On the Best of England tour this Fall, I talked to both the guide and the bus driver about the new Southern England tour. They are both so excited about this! Altho guides have not been assigned yet for that tour they were guessing the most experienced guide would lead the first group. The guides and bus drivers are doing a run thru of the tour this Feb or March according to the bus driver. He said they will take a couple of vans with everyone and run thru the whole itinerary in about 3 days. Among other things, they will assess parking, approaches to specific sights. hotels and restaurants.
I thought them assessing how to approach sights was interesting. This conversation came up after we had gone to Wells Cathedral one afternoon. The bus driver dropped us off at one of the entry ways to the Close area and the guide talked to us there before we approached the cathedral. Then he said something like, Prepare to be amazed. We walked thru the entrance and wow, they had worked it out so we entered the area at a terrific spot so the whole cathedral spread in front of you. The entrance that most people seem to use comes in from the side and you don't get the WOW view. So, I mentioned to both the bus driver and guide when we were sitting together at a meal that I thought entering the area from that aspect had so much visual impact. The driver just grinned and said it did and they particularly plan to do it that way for the impact. Then he said, that's one of the things we will be looking at on the dry run.
So, while the Southern England tour will be a bit different from Switzerland, I am sure the Rick Steves process will be similar in scoping out how to manage the tour.