Travel programs don’t create themselves – it takes savvy logistics pros who care deeply about delivering the best of the best. Meet Katherine Pavling, Manager of Tour Operations.
Tell us about your role at WorldStrides.
I’m Katherine Pavling, Manager of Tour Operations, and I am based in the UK. My role is to look after everything that happens on tour. I’m involved from the planning stages right through to everyone arriving back home after their trip. My team and I put everything in place for your tour.
What’s the best thing about your job with WorldStrides?
For me, it’s that every day is different. We book all the hotels, buses, tickets, matches for each tour, and strive to find the right fit for each and every group. Our starting point is to look in detail at the requirements for the sporting activities for each tour. We want to find the right mix of teams to play against, a great guest coach for a coaching clinic, and the right pitches for training sessions. These elements are all really individual and customized for each and every team that travels with us. With those pieces in place first, we can then build out the other bookings and make sure that the schedule for each day flows; it kinda feels like building a jigsaw puzzle with only a description of what the picture looks like!
What’s the biggest challenge in your role?
The biggest challenge comes with lots of groups being on tour at the same time and something unexpected happening. That could be in the form of a weather event, such as heavy snowfall or a heatwave that disrupts the groups schedules, or something more mundane such as a boiler breaking at a hotel. We provide support to all our groups while they are traveling and work closely with each Tour Director to find solutions and get things back on track as quickly as possible. It’s definitely challenging when something big happens, but enormously rewarding when you find the solution to the problem that has arisen.
What’s your favorite travel destination?
I love traveling to Ireland. It holds a lot of personal history for me, as I have been going there since I was young, and I have some really vivid memories of my time there. As I’ve got older, I find that I am drawn to it’s charming people, beautiful countryside and delicious food, time and time again. The only downside is the weather can be pretty wet, but as a Brit I am used to that, just make sure you take a good rain jacket!
Do you have any travel tips?
My travel tip would be to think about what you want to see and do on your trip as early as possible. That’s true of any trip, whether it’s a self drive holiday or a round-the-world tour, the more attention and thought you put in early on, the more likely it is to get everything that you want to out of your trip.
When planning a tour with us, it’s worth spending time talking to our team members as they have a wealth of knowledge of the different destinations we travel to, including the individual quirks or specialities that make them unique. In the planning of a tour, we want to understand your reason for travel and if you have any special interests. For example, if you are a massive fan of a particular soccer club or player, then we want to know about it! We always like to make some suggestions that make your tour a truly custom, once-in-a-lifetime experience.