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Wednesday 23 September 2009

Tour Guide Survey with Rudy in Mexico

Tour Guide Rudy Fregoso - Acapulco Sightseeing Tours

1. What is the best thing you like being a tour guide?
I think there is nothing better than being able to show your own country to foreigner and getting them acquainted of what it really take place in the nation, helping them, guiding them, making them realizing about the reality of my home!

2. What is your most memorable moment in guiding so far?
I still remember the face of a Latin American lady who when being a little child used to see Mexican movies and started dreaming coming to Acapulco, Mexico. I rembember the impression, the impact that the bay of Acapulco caused to the woman, her face is something that made thinking willing to pay "mucho dinero", making me think my KINGDOM for a camera at that time.

3. What is most challenging for you in this career? Have you coped with it?
Everyday is a fun challenge but to me is a pleasure!

4. What is your favorite place/thing that you want to show your travel clients?
I always like better what people, my customers like the most, and the positive feedback I get from my tourist make like even better that given place....!

5. What if you were not a tour guide? What do you imagine yourself to be?
I think of myself as a chemically pure Tour Guide, And IF I WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A TOUR GUIDE.... I WOULD IMAGINE MYSELF WILLING TO BE ONE.


Monday 21 September 2009

Getting your sightseeing tours to be client perfect

When it comes to private sightseeing tours, the tour guide can be challenged to provide an interesting initial program. How can you design great sightseeing tours program that is desirable to your specific clients everytime?

Ask and listen

You may have guided the classic/common sightseeing tours in your city hundreds of times but remember, every person has their own travel needs. Especially with clients who require a private sightseeing tour. So take the effort to confirm: Is it your first time to the city? Do you have any special interests e.g. art, history, nature, local market? Are you ok with long-hour walking or alert to any foods ……

Q. Do listen to your clients’ needs, otherwise you won’t be successful with the sightseeing tours proposal.

Design the sightseeing tours program

Now that you know your clients interests and requirements, you can start to design a tailor-made program. Here are some tips when putting together the “things to do”. Try to put all information on one page. It is like resume, simple and clear is the best. Make a short note besides the scenic spot name e.g. (Shanghai, China) Yuyuan Garden, traditional Chinese garden established 400 years ago. A tour guide is familiar with all sites. Yet your client may not.

Do not put very similar sites or activities in the same day tour unless your client required so E.g. visiting the history museum in the morning and art museum in the afternoon may be too much museum activity in the same day. Balance walking with driving time. Long hour walking will fatigue travelers as well as the tour guide. Too much time on transportation will make people boring. Do the distant sites first and nearby sites later. It is not clever to visit far away sites while your clients are catching a flight/train on the same day - stress in not fun for any person.

Leave the evening free. You may suggest activities, but do not make a program detailed into 24 hours. Leave some free time for the travelers to enjoy themselves. Tour guides also need a break and prepare for the next day - refreshed and full of energy.

Alternatives and Cancellation

Offer alternatives. People like to have choices. E.g. select their preferred local performance among several options. Tour guides also need to consider activities limited by weather or other conditions. E.g. the outdoor activity not fit for raining days. Notify your clients of cancellation rules if any. It is better to inform in advance, avoiding conflicts or displeasure.

Confirm signtseeing tours in advance

When you are responsible for a sightseeing tour with everything included, do confirm all the details in advance. Confirm with travel clients the program details in full. Book the car and driver earlier when required. Check with restaurant availability and order the table if it is a popular place.

No. 1 = Clarify the needs of clients.

No. 2 = Then build the tour towards meeting these needs.

Then you will come out with a great and workable sightseeing tours program.

Friday 4 September 2009

Client Feedback - How to ensure a superb sightseeing tour

Happy clients recommend great tour guides and sightseeing tours to friends. How can you ensure you have a happy client willing to recommend your services after the sightseeing tours are complete?


Before the sightseeing tour

As previously mentioned, the tour guide did contact me within a few hours of me sending a question and booking the tour. This seemed very professional to me.
I also mentioned that she contacted me via Instant Messaging soon after the booking. You may want to recommend this to other tour guides as it did help made build trust in her as a tour guide and the fact that she was going to turn up on the day … definitely help me feel that I was not going to get "stood up" on the day of the tour.

Another good point is that she promised to call my hotel the day before the sightseeing tours to confirm the meeting place and time, which she did.

At the start of the sightseeing tours

The tour guide was punctual, which is very important.As soon as we met, the guide was instantly very friendly.
The tour guide had the good sense to first sit with me, before we went out, to confirm what I wanted to do and we discussed a rough itinerary. Again, good another tip to suggest for tour guides, because if she did not know my expectations, then I might not be satisfied at the end.

The tour guide also confirmed that my clothing was suitable, since we were visiting temples etc. Another possible hint tip is to get guides to recommend appropriate clothing etc before the day of meeting.

The tour guide also allowed me to decide if I wanted them to pay for things along the way (and I pay at the end) or if I simply wanted to pay as we go. It was nice that they offered this option.

[Advise Summary: Be punctual. Attentive to details. Mind the cultural background of your clients.]

During the sightseeing tours

The tour guide did seem to know her city and was quite confident in showing me around. She was constantly talking and telling me information and was answering most of my questions.

In fact, I think she was so enthusiastic to tell me what she knew, that she often quickly dismissed or brushed over what I really wanted to know. Tip: tell your tour guides to "listen" to the customer as it will be the customer that that will ultimately evaluate them on the website and with their tip.

A tip might be how to handle the situation when the sightseeing tours finishes early (not getting the full value) or if the guest wants to spend more time … I guess an hourly rate could be suitable in this case.

[Advise Summary: Be knowledgeable but not overwhelming with everything. Listen to your clients and focus on their interest.]

At the end of the sightseeing tours

The next day (after the tour), the tour guide called my hotel room at approximately 8:30am to follow up and see if they could help in any other way. Some people may have found this very professional, but since I had a very big night in Bangkok the night before and arrived to the hotel late, I was a little annoyed that they rang me so early on my holiday when I was actually relaxing and sleeping in.

[Advise Summary: Follow up in the right time. Provide your full contacts to your clients, so they can find you when they need. Offer further help at end of the tour when you are with the clients. An email follow up with thank and feedback request is a good option.]