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MAR-APR 2017

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Itineraries subject to change without notice. ©2011 Celebrity June 1 – September 14, 2012 Book your 2012 Alaska Cruisetour Groups Now. Islands in the Sun Cruises & Tours, Inc 800-278-7786 • May - September 2013 Book your 2013 Alaska Cruisetour Groups Now. 800-278-7786 I S L A N D S I N T H E S U N C R U I S E S & T O U R S , I N C 9 M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 7 Cruises Inc. Ships' registry: Malta & Ecuador. 11024872 • 8/2011 e p l o r e 10- to 14-Night Alaska Cruisetours onboard Celebrity Millennium® Seward/Vancouver departures May - September 2017/2018 Book your 2017/2018 Alaska Cruisetour Groups Now! 800-278-7 786 I S L A N D S I N T H E S U N C R U I S E S & T O U R S , I N C ough Young had not yet planned group travel when she started as executive director, she had plenty of alumni relations experience from a previous job at Pennsylvania State University and her three years working at Oberlin College. "I did a lot of event planning at Pennsylvania State, which I think was great preparation," said Young. "ere are several components of event planning and travel planning that are similar." She inherited an already-robust travel program, as Oberlin has sent alumni on tours since 1975. Young continues that tradition by helping to craft four major trips a year for its more-than 40,000 graduates. I N F I N I T E A F F I N I T Y Young quickly realized that one of the keys to the alumni travel pro- gram's enduring success lay in focusing the tour back on the college. "When I first started the program, we met a lot of other schools that were sending only a few alumni on a trip," said Young. "How is that building affinity? Our program has to be more than a travel agency. Instead of selling a lot of tours, we prefer exclusive trips that are only Oberlin travelers." Young takes a group photo with an Oberlin banner, includes visits with Oberlin students studying at the destination when possible and makes sure a current faculty member goes on every trip. "Pairing a faculty host on each trip is really a priority for us," said Young. "Faculty can add an educational component that the tour might not otherwise have. It's also important to have someone who is connected back to the college on the tour." Young also partners tours with the college's art museum and con- servatory for customized art-themed and music-themed tours. "I think the travel program really brings people closer to the college," said Young. "Many of our travelers are alums who haven't interacted with the college in other ways." S M A L L B U T M I G H T Y ough the program offers only four trips a year, those tours stay in demand with many re- peat travelers. "I am proud of our program," said Young. "It is respected because we have kept it a small pro- gram with high-quality trips. We try to find a good balance of trips that span the globe. A lot of our alums are very serious travelers and are excited to join our trips." Oberlin alumni journey across the continents, with trips to Galapagos, China and Europe regu- larly scheduled. e group also plans a yearly domestic trip with an active itinerary filled with camping, biking, kayaking and hiking. Of all the exotic locales Young has explored with the college, China's Lhasa in Tibet stands out. "I fell in love with Lhasa," said Young. "It's one of those trips that had both the amazing and the challenging. Lhasa is about 12,000 feet altitude, so it is one of the highest cities in the world. We, of course, had warned our travelers about this." But even with the cautions, three travelers came down with altitude sickness almost immediately after landing. Despite these worries, she reveled in the city's monasteries, markets and mountains. "It's such a gorgeous city," said Young. "e people are so friendly, and their clothing is so colorful. It was a high- light, and simultaneously, I had a lot of anxiety." Even with the unavoidable complications that come with travel, Young remains just as dedicated to traveling as she did after her first taste of it in Germany. "If I don't have a trip coming up in the future, I'm nervous until I can figure out where I can go next," said Young. "I'm always looking for some new adventure." • Include as many touch points for your travelers as possible, such as welcome letters, post-trip photo sharing and thank-you notes. • Enhance the educational travel aspect of your tours with faculty hosts who have relevant expertise and a willingness to socialize with your travelers. • Offer as many exclusive tours as possible, since they enhance the connection your travelers have with the college and each other. T R A V E L tips

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