Example scenario: a youth hostel employs someone to try get guests to be social and interacting. In a common area (lounge), the person may bring together various solo guests into a group and get everyone playing board games.

The end result being a better experience for the guests. The guests then being more likely to leave a positive review.

I experienced this some years ago at a hostel in New York. The social man later said he worked for the hostel to start such social activity. Long after, I saw a volunteer advertisement for the same thing somewhere else. I'm sure in that advert they had a word for the person who starts such social activity - I just can't remember the word.

Edit: Perhaps another take on this is someone who is planted within a group of people with the goal of influencing the group toward a desired outcome.

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    I wonder why someone downvoted this … Aug 31, 2013 at 10:54
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    Yep, I noticed there are here some people with bad attitude and too large ego. Coming to the question, is that not an "entertainer" ?
    – Pam
    Aug 31, 2013 at 10:57
  • Cruise director?
    – Mitch
    Aug 31, 2013 at 11:42
  • With regards to "entertainer" - I would interpret that as someone who is openly and clearly there for that purpose. In my example scenario, the person's purpose is hidden (but not necessarily a secret). They would appear to be just another guest, but a very sociable one.
    – Dave
    Aug 31, 2013 at 11:44
  • I see you are looking for some sort of "undercover entertainer" and social relationship "facilitator" :-) I am wondering though if an entertainer is necessarily someone who has to disclose publically his role ?
    – Pam
    Aug 31, 2013 at 12:20

7 Answers 7


These people are generally employed as "Holiday Representatives", more commonly shortened to "Holiday Reps".

The ubiquitous "Club 18-30" travel company has a page detailing their recruiting requirements for such as position.

Being one of our Club 18-30 holiday reps is a job like no other! It's definitely not for the faint hearted, you'll need to have a great personality, awesome communication skills and enough stamina to keep you going from morning to night!

Typically, these types of reps will organise parties, excursions and other social activities while imparting their local knowledge upon the guests.


Activity coordinator Job description

An activity coordinator plans and organises games and other forms of recreation for organisations or groups. Activity coordinators work at places such as camps, playgrounds, recreation centres and nursing homes. The primary role of an activity coordinator is to come up with ways to keep the people involved entertained, enthusiastic, and most of all, active.

Recreation Worker Job description

Conduct recreation activities with groups in public, private, or volunteer agencies or recreation facilities. Organize and promote activities, such as arts and crafts, sports, games, music, dramatics, social recreation, camping, and hobbies, taking into account the needs and interests of individual members.


Perhaps the term social director (originally suggested by LindaBrammer)

Job Description: Conduct recreation activities with groups in public, private, or volunteer agencies or recreation facilities. Organize and promote activities, such as arts and crafts, sports, games, music, dramatics, social recreation, camping, and hobbies, taking into account the needs and interests of individual members.


Activity Facilitator would be my choice, here's an excerpt from a job description from a UK Charity that pretty much matches your description perfectly:

"To support the [management] in actively involving people that use day services in decision making and the planning of initiatives which enhance their lives. Encouraging and empowering individuals to participate fully in their communities and come together to enable their voices to be heard and recognised. "


Facilitate and participate in activities designed and responsive to the needs of the individual clients. These activities should be designed to promote physical and mental wellbeing, enhance social and communication skills, maintain or increase independence, encourage self-help and self-advocacy, maintain or increase mobility, help prevent the deterioration of mental or physical abilities and include wide social interaction and where appropriate signposting to other community resources

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    I remember a holiday as a kid had one of these strange beasts. Their job was to get us unmotivated kids doing things, without really being involved themselves.. Jun 30, 2020 at 3:39

How do you feel about integrator? It is a broad term that signifies someone who proactively integrates and can encompass various traits (extrovert, comedian, entertainer, gregariousness, etc.)

  • I don't think I would get the sense of social encouragement from integrator without a lot of explanation. Based on the cited definitions, the word is more often used in a mathematical sense. Sep 1, 2013 at 2:31
  • A click on the link provided will easily clear your doubts (noun def 1). Moreover it's not a mathematical term ('integration' and 'integrals' are) - although it has recently been applied to computing
    – user49727
    Sep 1, 2013 at 2:45
  • Are you referring to this? “1. a person or thing that integrates.” I don't see how that implies this kind of social activity at all. In social contexts, integrate has a different meaning entirely, essentially “assimilate.” It doesn't fit the context unless you use a sense of the word so broad as to be meaningless. Sep 1, 2013 at 2:55
  • but then again the link to integrate clarifies the meaning of that word as used here in senses 3,4 and 5 of the verb form with good examples.
    – user49727
    Sep 1, 2013 at 3:01
  • Are we looking at the same page? Senses 4 and 5 are about desegregation! I suspect that they don't mean what you think they mean. Sep 1, 2013 at 4:22

Icebreaker (or ice breaker)

An icebreaker is commonly considered to be a social device or method the relieve shyness and social tension at a gathering of people.

But I don't see any reason you can't use the term to refer to a person who has the role to do the same thing. That person is, by definition, using icebreaking devices to accomplish his objective.

This is backed up by the definitions in Urban Dictionary:

Icebreaker (definition #1) actually uses the term in a similar manner:

The person that shows you around when you're new to a community; called the icebreaker because they usually help avoid awkwardness by starting small-talk. Person 1: Who's that new girl? Person 2: I have no idea. All I know is that Mary is playing icebreaker for her.

and similarly for Ice Breaker (definition #3)

Someone who breaks the awkward silence. Some one who mentions something that has a lot of tension around it.

I don't think anyone would have any problem understanding what you mean if you said you had hired an icebreaker for your meeting or party (unless you live on the Beaufort Sea, maybe). They would probably be intrigued with the whole idea when they do understand.

  • I'm sure this isn't the word I saw in the advertisement but it is certainly my favourite so far. Thank you for the suggestion!
    – Dave
    Sep 2, 2013 at 2:02

A "facilitator", as it might be the task of a worker involved in supporting an improved experience of the gaming activity for the rest of the guests, could be a definition for this person.

  • This might be accepted as an answer but it needs to be supported with references to dictionaries and other academic sources.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 9, 2018 at 11:42

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