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Tuesday 25 August 2009

Tour Guide Survey - Martina Gregorcova, Prague Sightseeing Tours

1. What is the best thing you like being a tour guide? – I like to be tour guide because I meet people from all over the world, I am freelance and my work is my hobby!
2. What is your most memorable moment in guiding so far? – The most amazing experience is – I took around a family from LA in my Trabant Car, 3 weeks after they returned from Prague back to USA, they sent me a little car toy – which looks exactly like mine – Trabant Junior! – I have it in my car till today and I show it to everyone.
3. What is most challenging for you in this career? Have you coped with it? – my dream is to be private guide for Beyonce Giselle Knowles – because I am her really big fan, she performed in Prague April 2009, went for short sightseeing but without tour guide, I would like to be her private guide if she comes back to Prague.
4. What is your favorite place/thing that you want to show your travel clients? – Hidden parts of Prague Castle
5. What if you were not a Prague tour guide? What do you imagine yourself to be? – I studied in Art & Music school in Slovakia, I would be definitely doing something with design or singing and dancing.

Friday 21 August 2009

Knowledge Preparation for City Sightseeing Tours

City sightseeing tours are different from safari travel or mountain trips. On one hand, it has less physical requirements on travelers but on the other, it demands a tour guide of a deeper knowledge level about the city and sights.

So what shall a tour guide prepare before offering city sightseeing tours? Place names and local terminologies are the basics. You are familiar with the local name of a place, but be aware that your clients may call it differently based on their knowledge. For instance, the famous steel bridge in Shanghai with over 100 years history was known as “Wai Bai Du Qiao” among citizens. However, it was originally named as “Garden Bridge” by the British. Do some research in advance, and try to avoid a misunderstanding for such cases. For basic background information like the name, location, establishment date, history, etc. - a tour guide needs to stick to facts and be as accurate as possible.

But the travelers are not coming for a lesson, are they? Therefore, a great tour guide tells interesting stories and anecdotes during the sightseeing tours. These stories may be true or partly true. They help to arouse interest of travelers and make the place fondly remembered.

City sightseeing tours can not be complete without noticing people and the life in and around the city. At the sightseeing spot, or during transportation in the city, tour guides can introduce how people live and work here. Local traditions and customs are often welcomed. It is best to combine such introduction with what you see along the way. Offer some fair and mutual opinions by yourself, as you are a local fully engaged in the daily life.

There is other general knowledge a tour guide should prepare, either for city tours or other sightseeing tours. For instance, toilets in each stop, taxi stands or public transportation you need to take, entrances/exits of scenic spots…

Good tour guides welcome all questions from travelers. The more knowledge you have, the better travelers will experience your city tours. But don’t worry. Rome was not built in one day. With proactive study and practical experiences, you will be a great city tour guide.

Have you any top tips to share with OurExplorer please?

Friday 14 August 2009

The perfect greeting to start sightseeing tours

Your method of greeting your clients is very important for a tour guide. The client gets a direct first impression of you and perhaps even of your city, from this initial greeting. It is not as simply as a basic introduction. A tour guide should consider timing, boby language and the surroundings in which to present a customized greeting to your travel clients.

Pick Up Location

First, consider the pick-up location. When you meet your clients at the airport, it is usually a long-drive to the city centre. In that case, a tour guide shall prepare enough content to introduce themselves. Besides the basic facts of the city, you may talk some more about local culture, customs, upcoming events etc. Choose some fun topics, so that the travelers do not get bored after the flight. When you meet at the railway station, bus station, or cruise port, the driving routes are different from each other. It is best that a tour guide combines their prepared greeting with the sights along the way.

Another common meeting point is the hotel lobby where your clients are staying. This can be very broad and you may not know every hotel in the city. Do some homework before meeting the client. Know the distance from their hotel to the first sight, and the route you are going to cover.

Time of the Day
Timing is also a consideration of your greeting speech length. When a tour guide picks up clients at day time to start some sightseeing tours, you are often expected to talk more. Your clients are excited to hear about this new place. If you meet travelers at night time, you talk less and give your clients time to rest. Save the best for the following morning when they are refreshed. If even later, it’s a mid-night arrival- perhaps ask them are they tired, if yes, will you keep silent completely? No, it is recommended to give a brief greeting. With just one or two sentences, your clients will appreciate your greeting in a strange place.

So how do you start your greeting speech, with a big smile and welcome or something extraordinary and eye-catching. Let us know some of your techniques?

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Tour Guide Industry trends & Events Update

Here are a selection of tour guide and sightseeing tours trends

First Tour Guide in Xitang (China)
Xitang, the thousand-year old town located in eastern China's Zhejiang Province had just started to develop tourism in that year.
"People asked who that girl was and why she was always shouting with a loudspeaker, followed by a group of strangers," she said, recalling the first year of her career life as a tour guide when reporters from CRI interviewed her on Monday.
The reaction was understandable since before 1997 only peddlers who collected used bottles and old newspaper used loudspeaker to attract new business. Tour Guide details

Get paid to travel (Malaysia)
How many of us dream of having a fun job where we get to travel to interesting places, make new international friends and get a healthy sum of money for doing so?
"But overall, it's a fun, rewarding and an eye-opening job, so I'd give it a try if I were you!"

Australia's most eccentric tour guides (Australia)
Sometimes on a tour, it's not about the where or the what, but the who. A good, entertaining tour guide can make all the difference, and some of them become legends in their own right.

Responsible Tourism Day (Worldwide)
WTM World Responsible Tourism Day, the only global day of action of its kind, is being supported by the UNWTO and leading industry associations. The day is vital – for business, for profitability and for our planet. It means taking care of a world that we seek to promote, preserving our heritage and cultures and taking into account the views and needs of local communities.

How Search Is Key To Booking Travel Plans
The majority of personal travelers still plan to travel just as much or more throughout 2009, compared with 2008. Booking behavior has changed, however. Travelers will shop around more and wait for the best deal before they book.