When I came to Italy I did not know about Florencetown and I had no experience with the tourism industry. I essentially knew nothing coming into my position as an intern, but I wanted to learn because Florencetown as a company interested me. I saw a company that offered something outside of the typical tours you see when you come to Florence, and what’s more– at a higher quality too. I was interested and I wanted to learn all that I could.
Initially I learned all about the bookings departments and reservations: how to make reservations, which companies send us clients, how to communicate with those partners, and how to run a tour check point. Running the check points is probably my favorite part of the bookings department because I love to talk to the different people that come to do our tours and hear the stories they have to tell. The bookings department is more or less my home base; I come in to work every day and help with the morning checkpoint, but as the day goes on I can be pulled to other departments within the company.
One of the other departments that I help out with is private reservations. This section of Florencetown caters to a different clientele in the sense that their activities are private and entirely customizable to their own personal preferences, therefore each client has their own unique itinerary. This part of the company really interests me because of the endless possibilities there are for a customer to do. Some guests in the past have even rented out the Galleria dell’Academia for one night and had dinner beside Michelangelo’s David! With this department I help out with things such as writing letters to our clients welcoming them to Florence or Tuscany, delivering welcome packages to their places of accommodation, or doing research on their desired activities. There is still so much to learn in this area Florencetown, and yet so little time!
I have done assignments for the marketing department of Florencetown in my time here as well. One of these assignments for example is writing this very article. Another one of my blog articles is Florencetown’s Inferno: Ron Howard in Florence, which is about Dan Brown’s latest novel which is set in Florence, Ron Howard’s visit to Florence to begin planning for the film adaptation of the novel, and Florencetown’s Inferno tour which goes to all of the main sites that the book visits. One of the perks of being an intern for a tour operator is that you get to go on the tours too! Some of my favorites are the Vespa tour, horseback riding tour, and Wannabe Italiano cooking class. When I go on tours or to company events, I always make sure to take plenty of pictures and videos for the Facebook page as well. Just a fun fact, Florencetown’s Facebook page just reached 10.000+ likes, so thank you to all of our fans who took the time to give us some love!
My most recent company outing was to the World Travel Market trade show in London. There I got to experience what an international trade show is like, see how to make presentations of our company to prospective partners/clients, and meet major clients of Florencetown. Only being an intern, I never expected I would get such a unique and beneficial opportunity, but nonetheless I am quite happy I went because I gained a greater understanding of Florencetown and the tourism industry in general.
In looking back at my time here I can see my successes along with my mistakes and acknowledge just how much I’ve grown, with Florencetown and all of the great people I’ve met there being the ones to thank for that. They have shown me that tourism is more than massive groups of tourists dragging behind a tour guide carrying a brightly colored umbrella, and not actually listening to the information about the sites they see. So what have I really learned? What is tourism really about? It’s about caring for the customer enough to show them the best possible version of the region, and in Florencetown’s case it’s about showing our customers Tuscany at its finest.