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Two weeks in Paris guiding 4 couples. Need help with itinerary!

Two weeks in Paris guiding 4 couples. Need help with itinerary!

Old Oct 9th, 2014, 07:14 AM
  #61  
 
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Found the link for Kathie and Cheryl's trip posted by Kathie, not Cheryl. Cheryl's the picture taker and Kathie is the writer!! Sorry Kathie!

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ris-in-may.cfm
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Old Oct 9th, 2014, 08:24 AM
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As noted by several posters, this is far more complicated than chatting with theses people, coming up with an itinerary, booking hotels and flights.
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Old Oct 9th, 2014, 09:09 AM
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If you can pull this off, then good luck to you, seriously. The planning alone will take an awful lot of work, and frankly, your limited travel experience will make you a newbie in planning a trip for 4 couples who are my age. Just curious, how much of your work time is your boss thinking this project will take, because you have hours and hours ahead of you. And he can afford to have you spend two weeks traveling with his parents and their friends instead of working for him? It all seems a bit crazy to me.

You need the help of a good travel agent, and these couples need to pay for it in their 'tour' package. Because this is what you are doing, planning a tour, in addition to your day job. Are you expected to make their plane reservations too.

We have just returned from two weeks in Croatia, on a small tour, 3 couples, arranged by a friend who a few years ago started doing small food/wine tours to Spain, Italy and now Croatia. Planning executing these tours are a full time job for her, and on this trip I became even more aware of how much planning, and day by day responsibility this is. For example, on more than one occasion one of us needed a pharmacy. My DH is an MD so that was helpful. How is your French?

Two weeks in Paris is also a lot of time for one city. Perhaps they would be happier with one week in Paris, and one week in the countryside. I know I would. And thus there are more logistics, trains, hotels, etc.

Have these people ever traveled together? A weekend in wine country, for example. Is not two weeks on the road. And you will spending 2 weeks with 8 almost strangers.

I know this CAN work, but you need professional help, not just a conversation on a travel board. I have been traveling for decades, and not as extensively as others here, but this is more than a work project for the boss. It is very complex, and is going to take way more time than you think. Or he thinks.
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Old Oct 9th, 2014, 02:47 PM
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Another thing you may want to consider is that he is tasking you with a 'work-style' project that is largely personal; these are his parents and their friends, people who are dear to him, and you are a stranger to all of them, but an employee to him. To me this is quite unfair no matter how familiar you and him may be with each other on a business level.

All well and good upon your return if the trip is a success, but what's going to happen if the trip ends up going painfully wrong and there is acrimony all round ? Are you expected to seamlessly transition back to your work role and duties as they were before you left on the trip ? Will yours and his business relationship be the same, especially if you enjoy it now ?

Again I wish you well, but just be aware of these things.
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Old Oct 9th, 2014, 04:02 PM
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One apt for 4 couples is not very realistic. Most pats with multiple bedrooms have one or more that is for kids with twin beds or bunk beds - and you are unlikely to get 4 adult/couple bedrooms each with a private bath.

May be possible if you rent a whole house - but can't imagine what that would cost in Paris or availability.

I think you would be much better off with a decent hotel - so you have backup from the concierge if necessary - and everyone can have real adult room with private bath. Your room could be a suite with a LR (that's what I always get) so people have palace to gather and I have a place to work.
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Old Oct 9th, 2014, 04:12 PM
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And I wonder if the other 3 couples, or maybe even boss's parents, want to led around Paris by this guy's 20 something personal assistant? I am sure you are a very nice person. I am in their age demographic, and unless they have never traveled internationally, do they really need a minder? Would not a detailed itinerary do? If you were fluent in French perhaps, but no French, no real travel experience for this kind of trip. . .it puzzles me.

