‘Area Orientation Tours’ are accompanied, customised visits that offer a detailed overview of life in a new destination. They are a valuable tool and have multiple applications within relocation programmes. For example, they can help to sell a new location to a prospective candidate, identify key considerations at an early stage to reduce the overall cost of a relocation, familiarise an assignee with a potential location prior to moving, or, be used as part of a group move induction. Whatever the intention for them, they serve a crucial role in helping the employee (and their family) to get an accurate feel for what it might be like to live and work in a particular location.
So what usually happens on an area orientation tour?
On the day of the tour, the client and their family are usually picked up by car from their accommodation and driven around the chosen areas by their Area/Search Consultant – a professional guide with locally specific expertise. The Consultant adapts each tour to suit the interests of the relocating employee and any accompanying family members.
Across the course of the day, the Consultant talks the family through various aspects of living in the area, tailored to their unique requirements. This generally includes a UK overview, including a brief insight into the British culture and way of life, the weather, holidays and traditions, driving regulations and so on. They will also talk more specifically about the area itself, providing information on topics such as the availability of local housing, healthcare services, schools, shopping facilities, local authority services, public transport, parks, places of worship, sites of historic interest, leisure facilities, distances from airports / major cities, and the suchlike.
An information pack is also usually given to the relocating employee, which provides more detailed information on the subjects covered. This might include a guide book about living in the UK, local area maps, the Highway Code, a local newspaper, tourist guides and an area handbook.
A sampling of property viewings in key target areas and external viewings of appropriate schools can also be included within the area tour day. These are useful in helping the relocating family to visualise what their actual budget will get them within the area.
Area Orientation Tours are all about providing an accurate and unbiased view of an area, so are excellent for managing expectations. The expert advice provided can be invaluable in helping relocating employees with their decision making processes. As such, they come highly recommended, particularly for families entering the UK for the first time from overseas.
This blog post was brought to you by Marie Darlow on behalf of The Relocation Consultancy Limited (TRC).