller

Lance did a yeoman's job of handling the afternoon Boeing tours which started this weekend. He got to experience the heady excitement of being in tough traffic - Mariners, Opening Boating, and May Day March - in downtown Seattle on Sat. while making far-flung pickups, and then calmly driving north with a 3 PM film time in the back of his mind.

This picture also shows Lance's conscientiousness (and/or Liz' excellent training) on the front end: cleaning his coach! Welcome aboard, Lance. This week, he's moving right into doing his first City Tours.

Sweep 'em off their feet, Lance!

Tours Northwest CLINIC: Shifting Down

Tours Northwest CLINIC: Overdrive

Tours Northwest CLINIC - Politely Interact with Hotel Concierge

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Grope (your way) On

Wandering about Seattle, contemplating what more there is to do? Have you seen the BIG PICTURE yet? Many focus on the very fun, interesting tiny things: chocolate shops, must-see sculptures, iconic sites. I hope you kept souvenirs! Check this page every week and see what three "souvenirs" will get you a FREE TOUR of the city! No, REALLY! Use this as a guide to scope (ie. grope) out the city, or simply have fun with it as a scavenger hunt before you board our coach ... but if you have these three things (sometimes physical like a receipt, sometimes simply an answer-a statement of fact) you can come along for FREE. One per group, of course. And good for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday tours.

Are you groping your way in and around Seattle? Excellent! Check here first; grope here and grope there as suggested; and score a FREE CITY TOUR!

This week's way to GROPE (your way) ON:
1. stick of gum BEFORE it is applied to the gum wall (ie. in wrapper);
2. a receipt proving you've eaten seafood in Seattle; and
3. an item of clothing with SEATTLE on it.
With this scheme in mind, what DOES the acronym for GROPE mean?

  • Gathering Reused Offal to Procure Engagement?
  • Go Randy Ones. Pick Exquisitely?

MOHAI Minutes

The Museum of History and Industry puts up little videos about life around Seattle. They are entertaining and instructive (just like us!). Watch this one, and look up more. If YOU get a hankering to be a start in a video about a topic on or off of our tour, let me know.

Ready, Set, Go ... The Start of the Busy Season

Today is the first day of the rest of our busy season. We start running Mt. Rainier (see Mark McCormick, above, decked out in his coolish weather gear, snowshoes, and chains); we add the 11 AM and 4 PM City tours; and add an afternoon Boeing.

You'll see new drivers and employees scurrying about and I'll try to post their pictures up here ASAP.