Tava Foster is the Travel Advisor and Tour Manager for Ramblers, a walking and hiking tour company based in the US that specializes in tours in the UK and Ireland. With a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and a Master’s degree in TV/Video Production, Tava currently oversees the sales, marketing, and tour management for Ramblers as well as New Adventures; New Adventures is part of the Kendelo Travel Family, along side Ramblers. Tava Foster has been a traveler at heart since she was young, and is thrilled to share her love and passion for active tourism with clients. To learn more about Ramblers and Tava Foster, continue reading on.
Travel Research Online (TRO): Was there anything particular that inspired you to make the jump and work within the travel industry?
Tava Foster (TF): Serendipity. I was at the right place at the right time. All of my children were in school full time, and Kendelo was looking to add a sales person to their team. It was a perfect fit.
TRO: You previously worked in advertising and sales, living in Seoul, Korea for two and a half years. Was there anything you learned in that position that you have carried to Ramblers, and your position as Travel Advisor and Tour Manager?
TF: Living overseas enhanced my skills in working with a variety of people from all over the world—this gives me an advantage when I am working with our vendors in the UK. I used living in Seoul as a launch pad for travel all over Asia, and this gives me travel experience necessary when speaking with clients—some of whom are traveling overseas for the first time. It’s comforting to have someone with this kind of experience give you advice for your trip. I understand train connections and flight connections and other little details that you must consider when taking such a trip.
TRO: Your current position includes overseeing the sales, marketing, and tour management for Ramblers as well as New Adventures, a member of the Kendelo Travel family. What does a typical day in your position look like? Are you always on the move? Is each day different from the last?
TF: Customer service and email is the lifeline of our business—and when emailing hotels and guides all over the world, I am constantly responding to messages about our tours for our vendors, our hotels and our clients. I strive to respond to each request in a timely manner and I love helping clients plan their dream trips. Daily, I consider marketing strategies and ways to improve our web traffic. I also communicate regularly with our dedicated guides to give them updates on the tours they will be leading as well as identify any changes we might need to make such as an accommodation change or route change based on the status of the trails. New Adventures is a bit different as each proposal is unique to the client and I respond to each request individually, creating a custom tour to fit their travel dates, level of luxury and budget.
TRO: Can you tell us about the walking and hiking tours in the UK and Ireland that Ramblers offers? Which are the most popular? Which is your favorite?
TF: We offer fully guided, fully supported walking tours that feature carefully selected hotels, inns and B&B’s and fantastic food. Historically, our most popular tours are the Lake District and Scotland, although all of the UK is popular for walking tours. My favorite is the Lake District as I love the variety of walking/hiking that can be done there. The mountains surrounding the lakes offer dramatic views, and the area is steeped in literary history. One can choose low level, less strenuous walks or a higher level mountain hike, and you can visit the same place again and again and learn something new! We are most excited to add Ireland in this year, and have found a tremendous guide to take our clients through the Connemara Coast. We expect this tour to be very popular.
TRO: How do you go about planning the perfect walking or hiking tour? How do you decide the locations and sites each tour visits? Give us some insight to that process.
TF: Ultimately your experience lays in the hands of our guides, so we start with excellent guides. Once we have found a guide that we love, we rely on them to select the best routes based on their intimate knowledge of the area. It is not uncommon for our guides to introduce our clients to local legends, and to offer unique local experiences. Our guides are so enriched in the area that they are taking our clients through, they are really sharing a piece of themselves with the walkers/hikers. The final step in planning a perfect walking tour is finding the perfect accommodations that meet our discerning standards offering our clients the level of comfort they expect from Ramblers—from the bedrooms to the dining room.
TRO: Has your own personal experience and passion with world-wide travel helped you when it comes to the tours Ramblers and New Adventures plans and offers?
TF: I have spent time in parts of the world that other employees of Ramblers and New Adventures have not and vice versa—when planning and adding new tours, my passion for adventure off the beaten path brings a different facet to the company than my counterparts that have traveled extensively around Europe. Each of us having individual experiences and tastes opens doors for both Ramblers to offer unique walking tours to appeal to many people who choose to see the world on foot.
TRO: Of all the places you have traveled, do you have a favorite? Where and why? What about a destination you have always dreamed of visiting but haven’t made it to yet?
TF: Goodness. It’s hard to pick one favorite. I have absolutely loved every place I have ever visited. I love meeting new people and learning new cultures. I’ve slept on a boat in Halong Bay, Vietnam, a tent in Wadi Rum, Jordan, outside of the Angkor Wat ruins in Cambodia, and a monastery in India. One thing I love about world travel is seeing how different people are, how they live their daily lives but also to see how much alike we all are. I dream of visiting Reunion Island. Reunion, a French colony in the Indian Ocean is growing in popularity for our clients and I’d love to go visit and see the rainforests, active volcanoes and enjoy the beach. There are so many adventure opportunities available on such a small little island—but it’s off the beaten path and you don’t run into people often saying they’ve been there—so I want to go!
TRO: What can we expect to see from Ramblers this upcoming year? Any exciting news you can share with us?
TF: We have expanded into Ireland this year and we are looking at adding a destination in mainland Europe—perhaps France or Italy… you’ll have to wait and see what we come up with!