July 21st, 2009
by Danielle Simpson, Public Affairs Intern
It’s a lively, loud world where the Group Sales & Program Registration folks sit. That’s where you’ll find Jennifer McGregor, Group Sales manager, in the office opposite the coat racks and the streams of school children coming and going on tours.
Many a GTA student has been to the Gallery with school. But how many of us, as adults, have visited in a group? It’s a popular and economical way to visit these days. Jennifer and her team of six people arrange visits from groups of all kinds, such as book clubs, churches, craft circles, retirement homes and once, a trout fishing club.
Corporate group tours are becoming increasing popular, especially with law firms and University Hospital Network groups. The number of conference companion tours, which are specially arranged tours for convention attendees, is also growing. There were few, if any, formally arranged group tours before the transformation. Since January 2009, 315 groups of adults have visited.
“People are always amazed at what we can offer them,” says Jennifer. “For example, we have seven specially designed group tours and these can be further customized. We also have special menus, meals at FRANK or wine and cheese offerings. ”
Jennifer began as the AGO’s Group Sales manager in January 2008 and in addition to managing group sales, she oversees the Program Registration department. Educational programming at the AGO is vast: from lectures to studio classes to summer camps to customized tours.
Jennifer’s team is certainly customer oriented; I saw proof as I waited to interview Jennifer. A mother was on the phone trying to find summer camp spaces in the same session for siblings. The team pulled together to help by sharing information about a computer glitch and camp spaces that had just become available but were not on the system yet.
Jennifer is no stranger to groups, tours or travel. She grew up in the tourism industry, working for her father’s tour companies and guiding tours at the young age of 15. Later she stepped off the tour bus and into the Peace Bridge Duty Free shop where she oversaw marketing efforts. After that she sold Niagara Falls – as a travel destination – to the world.
“Galleries are a great choice for tours. You don’t have to be art-oriented to enjoy it. There is always something to intrigue people; if it’s not the art, then it will be the gift shop, every time. The way art is interpreted here is perfect every visitor.”
The art doesn’t have to stop when the tour ends. Group sales also coordinate art-making workshops. One corporate group liked the art they made so much that it now hangs in their office’s reception foyer.
To download the Tour Groups Program Brochure please visit www.ago.net/groups.