Monday, April 26, 2010

Our Best Teachers and Leaders in Spokane

Peg Thomas President, People to People Ambassador ProgramsWe welcomed 157 of our best and brightest teachers and leaders to Spokane from all over the U.S. for the People to People Leader University Conference last weekend. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to gather together to learn, share, and gear up for the busy summer travel season.

We held three days of training sessions and updates, mixed with some time to catch up with each other and make new friends. We ran three separate learning tracks for our attendees as well as some joint information meetings and mixers. It had been a while since we’d all been together, and we had a lot of ground to cover!

We discussed everything from new offerings and overviews from our product management team to leader development. We shared best practices and spent time talking about our Global Hub so that our Student Ambassadors will be prepared to share their amazing travel experiences, video footage, and thoughts over the summer. And now, of course, parents can tweet about their child’s trip, sharing their child’s global experience with other parents in the group.

Leading Global Education Travel
Our wonderful teachers are just one of the reasons why we are the leader in global educational travel. As the leader in educational travel, we feel a strong responsibility to keep learning, growing, and innovating. The ongoing training of our strong network of teacher leaders is vital to our ability to consistently provide our premier programs. Another example of continuous improvement is our annual review of programs for the best customer experiences, where we add and subtract venues, review locations, examine learning opportunities, and more. We are also the only educational travel company with a senior director of health and safety. You will hear much more about our commitment to safety and leadership in this area.

I’m proud of the many, many things that make us special. We provide unparalleled access to people, places, and cultures beyond that of any other organization, allowing our travelers to learn and expand their views of the world. We currently travel to more than 49 countries on all seven continents, and our program participants come from more than 100 nations. Much of that success comes from the passion, commitment, and efforts of our teachers and leaders to give each and every student traveler a life-changing experience. We truly believe in changing lives, one person at a time.

Customer Feedback Matters
It is important to us that our programs are highly rated by our customers, and we routinely review comment cards and feedback after each travel season to continuously improve our travel experiences. In 2008, 97% of our participants reported satisfaction with their experience and 94% of students and 93% of teachers said they would recommend People to People Ambassador Programs. Of current travelers, 94% said they would travel with us again.

We closely track our customer satisfaction rating. Last year, we began recording our Net Promoter score. For a frame of reference, many world-class organizations use Net Promoter as an indicator of customer satisfaction, and a score of 50 is considered excellent. Year to date, our average score is 70.0. This puts us in very good company, on par with the likes of Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, and Federal Express in terms of customer satisfaction levels.

Community Service = Great Learning Opportunity
We are always looking at ways to further instill personal growth for our student travelers through community service, expanding the horizons of students to help them gain a global perspective that will enable them to better compete in the world as they develop long-lasting friendships and memories. We work with our teacher leaders to identify projects to help students bond with their own travel groups before embarking on their journeys. Last year, our “Summer of Service” initiative contributed 140,000 hours of community service, and we plan to beat that number this year.

Working together, we will keep accomplishing our goals and building our reputation as the leader in global educational travel.

Wishing you success in fulfilling your own dreams,

Peg Thomas
President, People to People Ambassador Programs

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