For more information on what I do, including my books, or if you’d like to book me for a trip, please visit my personal website, mitchbach.com. Often tour operators will create a blend of these following topics that works for the company’s specific needs. All my talks begin with a look at the way tourism and group travel has radically transformed in the past few years, and how tour directors and operators should respond to these changes.
How to Wow: Creating “Wow Moments” on Tour
Travelers often say that best part of their trip was not the expected sights promised on the itinerary, but something wonderful, unique, and unexpected that happened—an experience we might call a “wow moment.” It could be a person you meet, a meal, an incredible story, or a quirky, off-the-beaten-path surprise stop. In this talk I focus on tips and strategies for helping tour directors craft these more local, authentic, and engaging on-tour experiences. I help them think outside-the-box and creatively about the various aspects of a tour: commentary delivery, group bus time, and how to engage with the people and sights you meet, injecting surprise, emotion, and poetry in the tour, utilizing all the senses to delight guests. Finally, I provide questions to help tour directors think more reflectively about the possibilities for tour enhancement hidden in plain sight. Often the talk involves a discussion of research strategies, technology tips, and storytelling techniques to help TDs become a “temporary local” and leave their customers saying, of course, wow.
Make me care: Transforming Commentary into Narratives
It’s easy to let guidebooks and Wikipedia lead you down the road of seeing commentary delivery as reciting a litany of facts. It’s much harder to craft stories that hold your audience captive, and leave them changed. This workshop focuses on re-thinking how we craft and deliver our commentary, and thinking about the best strategies for making your storytelling interactive and more engaging.
This workshop works best with tour directors who have prepared a story in advance, whether it’s a personal story or on-tour commentary. I cover a wealth of tips and tricks, including creating commentary themes, making your audience work for the story payoff, and using specific strategies to help tour directors craft stories that take guests on a journey.
Spice up your tours: Tour Enhancement Workshop
From making custom Youtube DVDs to rethinking the ice breaker, this workshop walks through dozens of activities to add educational and entertainment value to a tour, whether on the bus, during a walk, or at a sight. It covers activities and games to help a diverse group cohere, get them laughing, and simply enjoy their time together. Rather than scouring the internet and books for the same old sorry scavenger hunts, ice breakers and educational activities, we discuss about how to read your group and create your own activities tailored to their personality. The end result is always the same: making the trip and its sights come alive in unexpected ways, and helping your travelers engage creatively and intentionally with their tour.
Technology On Tour & Behind The Scenes
Travel, and the role of the tour director has transformed dramatically in the last decade. The ubiquity of websites like AirBnB Experiences, Yelp, YouTube and Wikipedia makes our job both easier and more demanding. In this workshop I discuss technological tips for the beginner and savvy alike, revealing little-known free resources on the web and apps and software to keep our knowledge organized and ready to access. I look at creative uses of photography and custom-made videos to engage guests visually, and other useful devices and phone apps for enhancing the on-tour experience. Behind the scenes, I look at rarely utilized tools available to us now for discovering hidden gems and unique stories, and the software and techniques for generating custom maps and storing all the information. Finally, we look at the ways we can use our own guests’ technology to help create a sense of group cohesion and share memories and experiences after the trip.
Mitch Bach has been an opera composer, philosophy professor, and magazine photographer, but the central activity his life has revolved around is travel. After graduating high school he left home with a backpack and no plan, and moved to New Zealand simply because it was the farthest place he could go. 75 countries later he ended up with degrees from the Sorbonne University in Paris in history, philosophy, and music, but his summers were spent guiding groups around Europe and the rest of the world. He started his own tour company in France focusing on unique travel experiences, and now lives in Manhattan, where he guides locally and internationally, and trains new tour directors. He is the founder of TripSchool, which offers training trips and professional development opportunities for tour directors and guides. When Mitch isn’t traveling the world training new TDs and speaking at companies and conferences, he loves to compose classical music, and has recently premiered his second opera.
Interested in talking?
Email mitch (at) thetripschool (dot) com. (Note the incorrect spelling here to avoid spam!)