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Monday 27 April 2009

Learn as a Tour Guide not to miss your client start time

As a professional tour guide, you have communicated with your client back and forth. You have designed a perfect itinerary specially for your client. You have agreed on all the schedule and payments. Now it’s time of the tour day. Do not miss your client at the very beginning of the tour by being late for the start time. It will often annoy the client. And sometimes even affect the tour schedule. Here are some tips and reminders for you.

If your meeting place is at airport or cruise port, check with the flight/cruise arrival on the day. As a tour guide, you may have picked up clients for hundreds of times. But it’s recommended to check and make sure. Do not take it for granted. Flights may delay or cancel, or arrive early in some cases. Better not have the client wait for you, even though the flight arrives earlier. They have limited time in your city and prefer no waste. So it’s worth a quick call to confirm the arrival time. Same with cruise and other transportation meeting place.

In most cases you meet your client at their hotel lobby. So on OurExplorer, this is set as the default meeting place. How could you miss a client in a hotel lobby? Well, it may happen. Call the hotel to confirm your client’s reservation. Avoid going to a different hotel of the same brand. Clarify the meeting lobby with your client. In Shanghai, Grand Hyatt has a front desk on the 1st floor and lobby on the 54th floor. Shangri-la has two adjoining building thus two lobbies - just be careful of these potential points of confusion.

Sometimes the client would like to meet at a public place. As a tour guide, you need to make clear of the exact meeting point. It shall be with clear signs and away from the crowds. Otherwise, it’s hard for you to identify your clients, vice verse.

Thanks to the invention of mobile. If tour guides and clients have exchanged mobile numbers, it’s less possible that you miss each other. Even if you can’t dial internationally, short message may help. First impression makes a difference. So don’t be late, and start the tour without missing your clients.

Great tour gives you a great client testimonial and rating.

Friday 17 April 2009

Getting Clients to contact you - First Impressions critical

OurExplorer received some client feedback recently. I would like to share with you tour guides so that you know how a client selects his/her guide to contact and book.

Client Feedback Email

[From: Erika Rosenberg
To: Dave Cunningham
Sent: Thursday, April 16, 2009 2:22 AM
Subject: OurExplorer: What do you think of


Feedback - I love that they write about themselves so you get a real feel for who they are. One thing, you might want to mention to guides as at least for me, I chose the guides that wrote more about themselves. The guides that only wrote a sentence or two I passed over. Hopefully that helps!]

Now you know besides your photo and license (which are visual proofs), clients do value your self introduction i.e. "About Me" , "Interests" etc . This builds up their first impression of you and determines whether they email for a tour enquiry.

How to build up a good self-introduction? Here are some tips.

- Introduce your personal background (where are you from, how are you associated with your city etc.)
- Introduce your guiding experience (education received, license acquired, expertise in guiding, what your clients may expect of you, etc.)
- Introduce your city/country (a brief intro of your location, as travels may know little about it.)
- Express welcome and encourage contacting for more info.

Here is tour guide Dina in Israel with a good self introduction.

Friday 10 April 2009

Former Residence of Famous People - Tour Guide Tips

Most cities have a history related with famous people (or even infamous people). Their former residence and working place are often turned into a tourist attraction or memorial place. When tour guides are showing around a residence site, or historic house, a good knowledge of the resident’s whole life is a real plus.

Back to the guiding practice, it’s recommended to combine the objects seen with stories of its owner. Why is it displayed there? What’s the importance of it? How was it associated with the people who used to live here? Is it still in use or never seen in daily life? As we mentioned before, guiding is not lecturing. So this is not class of a historic person. It would be good to raise interests of visitors and they may explore more by themselves. Interaction with your clients is also encouraged.

Also pay attention to the environment, the connections between different rooms, the views from windows, etc. Is there garden or lake outside? Any special things about them? Notice the fire protection and safety. Some residence may be very small for group visitors.

Besides the past, introduce the current situation of historic buildings. Do they take on events of special exhibitions nowadays? Research or study on the residence or the famous people? Donations welcomed for the reservation? As a local tour guide, you may contribute to the local community while entertaining your clients.

Thursday 9 April 2009

Tour Guide Prize for Training correctly

So why do I need to spend so much time training as a tour guide I hear you all say?

Reason = You will then get client testimonials like this one for Tour Guide Mohamed in Luxor.

Client testimonial - March 2009

"We really enjoyed our day in Luxor with Mohamed. This was our first vacation out of the U.S. and we were a little nervous about leaving the tour group and going out on our own (also, a little nervous about hiring someone off the internet). Mohamed had quickly responded to all our questions by e-mail before our trip and he met us in the lobby of the cruise ship the morning of our tour and he was very helpful. We had to change plans because of flight schedules and make it one long day of site seeing instead of two days. He was very accommodating about our change in plans and we were able to see about five or six additional sites that the group didn’t see, including the Luxor Museum and the Tombs of the Nobles which were two of my favorite places. The price to hire him was about the same as the rate to go with the group (with the exception of all the extra tickets for the additional sites) so it was really a bargain! He also connected us up with a very good tour guide in Cairo.

We would highly recommend Mohamed (5 stars), he was very professional and a lot of fun. I would also recommend the benefits of a private tour guide but make sure they are certified and have the recommendations of a company like yours. We did learn the difference in a certified Egyptologist guide with reliable transportation and just a local when we were in Sakkara.

Thanks for helping us with a great experience in Egypt!

Gerald and Pat Cook"

Let OurExplorer know of any specific areas of training you require?

Friday 3 April 2009

What to talk about in Museum Tours

Galleries and museums are interesting places for some people while boring for others. The collections displayed usually take up most of the tour guide’s commentary. Besides that, there are more to cover on a museum tour.

The museum building itself. Many museums have an architecture that is specially designed for its collection. For example, Shanghai museum is in the shape of ancient Chinese bronze ware “Ding”. The architecture has also embedded the traditional Chinese “heaven and earth” concept with its round top and square base. The museum holds traditional Chinese arts and is known for its ancient bronze collection.

The history of the museum. Some sights are turned into a museum with its historic values. Like the Palace Museum in Beijing, it is known as the Forbidden City which was home to Chinese emperors in Ming and Qing dynasties. The British Museum has a history dated back to 18th century.

The fun and entertaining stories of a museum. The tour guide is encouraged to add interesting elements to a museum tour, so that people can enjoy more while learning. Famous people that visited the museum, movies shot related to the museum (Le fantôme du Louvre, Night at the Museum etc.). Yet be award not to go over the line. In the commentary, the tour guide shall still stick to facts, especially when introducing the collections.

We would love to hear from you and share

What’s your most memorable museum experience as a tour guide?