ACE Cultural Tours Ltd is a tour operator founded in 1958, specialising in high quality cultural tours accompanied by expert Tour Directors. It is based at - and closely connected with - Stapleford Granary, a dynamic centre for music, arts and education five miles from Cambridge. The Company is a subsidiary of the ACE Foundation, a charitable trust which supports cultural and educational activities worldwide.
ACE is innovative and creative with its choice of worldwide destinations; its tours appeal to clients who are generally in the 50 and over age group, who possess a real desire to see new places and learn or improve their knowledge of a specific topic. Specialist subject areas include history, art, architecture, music (including a number of festival and opera tours) and natural history. Tour Directors are not only selected for their skill in imparting knowledge in a stimulating way but also for their ability to mix with group members, creating a very personal tour experience. Each year ACE receives extremely positive feedback from clients, who appreciate the strong organisational underpinnings of the tours, as well as their unique feel and special elements.
The ACE offices are based in converted farm buildings at Stapleford Granary, located 5 miles south of the centre of Cambridge.
Product & Operations Manager
Outline of the role
Working closely with the wider ACE team, tour personnel and key suppliers, you will finalise all arrangements ahead of departure. In particular, you will ensure that ACE is able to deliver all elements of the tour - from booking restaurants and visits to finalising coach and hotel arrangements - in line with the advertised material originally provided to clients. This will sometimes involve problem-solving, for example if a site closes at short notice. It will also involve accommodating and/or managing special customer requests. During the final stages, you will use your strong IT knowledge to create and dispatch the customers documentation and personnel packs, manage payments, and sometimes respond to questions or situations while the tour is operating. You will also monitor the tour feedback to ensure that any significant points for improvement are communicated to the relevant teams. Finally, you will use your IT skills to research, assess and work with new systems to help improve overall team efficiency.
- Regular use of IT (standard Microsoft applications including Word & Excel, and online applications Word Docs and Google Sheets) including an ability to research new systems to improve performance.
- Maintaining an efficient work schedule so that all tour elements are finalised and checked in line with agreed deadlines.
- Booking visits and excursions, where these have not previously been secured by contracting staff or an overseas agent.
- Check that all elements of the tour have been booked in line with information provided to clients, in consultation with the appropriate suppliers and tour personnel.
- Provide final information to suppliers – including names, rooming lists, arrival and departure timings - and liaising with costing and contracting staff to ensure supplier payment terms are met.
- Compile final pack for clients – including e-tickets, itinerary, participant lists, practical information and any other relevant details to be received by the client four weeks prior to departure.
- Compile final packs for the Tour Director and Tour Manager – including e-tickets, itinerary, visit schedule, payment details and participant information (contact details, rooming list, joining details, insurances, etc.). Target delivery is two weeks before departure.
- Cross-checking critical work, ensuring critical final information is proofed by other team members or other staff with an eye for detail.
- Liaising with costing and contracting staff – in particular, by updating tour costing sheets where budgets (e.g. for particular visits) have been under- or over-estimated.
- Producing high quality accurate final documentation for participants and tour personnel.
- Helping to refine tours by liaising closely with the tour planning team to ensure notes for improvement or logisitical adjustments are fed back into future tours.
- Adhering to GDPR guidelines - set by Ace Cultural Tours Ltd.
- Strong administrative and organisational skills with the ability to prioritise tasks and work to strict deadlines.
- Sound IT knowledge and ability to research, assess and implement applications / systems to improve efficiencies and workflows.
- Ability to problem solve, use initiative and work under pressure.
- Strong people skills.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with an eye for detail.
- Conscientious, with attention to detail.
- Interested in cultural travel.
- Calm, constructive and focused under pressure.
- Logical and practical.
- Interested in researching IT solutions to improve team performance.
- Commercially aware.
The post holder will benefit from a competitive salary and after a qualifying period, company contributions into a groups pension scheme and private medical insurance. Leave entitlement is 25 days per year and 8 public holidays for full time staff, pro-rata for part time employees. Normal working hours are 0900-1700 Monday–Friday with 30 minutes’ lunch break. This position is envisaged to be for 5 days/week, with some provision for flexible working.
Email Jane Horgan (email@example.com) with a personal statement and CV.
Useful Websites / Further Information
ACE Cultural Tours: www.aceculturaltours.co.uk
Stapleford Granary: https:/www.staplefordgranary.org.uk