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By Tony Roberts
Tour Manager & Class 1 Driver
I joined BMG in the summer of 2017 as driver for the Compassion Experience. While we’ve been off the road due to Covid-19 I’ve been thinking about all amazing experiences we’ve had and in particular the big lessons that I’ve learnt. Here’s a few of them:
My own career has been very varied, ranging from spending time in the military to running an estate agency; owning a wedding planning business and driving a truck! I can definitely say that I brought a lot of different experiences with me and I’ve drawn on many of them whilst working as a Tour Manager.
Resilience and resourcefulness are definitely two of the characteristics that are needed to work in this business. I’ve found that when you have a team of like-minded people who work well together and are willing to do whatever it takes to make things happen then there are always solutions.
I can safely say that whatever was thrown at us, everything from the ‘Beast from the East’ through to problems on motorway which delayed our arrival by hours, we have always found solutions and adapted.
BMG is definitely built upon values of working in partnership with our clients and going above and beyond to make tours work. As a Tour Manager I’ve been key to doing this with my client. Whenever we start to work with a new client we always tell them that they will need us and we will need them. It’s a mutual relationship. When things are not going according to plan for whatever reason then we will need to work together to find solutions.
Before we started working with Compassion, our team visited their offices for a couple of days and really got to know them and their values. This helped us massively in terms of knowing what their expectations would be and how we could surpass them.
As a company we’ve worked hard to build relationships with some trusted partners that are able to help us at short notice. In addition to this, our company ethos is very much about supporting each other to get the job done. This industry definitely needs good relationships and support networks. You need to know that when you are on the road and you need an answer or some help (which could be at any time, day or night) you have good people to reach out to.
You can definitely split what we do into two categories. There’s the people skills that we needed to deal with clients, represent brands and work with the general public. Then there’s set up, packdown, maintenance and everything that goes into building the physical environment - ‘the experience’. A lot of the work that goes into this is very physical, working at height, lifting and moving heavy pieces of equipment, making sure that cameras or lighting is hung safely, not to mention guiding trucks in and out of sites.
As a Tour Manager I’ve worked closely with my colleagues to make sure that they are kept up to date with safety training, health and safety guidelines and other best practices. It’s led to an environment where there have been very few incidents and where as the team leader I can have confidence that my team are acting safely, even if my back is turned.
It’s one thing recruiting staff to work in a regular job but recruiting them for the road - and managing a team that’s travelling together, working together and living together - is a whole different thing. As a company we put a lot of effort into recruiting the right people and matching them to the tour they’re going to be part of. This definitely helps. I’ve also found that having regular one to ones with every team member to allow them to talk through how they’re finding things, give feedback and put action plans in place has been really helpful. What we do is definitely a lifestyle choice so we need to make sure our teams are supported and able to enjoy their job.