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Tuesday 25 May 2010

Tour Guide tips to avoid client cancellations

How early do you travel clients book your guiding service? Some people book last-minute trips and may require a tour guide while they are already in town. Some travelers prefer good planning and may book their trip a year in advance.

Sightseeing tour cancellations usually do not apply to last-minute booking because the tours happen right away. However, cancellations do happen more with tours booked long before the actual tour date. Before we talk about ways to avoid client cancellation, we need to know the reason why travelers want to cancel the tour.

There are unavoidable reasons like natural disasters, political issues, etc. The volcanic ash in Europe caused thousands of flights to cancel or delay. Demonstrations in Bangkok have turned violents and thus travelers change their destination due to safety concerns. Cruise lines change route and skip the port in their original plans is another reason out of the traveler’s control. There is little a tour guide can do with such cancellations.

Another possibility is personal reasons - family members pass away, work changes, physically unfit for the trip … The clients may have to cancel or delay the whole trip. With these situations, you may offer your tour guide service in their next visit. Be attentive to their personal reasons and leave the tour options open. Travelers will appreciate your understanding and may still pass on the word about your service even though they haven’t met you as planned.

What OurExplorer do not wish to see and what a tour guide really should avoid is a client cancellation because of low professionalism. E.g. change the price from original communication. There are high and low seasons in many destinations but once a price quote is agreed, it is very poor performing of a tour guide to ask for more money. Even worse is short notice before the tour date. Slow reply to the client queries after they made the booking. Clients will feel less confident with you if their questions are not addressed properly and quickly.

There are occasions that a tour guide is unable to guide as scheduled (not because you got another more profitable booking). In such cases, you should communicate with your clients and explain the reasons clearly. Meanwhile, find a dependable tour guide for your client as a substitute, so that their sightseeing tours will not be affected.

It takes efforts to build up client trust and confirm a client booking. Do you have problems with tour cancellations? What do you do to reduce the number of cancellation? Share your problems and we can discuss.

Thursday 13 May 2010

Tips for Visiting 2010 Expo Shanghai

Shanghai finally welcomes the opening of Expo 2010 after eight years of preparation. As the biggest Expo site ever in the event’s history, it is not easy to cover everything in one day. However, you can do it in an efficient way to avoid crowds and maximize your visit. Here are some tips for visitors to Shanghai and Expo 2010 for a great experience.

There are 8 direct entrances at the Expo site, another 4 ferry entry locations, and 1 metro line entrance. It is recommended to avoid entrances in the Pudong side. Most country/city pavilions are in Pudong area, as well as the Expo Axis (main entrance), more visitors tend to enter there. It takes longer to pass the security check entering the actual site. Moreover, the machines to reserve popular pavilions e.g. China pavilion will be running short. Entering from Puxi entrances (Gate 1, 2, 3) can be a better choice to avoid crowds and start the Expo visit in a fresh way.

Besides public transportation like metro, Expo bus, ferry, the Expo taxis in light yellow-green colour are easy to identify. They are much newer and also bigger in space. Note that common taxis can't access to the Expo area.

The Expo site is opening till 24:00 every day, so a late start may help to avoid crowds. If you enter around 11 – 12 am, there will still be 10+ hours to visit various pavilions. Moreover, you can enjoy the night view of various pavilions and the stunning one-arch Lupu Bridge.

After you arrived at the Expo site, there will be the security check. Have a read of what can bring and what are forbidden, and you can get through the security check quicker. E.g. water is not allowed to bring into the Expo site.

Once you entered the Expo site, it is recommended to get an Expo site map first. You can get a better idea of the layout and plan your itinerary of the day. Where to get the map? In the information centre near entrances. Make a reservation of the pavilions if required. Many popular pavilions require reservation, e.g. the China Pavilion, the Theme Pavilions… Appointments can be made with the booking machines near entrances. This is to better control the visitor flow in the site and avoid extreme long queuing.

Last but not least, check out performances of your visiting day. There are in average a hundred performances every day. You can enjoy various entertainments presented by different countries and regions. It can be good stops between pavilion visits. You can also see some sightseeing tours.

Done with the Expo visit? There is yet another bigger stage - the city Shanghai! You can extend your exciting Expo travel with city visit and sightseeing tours customized by your local Shanghai tour guides.

Montenegro tour guide in the travel media

OurExplorer are delighted to bring to your attention that Montenegro tour guide - Vesna Alavanja has been written about in the media by a travel journalist.
Read here - the article about this excellent Montenegro tour guide

Have you had an article written about your tour guide services that you wish to share with OurExplorer?