Richard’s Blog

Meredith Hill Page, daughter of founder Ed Hill, and husband Richard Page. Veterans of 200-plus trips to Israel and other destinations.

PASTORS SEEK OUT SPECIALIST versus GENERALIST.

June 7, 2017

Several of our pastor/tour clients have recently told us how much they appreciate our hands-on experience in Israel and other destinations we have specialized in for many years. I appreciate these comments and believe they point out the need for specialization in a tour company/ travel professional. One pastor stated, “I believe more pastors are understanding the need to work with a tour company that specializes in certain destinations and not just a general travel agent.” We’ve even know of individuals with no experience whatsoever who call themselves a tour company. So more pastors are looking for a destination or product-focused specialist, not just someone with no experience in the travel industry, or little or no hands-on experience at the destinations they are are marketing.

One seasoned tour leader noted, “Education and experience soon weeds out part-time adventurists trying to be travel professionals. I’ve found that expertise and service are the most important factors in choosing a travel management company.” With 55 years of experience in Christian group travel, Ed Hill Tours obviously did not just “decide to be travel professionals.” Israel has been our #1 destination since the beginning, and our owners and staff have personally accompanied hundreds of groups through the years.

Safety is a major issue in today’s world. Ed Hill Tours has always believed that not only must we be knowledgeable of the destinations, but the safety issues of these destinations as well. With over 5 decades of experience in Christian group travel, we doubt that anyone can match our first-hand knowledge of the actual conditions and safety factors at the destinations we specialize in. As Christian owners of a tour company that organizes Christian group travel, we believe in absolute honesty with our clients. That is why we do not recommend or organize travel to some destinations. Yet although some people believe that Israel is a dangerous place to go, we can wholeheartedly encourage travel to Israel.

The influence of the Internet on today’s travel. There are legitimate good deals on the Internet, and there are many times we recommend that prospective clients, usually individuals, purchase their air or cruise tickets on the Internet. Yet, buyers should also beware of misleading and false information, bait and switch tactics, and pay close attention to the “fine print.” Many so-called Travel Deals on the Internet are simply “click bait” that is now unavailable, or cannot even be found. If found, these “come-on” prices lead to the complicated process of determining and adding the necessary options, extras, or taxes, significantly increasing the cost. One tour company advertises a Pastors FAM Tour for about $500 less than ours, (lower level hotels, shorter itinerary, etc), but upon checking their fine print, you find out that the large print advertised price does not include the Airline Fuel Surcharge of $700.

Our role at times has been to untangle all the information and misinformation, and narrow down a client’s options. A recent article in a national travel magazine stated, “a good travel professional’s role can be to sift through the maze of so-called deals online and truly find clients the best value and make sure they get what they pay for.”

Nothing beats years of first-hand experience in any destination. In Christian group travel, no destination is more popular than Israel, and no one has done it longer, and consistently does it better than Ed Hill Tours.