Lighthouse Travel Wins Best Guided Tour Silicon Valley 5/10

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How did San Jose’s Lighthouse Travel & Tours win the Silicon Valley Concierge Association’s 2004 Hospitality Award for Best Guided Tour in Silicon Valley? The answer: people, people, people. From partnerships with award-winning local tour guides to the personalized services provided for each tour group, Lighthouse brings people and ideas together to guide the way to San Jose and to bring home the 2004 award for Best Guided Tour. “This is a giant leap forward for tourism in the Silicon Valley,” said Donna West, founder and owner of Lighthouse Travel & Tours. She celebrated the award by thanking strategic partnerships with Guided Solutions tour guides and other local specialists and historians, as well as the company’s foundation of creating personalized services through research and direct contact with clients to ensure efficient, top-quality tours. A press release is attached with details on the award. Donna West is available for limited interviews. Best regards, Julia Meierding Public Relations Lighthouse Travel & Tours

– The San Jose travel and tourism industry was given a huge boost on Tues. April 27, when the Silicon Valley Concierge Association announced the 2004 winner for Best Guided Tour: Lighthouse Travel & Tours.

“This is a giant leap forward for tourism in the Silicon Valley,” said Donna West, founder and owner of Lighthouse, based in Santa Clara. “Six years ago when I asked people if they would like a tour of San Jose, they said no way. But I believed there was a market and now these visions are becoming reality.”

West celebrated the achievement by thanking several strategic partnerships made in 2003: Guided Solutions and Dulcey Branch (Best Tour Guide 2003, Silicon Valley Concierge Association); wine tasting specialists in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Carmel and Monterey; Santa Clara Valley; California gold country historians; and event planner, California Special Occasions. From these collaborations, West created a huge variety of small group tours, from South Bay wine tasting to their most popular, the San Jose to San Francisco driving and walking tour.

“My best ideas have come from listening to what people wanted,” said West. Along with these strategic partnerships she has built Lighthouse on a strong foundation of customer service.

As a result, each tour has an individual flair, depending on the tastes of the client and the personal stories provided by the local tour guide.

“We let the groups determine what they want to do, which is different from the larger tour companies,” West added.

West begins researching destinations months in advance to keep the tours up-to-date and to cater to each client’s specific needs. This year Lighthouse has expanded to include an overnight tour to the Historic Gold Country and extended night tours to Bodega Bay and Sonoma, Hearst Castle and Solvang. In 2005 Lighthouse will go international with “April in Paris”, a week-long tour escorted by a French-speaking tour guide.

With all of its success, Lighthouse remains true to its roots, emphasizing tours that reveal the rich history of San Jose to visitors who are unaware of all there is to see in the South Bay. West’s past experience working in high tech firms makes her a perfect host for clients who are in town for a conference or working at high-tech companies and want to learn more about the history of modern Silicon Valley.

“I am always in the process of planning future tours,” she said, “but I am primarily in the business of creating memories.”

The two runners-up for the award were guided tours at Intel Museum and the Computer History Museum. West includes both of these in her local tours of San Jose.


About Lighthouse Travel & Tours

Lighthouse Travel & Tours is a registered seller of travel in California that specializes in creating personalized services for San Jose and Greater San Francisco Bay Area residents and visitors. The dedicated staff works with clients from the planning stages to the event follow-up to ensure the most efficient and high quality tours.

Founder and owner of Lighthouse Travel & Tours, Donna West, has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 20 years. She is certified by the International Tour Management Institute and has degrees in Education and Travel.

Contact: Julia Meierding

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