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Wednesday 24 June 2009

What not to do when giving bus/coach sightseeing tours

Best Sightseeing Tours by Coach/Bus

When you are guiding coach sightseeing tours, there are things a tour guide should avoid to ensure your professionalism. Here are the tips.

Do not act like a pop singer or presenter. You are a tour guide it is great to be humorous and knowledgeable but bad to be over-entertaining as that is not your main function to these clients. As many people say, “Tour guide is the unofficial ambassador of a city”.

Do not have things in your mouth e.g. any gum or candy. Small things make the difference to giving the best sightseeing tours. Even though you might be close to your clients after some time together, it’s not polite nor professional to talk while chewing.

Do not talk without testing the microphone. It’s not a must, but highly recommended as noise interference will give all a headache and noone the great wisdom you are trying to share. Check if the microphone works ok. Ask if people at the back can hear you clearly. Do not talk under the amplifier for it will cause feedback.

Do not talk to the driver with the microphone on. Likely wise, whenever you are not addressing to the group, turn it off. It happens that the microphone is left on carelessly.

Any tips of DO-NOTs you want to share from your coach/bus sightseeing tours experience?

Thursday 11 June 2009

Crisis on a sightseeing tour - Ensure happy endings

One charm of traveling is that the journey is full of mystery. Unfortunately, these include small accidents too on the rare occasion. An experienced tour guide is usually quick to respond and tries to turn such accidents into a happy ending. Let’s share some stories from OurExplorer sightseeing tours over the last 3 months.

Anne was visiting Shanghai on a business tour. First time in China, so she wanted to see more during the half-day sightseeing tours. She loves taking photos but unfortunately the camera battery was broken. There is no electronic shop nearby. Luckily the tour guide had a digital camera with her and with a simple solution of changing the memory cards the sightseeing tour was able to continue as normal.

Mary booked a cooking class while visiting Bangkok, but forgot to bring the school address on the day. Instead of heading back to hotel for the piece of paper and wasting precious time, the Bangkok tour guide with her called a friend to confirm the address on internet. Thus Mary made it to the cooking class on time without missing anything.

Kevin booked a Luxor tour guide for a sightseeing tour. He has communicated with the guide before hand and planned a great two-day itinerary. However, due to the accidental delay of arrival, Kevin had only one day in Luxor. The tour guide had a quick change of plan. A longer day tour, but Kevin saw what he most wanted to in Luxor. Happy that the delay did not result in much disappointment of his visit.

These are not big issues, but as a tour guide, you can help your clients with a better memory if you deal with crisis easily on the go.

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Tips to get client to book your sightseeing tours

What is the moment you were most excited to hear from OurExplorer? For most tour guides, it’s the email in your inbox “Excellent news, you have a confirmed booking on OurExplorer”.

The client found you on the internet, was happy about your profile details + offer and decided to book your service for sightseeing tours. To reach this exciting moment, here are some tips and next steps after receiving a client booking enquiry.

Be prompt to reply. This is very important. Imagine yourself as a client who is looking for sightseeing tours. It’s great to get a reply in 24 hours, even in 48 hours at the most, but quite disappointing when there is no reply after three days. Quick reply builds up good first impression. You also have higher possibility to get a booking as the client may check with several providers/competitors. So check your email regularly if you can. Do look at spam/junk folder in case of blocked Emails. If you change to a new email address, update relevant partners you are working with.

Be honest. Be honest and sincere in your replies. This is a flat world that people can get information from various channels. Don’t presume travelers know little even though they come from the other end of the world. Moreover, it’s good to get long-term benefits with a client rating after the sightseeing tours.

To the point. Every traveler is unique. They look for different things. So when replying to the client’s query, stick to the specific queries asked by the client. Do not include all your knowledge in one email reply. You may frighten them away with too much information. Many clients prefer the right answer, rather than an all-inclusive standard reply.

Offer more than they expect. Most people like extra free things. It is like the cream on the cake. Offer your clients some free service within your ability, e.g. a free drink, a local souvenir, free entry to a popular destination, a discount to a local activity/performance etc. These are the little nice things as an extra.

Do follow up and confirm the details. If you didn’t receive any message after your first reply, then send on a kind follow-up after 2 days. See if the previous reply was well-received, if the client had any further queries, or any decision on the tour. When the client showed clear interest in your service, ask them to make a booking for the day directly on OurExplorer.

What’s next? The booking email you have been waiting for - “Excellent news, you have a confirmed booking on OurExplorer”