What experience does Witte Travel & Tours have in designing and operating tours for performing groups?
We have been designing and operating tours for performing groups since the company was established in 1975. In the first years of our operation, we concentrated on European tours for high school, college and university choirs, bands, and orchestras. As we became known for our ability to bring together all of the complex details of travel for performing groups, our market expanded to include many community and church groups as well. Today, we have clients throughout the U.S. and Canada who rely on us to develop great itineraries, provide guidance in selecting repertoire, ship and rent instruments, locate performance venues, and promote concerts. In addition to all parts of Europe, we offer select destinations in North and South America, Asia, Africa and the South Pacific.
Does Witte Travel & Tours custom-design each tour?
There are no stock performance tours on our shelves. Instead, every tour is built from the ground up to meet the group leader’s goals and the needs of his or her group. The desired number of performances, types of venues to be used, destinations to be visited, and options for sightseeing and free time are all taken into consideration in creating the ideal tour program for each group. Of course, the group leader’s preference on travel dates and group size will also be discussed as will an appropriate budget for the tour.
Who will I work with at the Witte Travel & Tours office?
While your tour is in the planning stages, you may be working with one of our group sales account executives who will be very helpful to you in “getting the ball rolling” on the development of your itinerary and he or she will be available as needed throughout your promotion. Whether you were introduced to our company by an account executive, found us on the Internet, or were referred by a colleague or friend, your primary contact in our office will be the person who prepares your proposal and itinerary brochure. Your primary contact will also serve as the project manager for your tour throughout its promotion. Any time you need to discuss the planning or operational details of your tour, ask to speak with your primary contact or another member of the group sales team. See Group Tour Professionals for more information.
How will Witte Travel & Tours take care of the accounting details for my group?
We offer a variety of payment plans with the goal of making the financial details of your tour as simple as possible. Our accounting staff can work directly with the individual group members, collecting deposits and interim payments or we can accept group payments—whichever works best for you. Depending on the payment plan you select, credit cards can be accepted for the deposit and/or payments on account.
What professional affiliations does Witte Travel & Tours have?
Witte Travel is a member of the National Tour Association, the mark of excellence in the group tour industry; the American Society of Travel Agents; the International Airlines Travel Agent Network; the Better Business Bureau of West Michigan; the International Federation for Choral Music; and the American Choral Directors Association. In addition, many of Witte Travel’s staff members have earned Certified Travel Consultant, Certified Travel Associate, and Destination Specialist designations from The Travel Institute.
What other important relationships does Witte Travel & Tours have?
Witte Travel & Tours has group sales account executives in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina and Tennessee. We also have European representatives in the Netherlands and England, plus an extensive network of partners and concert organizers throughout Europe and North America and at select destinations in Africa, Asia and South America.
What are the qualifications of Witte Travel & Tours’ tour personnel?
Our European tour personnel are top-notch professionals with many years of experience and they are adept at managing the intricacies of a performance tour. They have superb leadership and organizational skills, a fund of knowledge about history, culture and geography, and they are fluent in English and at least three European languages. In North America, we employ highly-trained tour managers who specialize in select destinations and have extensive background in working with performance groups.
What is included in a Witte Travel & Tours’ quotation?
Typically, our quotations include:
- Air transportation via regularly-scheduled airlines, all airline taxes, security fees and fuel surcharges
- Land transportation via deluxe, air-conditioned motorcoach
- Hotel accommodations
- Breakfast each day, lunches and dinners as requested
- The services of a tour manager or tour manager/driver
- All concert arrangements
- A complete program of sightseeing with admission fees, and tipping to local guides
- Porterage of luggage is usually provided for adult groups
- Gratuities for the tour personnel are often included for student groups but left to the discretion of adult groups
- Travel protection can be included in the tour cost if desired or it can be offered to group members as an option
How do I compare a Witte Travel & Tours quotation with a quotation received from another tour operator?
In order to make an “apples to apples” comparison, start by being sure you know what each quotation includes. If there’s a disparity in price, it’s usually because one of the quotations doesn’t include items that the other one does. Other questions to ask are as follows:
- What rate of exchange was used?
- How was the airfare estimated?
- Are airline taxes, security fees, and fuel surcharges included?
- What type of accommodations is included?
- Is breakfast a full meal? What other meals are included?
- What is the standard of the motorcoach to be used? Is it restroom-equipped?
- Does sightseeing include interior visits? What admission fees are included?
- How are performances arranged and promoted? Are programs provided for the audiences?
- What happens if the group is smaller than anticipated?
- How will problems that may arise during the tour be handled?
- Is optional travel protection, including cancellation coverage, offered at a reasonable rate regardless of the age of the participants?
- Will you be provided with full-color, personalized promotional materials including application forms?
- Will payments be collected directly from the group members or will you need to take care of that?
- Can credit cards be accepted for the deposit and/or payments on account?
How does Witte Travel handle the transport and rental of instruments?
For performance groups bringing instruments, we design itineraries and select airlines to minimize the number of connecting flights. Small instruments can often be carried by their owners as hand luggage while larger ones are usually transported as excess baggage on the same flights as the group. Witte Travel & Tours has several electronic pianos (Yamaha p-140), music stands and handbell equipment (tables, foam and covers) for groups traveling in Europe. Rental of tympani, string bass, and other large instruments can be arranged in Europe and at most other destinations.