Why Big Five?
Five Reasons to Travel with Big Five Tours
1. Level of Staff Knowledge
At Big Five, you are working with one of the most experienced groups in the travel industry. Our Destination Specialists receive 900+ hours of in-destination and in-office training annually; and have a combined average 17 years experience in travel.
2. Big Five is in the top one percent of luxury tour operators to place on Travel+Leisure’s A-List
Big Five’s Destination Specialists have appeared on the A-List of top travel professionals from 2009 to 2014. This list validates the value of experience. This recognition is achieved by going through unbiased questioning and itinerary planning, and it is not based on voting by magazine subscribers.
3. White Glove Service® Guest Assistance
Big Five provides a personal experience that begins with a live person answering each call promptly during business hours. Our 24-hour White Glove Service® guest assistance desk is manned by a team of specialists available 365 days from anywhere in the world. WGS® is your:
- Personal concierge service for anything from dinner reservations to hard-to-get special event tickets
- Assistant to relay messages to family and friends, to help arrange private air charters and other details
- Emergency specialist who is there to tackle any emergency situation from lost luggage to stolen passports to emergency medical assistance
- Information kiosk for all the latest news, weather, airline delays; whatever information youneedto make your journey run more smoothly
- Organizer who can coordinate special events such as a birthday or anniversary dinner, flowers or gifts
4. Willingness to Customize
Our Destination Specialists combine creativity with their impressive knowledge to customize clients’ journeys to meet each guest’s interests, whether that is honeymoon couples, families or special interest groups.
5. A Sustainable Future
Big Five guests benefit from our partnerships with properties and suppliers who have strong sustainable ethics built into their operations, which assures each guest will experience the best a destination has to offer. As part of our commitment, we employ local professional guides and drivers in each destination; and we support local initiatives dedicated to cultural preservation and habitat conservation.
We Don’t Tell Stories Better, We Tell Better Stories®
Meet some of our Big Five Team
Our Destination Specialists are some of the most creative in the industry, with the knowledge and skill to help you plan you ideal adventure and insure that it is truly the trip of a lifetime.
Colin Rose–Asia, the Orient, Africa and South Pacific
Colin has been in the tourism industry for 29 years, beginning in 1983 inMumbai, India. He has a depth o fknowledge that is hard to match. Colin served in a variety of capacities, from handling inbound tours from Europe and North America, to serving as an escort/guide, to sales and management.
Tatiana Johnston–Latin America, Africa and the Orient
Tatiana was born and raised in Ecuador, and worked as a tour guide there for ten years.She earned an MBA and speaks four languages, which have helped her succeed in the travel business for more than 27 years. In her travels, she has also grown to love Africa, and has a passion for the Orient, especially Japan. She has been on Travel+Leisure magazine’s A-List of Agents in 2009,2010,2011, 2012 & 2013.
Volker Altvater – Africa
Originally from Germany, Volker is another member of our gang who has an incredible depth of knowledge and experience with more than 26 years in the field of travel. He has long been drawn to Africa for the spectacular wildlife experience that cannot be duplicated anywhere else on the planet, and regularly returns to Africa to explore different areas. Volker has ranked among Travel+Leisure magazine’s A-List of Agents in 2012, 2013 & 2014.
Gisela Polo– LatinaAmerica, Africa
Gisela has worked in the travel hospitality industry for some 24 years, the firs t12 in her native Peru. She hasa Bachelor’s degree in hospitality and management, and a Masters degree in tourism marketing in Peru. Gisela relocated to Miami with her husband and son more than a adozen year sago and continued working in the industry
Susie Gavlik – Latin America
Susie is from Pittsburgh, PA, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies. But it was South America that really captured her heart after her first trip to the Galapagos Islands in 2000. That trip – its remoteness, wildness and wildlife – changed her perspective on travel. With 14 years in the travel industry, she has explored most corners of the South American continent, often with her son in tow. Susie’s sense of adventure and passion for travel led her to Big Five.