Tour Planning Made Easy
Download a PDF copy of this here.
Your Diablo Region Leadership and Tour Chairs are resources to assist you in planning a successful PCA-approved tour. But remember, they don’t plan & manage the tour – members (i.e. you) do (it’s not as scary as it sounds)! Here are some guidelines and planning suggestions.
Start with a tour idea
What is a tour?
- A tour is a club-sanctioned driving social event with safety in mind, that includes a predetermined departure and destination with clear tested route instructions, tour leader(s), lead and sweep cars.
- REMEMBER: Planning a successful Club-sponsored tour takes time. Be prepared to discover that you may have an idea today and be ready by next week, however, that is unrealistic.
What is NOT a tour?
- A tour is NOT a high-speed driving event on public roads. (If you are interested in such activities, the Region sponsors High-Performance Driver’s Education on closed track courses such as Thunder Hill and Laguna Seca.)
Pick a Duration
- Single (full or half) day or quick run
- Multiple day
- Weekend (Overnight?)
- Friends only?
- Call your mates, gas up, get out and drive! HOWEVER, such drives are NOT PCA sanctioned you CANNOT post/call out/highlight such an event on ANY PCA-AFFILIATED social media as being PCA or Diablo branded. STOP READING HERE and go have fun!
- Diablo Region members (i.e. PCA or Diablo sanctioned)
- You will need to do some planning and request PCA insurance.
- All tours (unless specified) is open to other region members. The target membership is Diablo and preference should be made for Diablo Region members
- NOTE: All Diablo Region tours are restricted to Porsche cars with or without PCA membership
- Non-PCA members or Non-Porsche owners are welcome in the passenger seat(s).
- Minors are welcome unless otherwise noted by the tour host (NOTE: Certain rules and restrictions apply)
Basic Tour Planning (What to include and things to consider)
Start and End Point
- All tours must have a starting point and an end point or destination.
- Where do you want to meet up?
- Where do you want to go?
- What route do you want to take?
- Is there anything you want to do along the way?
- What do you want to do at the destination?
- EXAMPLE: I want to start at Heather Farms in Walnut Creek at 10:00AM and end up at Año Nuevo State Park on the San Mateo Coast, where the group will have a picnic lunch and optional hike to view the elephant seals. We’ll drive over to the West Bay via Hwy 84, through Woodside to the Coast, and down Hwy 1 to Año Nuevo with a rest stop in Woodside.
- NOTE: Many destinations have been repeated over the years and that’s perfectly fine! There are endless routes to get to a destination.
Explore and survey a route
- Before you propose anything, reconnoiter/survey your event by physically getting out and driving your intended route (versus using Google Maps Street View). Note any new/ongoing construction or road closures.
- If it is an overnight tour requiring lodging, visit (maybe even stay overnight?) the facility to check things out. You don’t want a nasty surprise when your tour arrives to find things aren’t as claimed.
Mandatory Rest Stops
- Bathroom breaks are highly suggested every 1 to 2 hours.
- If there is an area/place with restrooms along your route that you think people would enjoy, make it a pit stop! And spend more than a quick 10-15 minute bio break.
Tour size - Cars
- How many cars do you want to have on the tour?
- The number of cars generally depends on restrictions at a destination. For example, A restaurant or winery may only be able to accommodate 15 or 20 cars in their parking lot (in addition to or including their “regular” customers).
- Something else to keep in mind: More than 12 (twelve) cars will be a challenge to manage in Bay Area traffic.
- As tour leader, you can break up participants into multiple “run groups” to help keep the group together.
- EXAMPLE: If you have a total of 20 (twenty) cars, you can break it up into 2 (two) groups of 10 (ten), with their own designated lead and sweeper (last) car. Another alternative is to have a “Relay” car in position #5 who “relays” information between the lead and the sweep.
- NOTE: “Cars” = Porsche branded cars and SUVs.
Tour size - people
- Similar to the total number of cars, it’s likely the destination will restrict the number of participants.
- EXAMPLE: Our New Member Picnic at St. Mary’s is limited to 300 (three hundred) people due to the Moraga Fire Marshal’s orders.
- EXAMPLE: Several years ago, Diablo held a “Crab Run” to Half Moon Bay. The chosen restaurant could only accommodate 45 (forty-five) people per seating for the crab lunch, so the Tour Leaders set up two run groups, departing from the start point one hour apart. By the time the second group arrived at the restaurant, the first group was finishing up and the restaurant was preparing for the second seating.
