Escorted Tour Operations, Tour Director- Randy Shinn
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Being a Tour Concierge with Holland America-Princess has been and continues to be one of the most rewarding work experiences in my journey of life. I am able to meet interesting people from all over the world, aid in their process of touring Alaska/Yukon Territory, and work inside one of the most beautiful “offices” imaginable.
A typical day for me begins rather early (yet it is worth it) as I look over my daily itinerary and plan for the exciting day ahead while the seemingly ever-present sunlight shines inside. Next I pack my luggage and step out into the day, making sure to be cognizant of the fresh air up here as I meet my Driver Guide in front of the hotel. We work as a team to count/load guests luggage then discuss the flow of our day together. Within little time, our guests are ready to load the motorcoach and we head out on the road. Each day of tour is a new adventure and a beautiful dance played out between the Driver Guide and myself to cover local and regional history in each given area, interact with our guests through conversation in small groups, playing games as a whole, discussing exciting excursion options such as landing a helicopter on a glacier or white water rafting along the Nenana River in Denali National Park, and watching videos which are relevant to that particular location. By early evening we have reached our next destination where we get our guests into their rooms and deliver luggage. Finally I review the day and begin preparing for the next and typically enjoy dinner with a different couple from the tour and hear about their adventures in life.
As with every line of work, there are challenges in this position. At times you are trying to set and maintain a positive group mood. You must also remain diplomatic and tactful while attempting to lay out the expectations for group travel. There are many early mornings and at times, difficult situations to maneuver through. However, it is well worth it.
I feel fortunate to spend my summers here in Alaska and the Yukon! I am able to watch the shift in seasons from frozen rivers in early May to the most vibrant flowers in July and a sea of multiple colors as fall trickles in during late August and early September. All the while, I get to travel through scenic landscapes with active wildlife and share in the trip of a lifetime for our guests. I hope to continue returning year after year up here.