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Tuesday 22 December 2009

Good sightseeing tours in bad weather - Tips

Travel is interesting because one is getting out of the daily routes. There are things to expect and unpredictable things to happen. For a tour guide, however, you try to have everything in control, from itinerary to transportation, from local meals to entertainment. Yet there is one thing completely uncontrollable - the weather.

You surely know the rainy season or hot periods in your city, but you can not decide if the sightseeing tours day is raining, snowing or even a freak storm. Can a tour guide fix the weather? No, but a tour guide can be prepared in advance for bad weather to prevent bad sightseeing tours. Here are some tips for city guiding in bad weather.

Be prepared. Check the weather forecast 3 days before and sightseeing tours. It is easy with the internet, mobile, television, newspaper… whatever methods convenient for you. If it is going to be a fair day, great! If it is going to rain, prepare umbrellas or rain coats accordingly.

Adjust the itinerary to make a better experience. Increase indoor activities to minimize the affect of the poor weather. Swap places to visit if it is a multi-day sightseeing tour. Offer new options for cancelled items due to the weather conditions. Do inform your clients in advance about the changes in itinerary, they will appreciate this. They will understand as weather is out of your control but not getting notified may annoy most travelers. If you are taking public transportation in the city, try to choose the closest bus/metro/taxi stand from the venue.

You are the guide and leader of the tour, so be great by keeping your clients in a good mood. Do you have jokes about such bad weather to lighten the mood and potential tension? Are there stories of interest that happened particularly in raining days? Is the snow bringing a different beauty of the local scenery?

What weather do you least expect on your sightseeing tours? Have you successfully coped with any extreme weather in your guiding career? Please share with the tour guide community on this blog.

Monday 14 December 2009

Benefit of saying "thank you" at the end of sightseeing tours

It is nice to be nice and it costs nothing

Do not hold back your gratitude at end of the sightseeing tours. As a tour guide, you are probably a very hard working person. Surely you deserve the warmest thanks from everyone on your tour. You definitely will receive it if you have done an excellent job. Yet remember, a great successful tour can’t be completed by you alone.

If it is a private sightseeing tour just between you and your clients, thank them for their support and cooperation. For them being on time, listening to you attentively, following the rules in specific sights. Your clients also appreciate your gratitude and will think highly of you for offering it to them.

If it is a big tourist group, you need to publicly thank more people. Thank the driver for his safe driving and punctuate delivery. Thank the tour leader and organizing company, so that you have the opportunity to meet each other. Thank the national guide for his help and support during the tour. Any other parties that are relevant and deserve your appreciation? Please do.

What’s more, if you had a great time with your clients and co-workers, why not sing a farewell song to express your feeling?
A sightseeing tour closing speech with thanks can be quite sentimental.
Do you have anything special to show at end of the tour? Share with us.

Thursday 10 December 2009

Sightseeing tours from a coach

Coach tours are often route tours that a tour guide can easily get accustomed to. To be a master at guiding sightseeing tours on a coach, here are some tips for you.

Best coach and driver option available

Locate a good coach and cooperate with the driver at all times. The coach and driver are important supporters to ensure successful coach sightseeing tours. It is important to locate the best coach and driver before the sightseeing tours, booked in advance. During the tour - Take note of coach colour, number, and parking location. You don’t want to walk all around the parking lot just to find the coach stops at entrance for you, do you?

Clear communication via microphone

The microphone on the coach needs to be found and tested before you talk to the tourists. Take the guide’s seat at the front so that you can talk to the whole group easily. Ensure you have clear quality sound and no speaker feedback noise.

Planning with the driver

Communicate with the driver about itinerary, time, stops, and other things that relevant to the sightseeing tours. The driver knows the tour, but it is worthwhile confirming again in person. Exchanging mobile numbers between the driver and tour guide is also necessary.

Now let us focus on your clients. Besides tour introduction and sight commentary that a tour guide shall already be capable of, the following points will contribute to a successful coach tour.

Is everybody on the coach and safely seated? Count the heads before departure. If you are on a big coach that requires walking to the end for accurate counting, you may count once more from back to front ensuring all people are boarded. Have a quick look at overhead luggage. Make sure there is no easy-fall-off items. Remind the tourists of safety belts or other facilities. Ask them please not to walk when the coach is moving. Don’t forget to introduce the coach, its number, colour, etc.

A great comfortable tour is impossible without the support your clients. So do make a note in advance if you are on a non-smoking coach. Shall eating and drinking be avoided while on the coach? Where they can find the disposal bag or garbage bin?

Are there any tips you would like to share as an experienced tour guide on coach?