- Don’t be disappointed if only one to five cars sign up or it will be less than ten people. Once everyone finds out how much fun you had, you can do it again!
Payment / Money / Eventbrite
- The preferred tour “model” is where participants “pay-as-you-go.”
- EXAMPLE: For short tours, the tour leader/organizer will make a lunch reservation and participants pay individually for their lunches (i.e. separate checks).
- EXAMPLE: For overnight tours, the tour organizer will negotiate group pricing and create a hold deadline for a block of rooms. Participants make their own reservations directly with the hotel/facility.
- You – as tour leader/organizer – DO NOT HAVE TO PAY for the group or collect monies. That’s why we use Eventbrite:
- Eventbrite allows for easy signup, collecting and managing funds
- Eventbrite gives you control of pre-planning activities
- Reports and event signup status will be provided to you
- Easy refunds (Provided there was no up-front financial commitment)
- If pre-payment is REQUIRED, the Diablo Tour Chair or a Board member will work with you to determine if a tour is financially viable and to ensure that Diablo’s financial liability is limited.
- NOTE: We currently have an Excel spreadsheet that you need to fill out with Tour details and costs. The Board MUST approve the spreadsheet prior to opening an event to members.
- WARNING: Restaurants often see dollar signs when you try to reserve a large number of tables/room or request a special menu
- DON’T FORGET to include tax (roughly 8.25% -10.50%) AND tip (usually 15% - 20%) in estimating tour costs
- If your tour requires overnight hotel/lodging:
- You – as tour leader/organizer – need to work out the lodging details such as: Group pricing, reserving room blocks & room guarantees, and parking availability
- ALL Diablo PCA sanctioned tours require PCA Event Insurance.
- The insurance is provided by PCA’s National organization at no cost to the Tour Leader/Organizer and covers PCA, the Region & Board members, the event organizers and each participant while on the tour.
- The insurance rider may take up to 4 (four) weeks to obtain, so plan accordingly.
- Once the Board approves your tour (including budget, starting and destination points), the insurance can be requested.
Things to keep in mind
Time of Year
Take into consideration potential conflicts or factors such as: The time of the year or seasons, Public Holidays (Mother’s Day or The 4th of July), large public events like the Memorial Day Weekend Car Show, Drivers Education/Track days and major automotive events such as Monterey Car Week, Rennsport, or other PCA Zone 7 events (e.g. Concours, Autocross)
Keep in mind the type of event you are planning and your target market, especially for overnight tours. For example: Lodging pricing at your destination can affect attendance. A $150-200 per night stay might attract more participation than $500 per night.
Safety of all the participants should come first
Participants will be considered “responsible adults”
SUGGESTION: Save alcohol for the end of the tour, once group responsibility has ended. HOWEVER, you should watch out for your fellow PCA members within reason.
Please refer to the RPM for additional details.
Built-in Support Network
Our Club has a built-in support network of Board members, Tour Chair(s), and fellow members who can help you plan and accomplish a successful tour!
Have fun with fellow Porschephiles!
PCA Resources and Standards
PCA with the participation of various regions, Diablo included, created PCA Touring Standards for safe and fun events. Details are available in the Region Procedures Manual (RPM) available on the PCA website:
The expectation is that all tour leads/organizers will read the following documents:
Minimum PCA Tour Standards
- PCA Insurance is required
- Waiver release forms with names printed & signed per individual (NO SIGNING FOR OTHERS)
- If your name is NOT legible, then you CANNOT go on the tour.
- Manage the event and make it manageable
- Safety is paramount: Keeping to freeway speeds, assuring the driving public isn’t turned off by road hogging, assure Diablo participants are following common courtesy on the road
- Assure that you can manage up to 15 (fifteen) cars in a group
- Preferable group sizes are 10 (ten) cars
- You must have 2 (two) people in a lead car and preferably 2 (two) in the sweeping/last car
- Understand leading per group
- Understand sweeping per group
- How to handle a problem driver
- How to handle a driver causing cars behind it to get lost or fall back too far
- How to communicate with the pack, the Lead and Sweeper cars
- Mobile numbers (Provided you are in an area with cellular service)
- Handheld radios
- Hand signals
- Understanding when someone is no longer on the tour
- For people who depart, how to re-join
- Assuring all participants attend the safety briefing (NOT just the drivers)
- The goal is you arrive at the meeting point in your preferred Porsche and you went home safely in that car
Additional recommendations for Tours
- Tour idea: Where? How? When? What (if any)?
