Name: Carol Buczek, CTIS
Company: Tours By Design, Inc.
City, State: Hinckley, N.Y.
Years in the Industry: 26
How did you first get involved in the industry?
While working at another job, a friend and I went on a bus tour to see Phantom of the Opera in Toronto. It was a great experience and I loved everything about it. On the way home I talked to the tour escort and she was so enthusiastic about her job! A few weeks later that tour company had an ad in the paper for a Group Tour Coordinator. Coincidence? Maybe. But I applied for the heck of it, without any tourism background, and landed the job. I spent 6 years in that position and then the company was bought out, and offices were consolidated to another location. I was sad to leave the job but it wasn’t practical to commute that far. After group leaders called my home for help, I decided to start my own business and give it a shot. That was 20 years ago and I’m still here!
Who has inspired your career?
My dear friend Sandra Garrick, who was at Indian Head Resort when I first met her, became my mentor and gave me the encouragement and inspiration to make this happen.
What has been the greatest challenge/opportunity in your career?
Challenge has been trying to figure out all of the behind-the-scenes tasks required to run a business; legal, accounting, insurance, marketing, taxes, licenses, technology….while at the same time creating tours and getting them on the road. I’m a one-person operation and it can be overwhelming. People don’t see or realize all that’s behind the business side of things. And that is by far the least appealing side to me. I just want to create tours and make people happy! The greatest opportunity is traveling to places that I probably never would have, and bringing joy to so many people over the last 20 years. When they tell me how much they loved a tour and thank me for making it happen, it’s just the best feeling of satisfaction and joy. What is better than making others happy?
What advice would you give to others about working in this industry?
You really need to be a people person. You hear it all the time but nothing could be more accurate than saying this is a relationship business. Both, between operators and suppliers, as well as with customers. Also be prepared to work long hard hours. There’s much fun to be had, but it doesn’t just happen.
Why is it important for you to belong to Women in Buses Council?
While I don’t get to take part in many of the activities, it’s still nice to feel like a part of a team. There is strength in numbers! As a one person operation, I do need to ask questions and get help sometimes and it’s comforting to know someone is there to have my back.