I just am curious how this guy can spare you for two weeks for this adventure. Please don't tell us this is your vacation time too.
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Old Oct 9th, 2014, 05:54 PM
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The concierge in a hotel might well become your new best friend.
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Old Oct 9th, 2014, 06:16 PM
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"The concierge...might well become your new best friend."

Be sure to include a budget for fees & tips for the unexpected help you may need along the way.
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Old Oct 10th, 2014, 03:19 AM
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Absolutely don't rent any apartments for this group. Even if you find one with four bedrooms, one bedroom will be the "master" bedroom and the others will be much smaller and less inviting. Who gets the best bedroom? who gets the worst?

A friend of mine came to Italy on holiday with her best buddy, and the rancor caused by this very issue was the main factor that completely ruined their friendship. According to my friend, the other woman always nabbed the best bedroom. The other factor was my friend's dog, who limited the restaurants they could eat at, transportation they could use, and places they could visit. They've never spoken again since this trip.
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Old Oct 11th, 2014, 11:04 AM
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Sorry, but I agree with KTTravel's husband. It might be time to look for another job. That boss of yours is absolutely nuts to expect you to do this, and quite unfair. 8 people you don't even know! People who can't even plan their own trip need a tour guide or travel agent at the very least. I hate to sound so negative when all you're asking for is some help or ideas. But I worked as a secretary/personal assistant to a demanding boss for years, and I can't imagine being asked to do this.
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Old Oct 11th, 2014, 11:58 AM
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I suspect this is one of those inquiries that will see the OP simply disregarding the enormity of her situation and, consequently, all the reality voiced here.

Whatever her current thoughts, I suspect she'll be able to book rooms and book, or co-ordinate the booking of, flights so everyone gets there the same day. Local transport comes next and if everyone is on the same flight, good. If not, I think she should give each party printed possibilities and let each make their way to the hotel, assuming all are in one hotel. If not all at the same hotel then I suggest she not attempt to give individual instructions.

It might be a good idea to determine what guidebook gives a good overview for the style of travel the group is attempting and buy them for everyone, or tell each party to buy it for themselves. At least everyone will then be, literally, on the same page. Group excursions and special meals together can be discussed and booked in advance for those who wish to participate.

Given the potential complications innate in the situation as a whole, I suggest the hotel or hotels be booked for the duration and excursions outside the city be done as day trips, rather than have everyone move, doubling or tripling the possibility for chaos. Train tickets for day trips need not be purchased in advance but as participants sign on for each, as they go, the day before.

My general feeling is, if everyone is responsible for educating themselves at least by reading a guide, and taking at least minimal responsibility for their own logistics, they will be less likely to blame the OP for the least misstep and besides, it's more fun that way. Few people, I believe, really enjoy being led around by the nose cluelessly.
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Old Oct 11th, 2014, 02:44 PM
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I wouldn't add renting a possibly illegal apartment in Paris to the list of possibly illegal work assignments.

Unless your boss is the owner of the company, your "work" assignment is theft of services from the company. Apparently you are paid to close deals. Unless your boss is paying you out of his own pocket in a privately held company (held entirely by him), his appropriation of your salaried time to do his personal work is no different than if he ordered home furniture on the company charge card and told you to pile it into your van to drive it to his house.

Apparently your boss doesn't know what "the stakes" are. This is not about whether his parents will be mad at him. It's about a totally inappropriate request to a subordinate.

I don't envy you your position -- not because you are asked to plan a trip for adults who may turn out to be as clueless as your boss -- but because you are absolutely right to think your job is on the line -- most likely in several directions. If others in authority in the company find out what is happening, they are likely to get this "project" cancelled, if these 8 people are not happy they will complain to your boss about you, if you try to get out of your "duties", then your boss might fire you, or lie about you to others why he wants you off his team.

All the power is the hands of other people and circumstances you can't control, like flight delays, other cancellations, etc.