- It’s OK if you don’t have any specifics – attend our Annual Events Planning Meeting each fall to get your idea out there
- Write down details and preliminary budget ($0 if pay-as-you-go)
- Talk to the Tour Chair or a Board member about the event (maybe run it by other members in the region or even non-PCA friends)
- Drive the route that you have in mind (Twice, if possible)
- Planning stage
To clarify details & map out your route
(You can receive $50 stipend to cover some expenses while reconnoitering the route)
- Immediately prior to the tour date
To confirm road conditions
- Planning stage
- Route planning
- Select a starting location that will minimize people getting left behind
- Have another Diablo member (in their Porsche, of course) to join you in the drive planning (Optional)
- Staying off freeways is best, so as you can enjoy backroads and the day
- Make sure you have a navigator to jot down mileage, turning locations, and possible safe locations for “catching-up”
- Assure you have a bathroom break location(s) that can accommodate the number of cars (and people) in each group
- Tour end point (Required for PCA insurance request)
- Will there be other activities for people do to on their own or as part of a group?
- MOST IMPORTANT: Write up driving instructions with a map and key points along the route. Include SAFE catch-up spots in case you get separated.
- Bring your tour idea to the monthly Diablo Board of Directors meeting for feedback or if you’re ready, approval
- If costs are involved, bring the completed Excel spreadsheet
- Can’t Wait? Contact the Tour Chair & they will contact the Board for approval
- Think of a tour Splash Page or Advert for Eventbrite
- Contact the Communications Chair to include your tour in our weekly Wednesday email blast or how/when to announce at an upcoming event (weekly breakfast, Porsche & Pastries, monthly dinner)
- As soon as a tour is approved by the Board (but no more than 2 weeks prior to the tour), request PCA insurance from the Safety Chair or work with the Tour Chair
Tour PIT FALLS
- Minimal enthusiasm from Diablo membership – Don’t let it stop you!
On average, small tours are 5-10 cars with at least 2 people in each car and quite often there are solo drivers. We’ve had plenty of successful tours with as few as 10 (ten) people.
- If you didn’t enjoy driving your potential tour route – DON’T DO IT!
- Freeway-only drives generally do not go over well as they can be boring, but sometimes necessary depending on the destination. Try to minimize freeway time (and increase tour interest) by exiting to the backroads as soon as possible in between activities/destinations.
- Weather (Mother Nature) and humans can spoil your tour before & during the tour. So, plan accordingly and keep it fun!
- Have alternate routes prepared
- Make sure participants give you a mobile phone number or means to communicate last-minute cancellation
- Minors: Try to make all tours family friendly (have the right forms and required parental sign offs)
- SUVs: Preferably at the rear of the pack/group for visibility.
MINIMUM SAFETY BRIEFING FOR TOURS
(Tour/Group Leaders must announce to everyone in attendance)
We are conducting a safe driving tour. At a minimum, the following points shall be communicated during the safety briefing for all participants prior to tour departure:
- Introduce all tour/group leader(s) and sweeper(s) and identify their cars
- Have all tour participants signed the relevant waiver form(s)?
- Safety is paramount. Driving tours are NOT competitive or high-speed driving events. Each driver is responsible for operating their own vehicle safely, in all road conditions
- It is assumed that each participating driver has a current driver’s license and automobile liability insurance. PCA also provides liability insurance that covers PCA, the Region, the event organizers and each participant while on the tour. If you intentionally separate yourself from the group, you may not be covered by this insurance
- Obey speed limits and all other traffic laws
- The driving directions contain details about the route, rest stops and any safety concerns or areas where the tour may have to slow to maintain safety. [Review any specific areas of concern in the driving directions.]
- No passing the tour/group leader(s). They set the pace.
- Pass non-motorized traffic and pedestrians SLOWLY, giving a wide berth.
- Leave a safe distance between cars, generally at least 2-3 seconds behind the car in front, or one car length for every 10MPH/16KPH
- If you become separated from the group, inform the driving tour/group leader or sweeper and obey all posted speed limits and other traffic laws until you rejoin the group
- Drive with headlights on to increase visibility to other cars
- In an emergency, pull over, stop in a safe location, turn on emergency flashers and advise the tour/group sweeper
- The sweeper plays an important support role and shall advise the tour/group leader of any issues within the group
- Provide cell phone numbers of all tour/group leaders and sweepers to all participants
- Responsibility for maintaining PCA’s excellent history of safe and enjoyable events rests with each participant. Have fun and be safe!
Just for fun – Ask each participant where their tow-hook can be found or located