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Thursday 28 January 2010

101 top tips for the best Sightseeing Tours

Here is an excellent collection on 101 top tips for the best sightseeing tours - courtesy of OurExplorer

How to Design a Sightseeing Tour
1. Ask the client beforehand about interest and preference to develop a customized tour.
2. Mind the cultural background of clients.
3. Check with the clients about their physical strength in walking, hiking or other adventurous tours.
4. Check with the clients about food alerts if meals are included.
5. Design a sightseeing tour according to the client’s time of stay.
6. Choose the transportation that is convenient and with local characters.
7. Take different routes from and back to the accommodation to avoid repeated info.
8. Shout your specialty when designing a sightseeing tour.
9. Show your humor and wisdom in your sightseeing tour.
10. Do not include similar sites or activities in one day.
11. Offer alternatives to allow tourists choose with personal interest.
12. Visit the distant sites first and then the nearby spots.
13. Do not include distant visit on the day of departure.
14. Balance time of walking with time on the vehicle.
15. Leave the evening free with options recommended.
16. Consider influential elements like weather and have a plan B if possible.
17. Provide clear information on tour details to avoid misunderstanding.
18. Add photos to your sightseeing tour presentation to inspire tourists.
19. Add videos to your sightseeing tour presentation to be heard.
20. Offer freebie if available.
21. Offer more options to encourage client contact.
22. Include cancellation policy if necessary.
23. Introduce something about yourself to build up personal connection.
24. Present the tour proposal neatly on one page.
25. Provide full contacts for clients to find you easily.

What to Prepare before a Sightseeing Tour

1. Exchange email and mobile with travelers or tour leaders to avoid missing each other.
2. Check weather forecast 3 days before the tour to prepare for the unsatisfactory weather.
3. Get familiar with the tour itinerary and schedules.
4. Be prepared with knowledge on things-to-see.
5. Familiar with transportation between different stops.
6. Check arrival info of flight/train/bus/cruise on the day in case of delay or advance.
7. Confirm with the hotel for client reservation to avoid waiting in a wrong hotel lobby.
8. Do not forget materials of the tour like itinerary, microphone, tickets and pick-up signs, etc.
9. Be punctual at meeting time and place.
10. Locate the vehicle and communicate with the driver about the day tour.
11. Take note of the vehicle’s colour, number, and parking spots to get on smoothly at each stop.
12. Test the microphone before talking, either it is on the coach or your personal appliance.
13. Check if everyone is on board before leaving for the next destination.
14. Count heads one more time from back to front with big tourist groups
15. Have a quick look at overhead luggage to ensure no fall-over.
16. Remind the tourists of safety belts or other facilities on the vehicle.
17. Notice tourists not to walk when the coach is moving.
18. Make a note in advance if smoking, eating or drinking is not allowed on the vehicle.
19. Notice the facilities in each stop like toilets, entrances/exits, souvenir shops, taxi stands, etc.
20. Choose restaurants with good sanitary condition.
21. Dress professionally and properly for the sightseeing tour.

What to Take Notice on the Sightseeing Tour

1. Take the guide’s seat to talk to the whole group easily on a vehicle.
2. Give safety instructions to tourists when necessary.
3. Remind travelers of their belongings whenever getting off the vehicle.
4. Notify tourists of no-photography, no-smoking, no-feeding or other inappropriate behaviors.
5. Inform clear meeting time and location before free activities.
6. Do not guide in more than two languages.
7. Do not talk to the driver with the microphone on.
8. Do not talk when there is gum, candy or other things in your mouth.
9. Talk slowly and clearly when giving commentary.
10. Make sure tourists sit at the back can hear your words.
11. Face your tourist group while talking.
12. Guide in the front and lead the way - best tour guide method.
13. Adjust your pace to be ok with the slowest person in the group.
14. Stop or slow down at corners to avoid missing people.
15. Choose a place capacious of holding all your clients.
16. Do not talking to the whole group while walking.
17. Avoid talking in the sun, wind, rain or other uncomfortable environment.
18. Keep some distance from other tourist groups to avoid disturbance.
19. Start your introduction after your clients all gathered in front of you.
20. Adjust tones to fit into sites with special themes.
21. Point out good stops for photo-taking.
22. Manage the time to avoid over-stay or rush-around.
23. Recommend dishes with local characters.
24. Check food quality and quantity at meals.
25. Introduce unique local dishes and explain how to eat.
26. Spread your attention evenly to avoid any neglecting any client.
27. Deliver when clients ask for extra service and you agree.
28. Inform clients of itinerary changes and explain why.
29. Upgrade in service if possible.
30. Smile is never too much.

