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Thursday 28 May 2009

Tour Guides - Focus on the needs of your clients

Have you as a tour guide ever thought over what your clients want when enquiring about your guiding service? They want a unique and fantastic travel experience. They want a local expert to make things easy. They want a tailor-made tour specifically for themselves and their travel mates. They want their money spent with best value... Yes, all true. Although every individual is different with their travel needs, there are some patterns shared by certain groups of people. By better understanding your client, you as a tour guide will provide service of higher quality. So let’s have a look at some clients who are interested in a private tour guide.

1. Business travelers. This group of clients are usually time poor. They visit a place for business, conferences, exhibitions and events etc. During their limited free time (usually half a day or one day), they would like to know the best of the city. As they are time poor do not present everything. Pick up the top things that meet their personal interests. Besides, business travelers are often interested in the area they are working on. A designer may be glad to see creative things, while an engineer can get excited about machines and buildings. Pay attention to their interest and broaden your knowledge in daily work. A great tour guide is more than a scenery narrator.

2. Cruise passengers. They tend to prefer a leisure way of exploring. While on the sea they enjoy their vacation. Once on shore, have want to experience some excursions and adventure. One character they share with business travelers is limited time on-shore. So pick up something unique and wow, not everything. And remember cruise passengers are on a vacation so they may want to be relaxed.

3. Senior travelers. After years of working, now they are retired. Their children have grown up and have their own families. So senior travelers have more free time to enjoy. They are usually not short of time for their tour. Design a tour with good combination of sightseeing and relaxation. Senior travelers also enjoy talking with people. Share their life experiences. A good guide shall listen to them and make good accompany during their tour.

There are many other client segmentations, e.g. luxury travelers, family travelers, independent traveler, religious traveler, adventurous travelers, student group, etc. Are you an expert at guiding certain group of travelers?

Share with us please, OurExplorer would love to hear.

Monday 18 May 2009

Best Tour Guide Blogs in the world - Top 5

From over 115 enteries around the globe - a panel of judges from OurExplorer have selected what they believe are the best blogs owned and update by Tour Guides.

Congratulations! Thanks for sharing your local wisdom with travelers around the world.

Blog Israel Tours
By Tour Guide Jerusalem city – Shmuel Browns

No. 2
Blog Forever Barcelona
By Tour Guide Barcelona – Marta Laurent Veciana

No. 3
Blog - China Tours
By Tour Guide Chongqing – Legend Kung

No. 4
Blog – Israel Photos
By Tour Guide Jerusalem area – Gershon Ferency

No. 5
Blog Insights of a Chameleon
By Tour Guide Dublin – Robert McElroy

The team at OurExplorer admire the dedication of each and every tour guide who maintains a blog with the goal of helping visitors gain insight into a new city before arrival. Well done.

Thursday 14 May 2009

How Tour Guides can spot unwelcomed guests

Last week, we mentioned that there are often tour guides in special-themed venues. These tour guides are specialized in their specific guiding area. Such tour guides may include museum guides, historical residence guide, and theme-park guide etc. The difference is that they only guide in a certain place for limited time. Some places provide a venue tour guide for free (included in the entrance fee). Some are pay-to-hire services.

If you are a venue guide that some client pays extra to listen to you, and there are hang-on tourists with your group, what would you do? First things first, bear in mind that your clients are your priority and should not be made to feel awkward. It is usually understandable with some people hang-on. Face and talk to your clients. Attend to their questions. When your clients have your full attention, they won’t mind with some more followers.

However, if there are too many hang-ons, or some people affect your group in a negative way, you should point out that this is a private group to them. You may talk with those people separately at a convenient time. Inform them how they can find and pay for a venue guide like you. Be polite, and do not shout to them in front of others. Even though they are not your direct client, they are visitors of your tourist venue.

Friday 8 May 2009

Tour Guiding in special themed scenic venues

Sometimes in the tour itinerary, there are locations with specific themes i.e. toys of various decades, movie production theme park, ancient rock painting exhibition, earthquake museum. These places have unique characteristics or styles. When a tour guide is showing around such scenic spots, it is recommended to fit into the scene.

For example, in a movie production theme park, visitors may see scene reproduction, super star signatures, movie-making tools etc. It is more of an entertaining place, rather than for education. Introduce the fun spots, point out the different from what’s seen in the movie. Encourage clients to try interactive devices as this will get their energy levels up.

However, if it’s an earthquake museum, or other memorial places of harsh history, the guiding attitude shall be totally different. You are not expected to give jokes in such atmosphere. Stick to the facts, and share the sorrow and hope for a better future.

In some special-themed spots, they provide their own tour guides. These guides are often more familiar with the place and exhibits. You may invite the spot guides to guide for the place, to make an even better experience for your clients. But as a professional guide, you still need to have certain knowledge of the place. Get prepared for the various questions from your client. The more they get answered, the better experience they will have.

Have you a favourite themed location in your city you can share with OurExplorer ?