Group Organiser profile - Carmen Luscombe, Devon Federation of Women’s Institutes

October 2016

Carmen Luscombe has been organising her tours for members of the Devon Federation of Women’s Institutes with Tailored Travel for many years now. Her first tour was to Norfolk in 2011. With a tour every year since and three in 2016 and another three planned for 2017, she’s obviously doing tours which are popular with her members. So we’ve asked Carmen for her thoughts on the experience and insight she has gained from being a successful Group Organiser.

Your Name: Carmen Luscombe       

Group Name: Devon Federation of Women’s Institutes

Size of group: 7,000

No. of tours per year: Usually 3

UK, Europe or worldwide?:           

Mostly UK with the occasional tour to Europe. Over the last few years we have travelled to destinations such as:

World War I Tour (2016)

Blenheim Palace & Bletchley Park (2016)

North Wales (2015)

Lake District (2014)

Castles & Gardens of Kent (2013)

Floriade in Holland (2012)

Norfolk (2011)

Where are you going in 2017?:

Alexandra Palace Craft Show & Kew Gardens (March)

The Peak District & Cheshire (May)

Bath, Bristol & SS Great Britain (October)

Favourite destination:

We are just back from a five day World War I tour in October which took in not only the War cemeteries and memorials but also the ‘Last Post’ Ceremony under the Menin Gate in Ypres. It is still the 100th anniversary and this is a trip I have always wanted to make. Remembrance Sunday has always been special for me since I was a teenager and parading with the Red Cross at the cenotaph in Bath. In my local churches I always arrange the Remembrance flowers with poppies. The knowledge that winning the War was a multi-national effort of working together to achieve so much should not be forgotten!

Memorable moment:

The Devonshire Cemetery at Mametz and another small cemetery. At the request of two separate WI members whose great uncles are buried there, my husband John who is an Anglican priest led short prayers. It was a most moving experience as each of the members told us the stories of their great uncles and the impact on their families. This made the whole experience more personal for the group.

Most enjoyable thing about being a Group Organiser:

I like to be in the position to enable some members who are on their own to have a holiday in a safe environment. Many would otherwise not go on holiday on their own.

Least enjoyable thing about being a Group Organiser:

The worry of leaving anyone behind! In addition, I have had a few members who are becoming more forgetful and having to take more responsibility for them! Some people moaning about seating!

Top tips to other Group Organisers:

  • Be organised in every way and make a list of what is to be done each day.
  • Get the mobile number from all passengers, have a list with their names ready with a clipboard and pen attached. Send this around as soon as all passengers are on-board.
  • Work out how many seats are spare and count the empty seats after each stop - easier to identify the numbers missing!
  • Prepare envelopes for the tips with the Tailored Travel advice on tipping so passengers are aware of suitable amount if they so wish!!

Any thoughts on Tailored Travel’s service?

Tailored Travel staff are very efficient and reliable. They do not keep you waiting for any queries whatsoever. They are ‘Forever Ready’ with a response and will try to resolve any challenges! They work with their clients’ needs and expectations.