What to discuss during the Sightseeing Tour
1. Deliver a welcome speech with consideration of the pick-up location and time.
2. Do not overload with information.
3. Listen to the clients during the tour to find out their interest.
4. Separate general introduction throughout days with multi-day tours.
5. Stick to the same topic on themed excursions.
6. Give commentary according to the tour length.
7. Know the length of driving and prepare topics accordingly.
8. Commentary on scenes or people along the way.
9. Cooperate with national guide, local guide, or tour leader on what to say to avoid repeated commentary.
10. Comment when all clients can see what you are talking about.
11. Point out clearly what you are talking about avoiding ambiguous words like “here” “there”.
12. Introduce facts, and anecdotes.
13. Include latest news, developments and changes when available.
14. Use descriptive languages when introducing a something.
15. Talk informatively and humorously, but not act like a comedian or scholar.
16. Explain technical terms or jargon.
17. Welcome questions from travelers and answer properly.
18. Compare with things or spots familiar to clients for easy understanding.
19. Add stories/interpretation associated with the non-ideal weather to cheer up client moods.
20. Contribute to the local community or organization when appropriate.

How to Conclude the Sightseeing Tour

1. Reflect on what has been covered during the sightseeing tours.
2. Publicly thank the diver for his good job.
3. Publicly thank fellow colleagues cooperated in the sightseeing tour.
4. Thanks to the clients for their cooperation and support throughout the tour.
5. An email follow up with thank and feedback request to the clients.

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Tour Guide Replacements - Notify and Explain to your client.

There are some cases when a tour guide may not be able to guide the client as scheduled by a booking made of them directly. Your clients will understand about these changes if they are notified in advance. Let us first have a look into some negative client feedback OurExplorer have experienced in this topic.

“Guide A was not our tour guide. Guide B was. B was a very good guide, and covered all the locations we expected. I presume A had a very good reason for the switch to B, but it still leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.”

“The first 'surprise' was that we'd thought we'd booked a personal tour guide, so were expecting Guide C, with whom I'd had a lot of emails to confirm details etc. At no point did he indicate we may get someone else (Guide D) from his company. Guide D did make it clear he knew the arrangements but we had expected C to arrive, so even that felt uncomfortable at first.”

So what shall a tour guide do to avoid such complaints from your client?

Notify client in advance to avoid the “surprise”.

It takes only a short note to say “I am personally not available on the tour day, but will arrange my fellow tour guide, who is also a professional and qualified tour guide. Here is the contact for your new tour guide…”

Quick response is critical.

Here is another client who felt uncomfortable at first but later decided to go on with the same guide’s offer. “Thank you for your quick response. I just received another email from the guide, and he has found us a replacement guide.”

Clear explanation from the new tour guide upon meeting client is reassuring.

If you communicated with your clients all the time about their sightseeing tour details, ask the guide who is your replacement to explain again upon meeting. This is reassuring to the clients that they did meet the right person. Also, there will be no confusion about the itinerary or tour arrangements.

Exchange mobile numbers with your clients

A tour guide can notify the clients easily with short messages. Especially if you are meeting cruise passengers who usually start the journey long before your meet, mobile communication is helpful.