Out and about with Terry Glossop

Date Posted: 23/12/2017

We speak to Terry Glossop from the Art Society of West Oxfordshire about his extensive travel list and his experience organising day trips for groups.

Terry has been organising group trips for about three years and has around 120 members in his group, the Art Society of West Oxon.

What made you want to be a GTO?

Well it just seemed a good idea, so I started and carried it on and it went from there. I work in conjunction with another member on our committee.

How do you go about interesting new members?

We have a website managed by Airedale, and Success Tours has some involvement too. We push out publicity locally, but like with a lot of things like this, it’s word of mouth.

How many trips do you organise each year?

Me personally, one or two, but others on the committee might do four a year.

Gloucester Cathedral

Pictured: Gloucester Cathedral, a favourite of Terry's.

What kind of trips do you organise?

We’ve done Gloucester Cathedral combined with some gardens in Gloucester. The cathedral is absolutely lovely. We’ve done Hughenden Manor the former home of Disraeli too, and Sudeley Castle as well. We’ve also recently done Litchfield Cathedral and the National Memorial Arboretum. I don’t do any overnight trips but even day trips take a lot of organising. The Royal School of Needlework is another. Hampton Court Palace too - if you haven’t been you should! So, you see, there are some pretty varied trips in my case.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Well, coming to the Group Leisure & Travel Show of course (laughs). That’s where we got the idea for Litchfield Cathedral. The other organiser in the group, Chris Kocher and I have brainstorming sessions from time to time too. But other people on the committee might put forward suggestions as well.

Do you go on any familiarisation trips?

I normally go and check places out before taking my group. I went to Gloucester Cathedral with my daughter before taking my group which was lovely. It’s good to check it out; you must do your research.

How long would you prepare?

There’s always a burst of activities when you do the bookings. And then it might take a couple of weeks and then you have to send the forms to your group and then it’s a waiting game. You have to book in advance, otherwise you won’t get places otherwise. You can’t do things any less than three months ahead generally. There is an increase of tourism to the country because of the weakness of the pound, so you have to be organised.

Terry's group

Pictured: Terry's group on a garden tour.

What is your favourite destination?

I’ve been to Italy 12 times. We are widely travelled, I think I’ve been to about 26 countries. I’ve been to New Zealand twice, Australia, Borneo, and The States. I really want to go to New York. I’ve been to nearly all the countries in Europe and have been skiing about 12 times. My son and his partner are going to France with a group of about 12 soon, and will be staying in a chalet, so that is something I’d recommend for groups. I’d recommend Italy, too. Florence and Rome for History, and if you want countryside you should go to Tuscany.

Do you have any tour operators you’d recommend?

We’ve been to Warner Leisure Hotels once or twice. They give you an all-round range of activities and accommodation and it’s full of people our age which makes you feel comfortable.

With your group, has anything funny ever happened?

With all the people have you invariably have some experiences. There’s one lady who is always late back to the coach, you get some people who forget all together and have gone out for the day. Nothing major though (laughs). But things do happen with older people, they are forgetful…as I am myself.

What’s the hardest part?

Making sure you cover your costs. You must you work it out carefully before you start and know how much you are being charged for x, y, z, and look at minimum and maximum numbers of people. If you don’t you could end up losing money.

If you could give three tips for GTOs?

You must do your research. You must work out all the costs and come to a decision on what you think is a break-even figure and make sure you stick to that. And you must go to places that are of general interest to your group, so they have an enjoyable day out.

Finally, what is the most rewarding part?

Running a successful outing and seeing people having a good time and being able to enjoy it yourself. It’s the satisfaction of knowing you’ve done a good job!

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