Who are these selfish spoiled people who don't plan their own leisure time to Paris? I guess your about to find out with your in-depth interviews. I'd be interviewing the head of human resources myself, and keeping a written record of all inappropriate requests from your unprofessional boss.
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Old Oct 11th, 2014, 02:52 PM
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(At a minimum tell us what company you work for so that if any of happen to own stock in it we can sell it. Apparently it is very poorly run.
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Old Oct 11th, 2014, 06:00 PM
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>>to the list of possibly illegal work assignments. <<

>>If others in authority in the company find out what is happening, they are likely to get this "project" cancelled,<<

>> I'd be interviewing the head of human resources myself, and keeping a written record of all inappropriate requests . . . <<

Huh . . . Maybe you've been living in Italy too long. This sounds like a privately held, small company to me.
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Old Oct 11th, 2014, 08:26 PM
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janisj,

Vendetta, much? First comments from you in this thread are that the request is inappropriate. Next comments are that the poster "smells" like a troll.

But if I raise questions of legitimacy, suddenly you can't see any problems here -- not because there aren't problems here, but because you saw my name and had to dream up a personal attack.

I think it is a pity that while this young woman's peers will be spending their work hours learning more about closing deals and moving forward in their field, she will be learning how to become caretakers for the elderly. If she does a good job with this, could be there is a whole future ahead of her arranging for elder care, nursing homes, etc.

She needs to talk to somebody who can straighten this out for her. It's an employment problem, not a travel problem.
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Old Oct 11th, 2014, 08:59 PM
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I agree with sandralist. And even if this is a small company as it was rudely pointed out, it doesn't change that this work assignment is highly inappropriate.

I worked for a small biotech company during the summer after first year university, so naive and wanting to be helpful, I assisted a coworker in personal tasks as she had difficulty communicating in English even though it cut into my work time. Eventually these requests moved on from personal issues to communicating with clients on her behalf and I complied for the same reasons I did before. Before I knew it, I was doing a portion of her job and when I messed up she immediately blamed me. Since it was a temporary job and the higher ups had liked my performance otherwise it was a more forgiving situation but I had a very long stressful talk for doing something that I was trained to do on company SOPs and hence not qualified to do and also lost the opportunity to get a good reference letter. Any other situation, especially if it was a permanent job and I wasn't a student, I would have been fired. You're probably leaning more in that direction if something like this goes wrong and if it goes right, you're probably in for more requests like this that might cost you more if you fail.
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Old Oct 11th, 2014, 09:00 PM
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wasn't trained to do on company SOPs*
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Old Oct 11th, 2014, 09:50 PM
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If the boss is the owner WHO the heck is she supposed to 'talk it over' with?

Yes, I think the assignment is inappropriate, but that doesn't mean there is an HR dept or other manager she can complain to.
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Old Oct 11th, 2014, 10:42 PM
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I think someone's already caught on - the OP has apparently abandoned this thread.
Too bad, since it would have made one helluva trip report...
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Old Oct 12th, 2014, 04:52 AM
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"caught on" to what? that no one wants to offer useful advice but just to make snarky comments (with some exceptions) I am really sick of people calling people "trolls" and make-believe for little reason just because their request is a little unusual. Nothing about the OP's post sounds fictional to me.

But I would also have just suggested finding a decent, good hotel in a good location with a helpful concierge/front desk. Maybe book some day bus tours or something, find a private guide for them (people are always recommending some on here). And not micro-managing everything else.

And I think you do have to be sensitive to age, that isn't an insult, people are making a lot of assumptions about what that means. I personally would not WANT an itinerary designed by a 22 year old, and I'm in the age group of the visitors. I think it has to do with interests and also, you can't cram 20 things in a day, you don't have to be 90 to not want to run around like crazy. Touring a big city can be very tiring.

As for the request, no one on here has the slightest idea if this is illegal or unusual or not. The OP could be some personal assistant to someone, that is what they do--everything. Why are people assuming the OP is working for some vast corporation. Who knows and why should we care.
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