Interview with Gerardo FRANKENBERGER, Operations Supervisor
We were happy to welcome Gerardo for an interview. We were able to retrace his career path before landing at Receptour, as well as all the reasons that pushed him towards this beautiful profession.
Can you tell us more about your professional background before joining Receptour?
Before working for Receptour, I worked for 8 years as a tour guide in Canada with a Spanish-speaking clientele, as well as a microbrewery guide with an English-speaking clientele.
At the same time, I worked in an international cooperation that collected unused bicycles in Montreal to send them to Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, which was an opportunity for me to travel all around the world and meet people from different backgrounds.
These experiences allowed me to have a totally self-taught training in the world of travel and to become passionate about it. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced me to stop my activities as a guide and to reconvert to another profession. However, I quickly missed the tourism industry, so I decided to go back to it, this time to something more stable and safer. I came across a job offer as Operations Supervisor at Receptour, and that’s how I ended up working for Receptour at the end of October 2022!
Why did you decide to work in Canada rather than elsewhere?
My attraction to Canada goes back to my student days. When I was looking for a city to study in, I spoke no french at all and I really wanted to learn it. I was told a lot about Quebec, that it was a beautiful province with very caring citizens. As a result, Montreal was on the list of places I was considering for study. In the end, whether it was the university, the language or the programs offered, it all led me to Montreal, because it was the city that best suited me.
During my undergraduate degree, I was lucky enough to come across an advertisement to become a guide. I applied, and to my surprise I was hired, so I chose to stay here. I was able to take advantage of this opportunity to learn French and then I met my current wife who is from Quebec. I finally settled in Montreal to live with my sweetheart!
Why did you want to work at Receptour then?
When I was working as a guide, I often had the opportunity to hear positive comments about Receptour and about the Toundrigo family in general. All my fellow guides had praised this DMC for its strength of proposal and its ecological commitment.
I had once applied to be a guide for Receptour, but we never managed to find dates that matched the Receptour tours because I was already on other routes with other companies.
When the pandemic settled down, I was desperate to get back into tourism, and I saw a job posting from Receptour. I applied and I was hired! And I already knew Alvin, my colleague sales director, with whom I had worked when I was a guide, and I knew we two had a perfect working relationship.
Do you have a favorite program at Receptour?
It’s really hard to choose, but for me, the Ecological Coast to Coast itinerary is so full. It lets you to discover the West Coast and the East Coast, and it has an environmental component that charges a carbon fee to offset your ecological footprint. I think it’s the best route.
What does your position as Operations Supervisor entail?
For the moment, my job consists of assisting Vanessa, the director of operations, for everything related to the logistics of transportation.
From booking buses to making the guides’ schedules, but also all the bureaucratic and human resources side, like paying the guides and even finding new guides when we are short of them. For now, this is the bulk of my work, but I am also learning everything that the coordinators do, such as creating itineraries to understand the entire logistics of Receptour trips.
Your missions seem so varied! Does that mean you have a work routine?
No, I don’t really have one.
When I first started working for Receptour, I spent a lot of time getting to know the tours, the provinces, or even the suppliers we work with. You must understand the systems that are used to put together the itineraries so that you are as ready as you can be when the high season arrives.
I don’t have an established workday, but we’re usually in heavy preparation for the summer season. So, I spend a lot of time finalizing bus reservations and contacting guides to assign tours to each of them. For the next few months, I think my main mission will be to find the right guides and the right buses for the right tours, and always keep thinking about new itineraries.
What do you like the most about your job?
What I love most is working with people who are on vacation. I believe that every trip we take, even if it doesn’t turn out perfectly, is a life experience we will always remember.
Traveling allows us to learn so many things, even within our own country. The best school of life is traveling. I love the fact that I give everything I can so that someone who lives on the other side of the world and comes to visit Canada has the best experience possible and can remember it for the rest of their life.
Besides, I love the tourism industry so much because of its ability to evolve quickly. We saw an example of this during the pandemic, when no one thought we would ever recover, but we are in the process of rebuilding ourselves, and I think the next 3 or 4 years will be very interesting for the industry.
Do you have anything else you would want to share to conclude this interview?
Yes of course, I think that travel should be a priority in the goals we set for ourselves in our lives. For me, it is so enriching, and it opens our eyes on the world. And it also makes us to appreciate our home much better, by realizing how lucky we are to have what we have. Every human being who has a little time and a little money should prioritize travel in their life, because it can change a person completely.
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