When visiting the Director of Music at Mount St Mary’s College last October, it was clear to see why Lucy Kitchener’s tours abroad are so successful. Although the necessary planning required is often stressful, Lucy’s relaxed personality and calming aura seemed to be the perfect match against the common challenges of touring with large groups.
When asking her what the motivations were behind organising musical tours for the school, her drive to combine pupils of different age groups is seen as a celebration of sharing those valuable moments outside of the school grounds.
Through her own admission, this is no easy task. However, Lucy provided us with some top tips when organising the best possible trip for larger groups.
So what are Lucy’s top tips when organising a trip for larger groups?
- Don’t treat the group as a class, treat each pupil as an individual. You should strive to include them in every aspect of the trip.
- Focus on the balance between performing and the cultural aspect that pupils experience during the trip.
- The duration of the visit is incredibly important as pupils often get tired during busy performance schedules.
- The musical trips have to be part of a balanced programme. Therefore, other subjects need to be taken into account.
- Staff visits to potential venues offer crucial insight into the area which allows for detailed send-out letters to be created.
- Planning in advance allows for a smoother organisation process. This can help with budgeting for parents and balancing the trip with other important dates within the school year.
- Including parents on the trip can often help. Trips are a big thing for some children and they can often become overwhelmed when away from home. Pupils spending an afternoon with their parents on tour can help keep them relaxed.
- Don’t underestimate the small details during the planning process, everything counts. Aspects such as room sharing can be critical to make sure everyone is involved.
How did Rayburn Tours help with the process?
After travelling with Rayburn Tours for a number of years, Lucy’s ability to liaise with us on a regular basis made things much easier. Larger groups often require numerous phone calls to be made during the organisational stage and the strong relationship definitely made this easier.
Our close relationship with Lucy also allows for complete transparency on certain aspects of the planning, particularly with pricing and accommodation. She referred to Emily (our Tour Co-ordinator) as the ‘calming voice’ when tearing her hair out, whilst the enthusiasm of Jo (our Senior Tour Consultant) really helped.
Overall, Lucy emphasised that she feels completely comfortable and secure with Rayburn Tours handling the administration, security and insurance processes and feels that we genuinely care about the client’s experience.
Is it worth it?
After spending time with Lucy, we gained some valuable insight into the world of planning from the client’s perspective. When asking her whether she enjoyed the process, this is what she had to say…
There are many challenges to taking a large group, but when everyone comes together to sing it is truly wonderful.
Director of Music at Mount St Mary’s College