Search This Blog

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Build up your own client base

When you work as a private tour guide for travelers, you have the opportunity to know more about your clients. In many cases, a happy client and the tour guide can turn out friends after a trip. Therefore, build up a client base is important for guides to continue the friendship.

Why is it important to have a client base? You can not keep everything about your clients in mind. Popular tour guides especially need written records as they may meet different travelers on daily basis. You do not want the mess, trying to find out one client contact through thousands of mails. Records of client preference will help to grow your future business.

How can you build up your own base? It can be as easy as a collect of emails. You may save them by date or by country origin. A better way will be setting up a spreadsheet to centralize information. So you can easily sort out client info from various fields. If you have a mature business and want to have a more efficient client base, you can check out customer service software. There are many choices on the market. You just need to compare and pick up the one that fits your needs.

What to record in your client base? Basic contacts including name and email are critical for you to keep in touch. Personal backgrounds of your travel clients are useful to design a customized tour for their return trip. Some travelers do pay a return trip to the destination they like. If the tour guide has noted their preference, e.g. culture, adventure, foods, entertainments…, your client will acknowledge your personal service and become a loyal customer. Places visited during the sightseeing tour. It is similar with each tour, but not exactly the same. On one hand, you can avoid repetition of route for a return client. On the other, noting down the route helps the guide to remember tour details with different clients. It is also helpful to track client’s country of origin or source of the client booking. Country of origin helps to settle a targeted market, while the guide can decide promotional channels with data on booking sources.

Have you already had an existing database of clients? What other fields do you think are important for a better service? We would like to hear from you.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Client segmentation - Family Travelers with Kids

Have you ever guided family travelers with kids? The kids deserve special attention as they have different interest from adults.

If the family is traveling with infant, tour guides shall pay attention to physical matters. Find easy paths for baby carriage. During the trip, take more breaks if the family needs to take care of the baby. On the vehicle for transportation, make sure the baby is safely seated.

For kids who can take the trip as adults, a tour guide needs to mind his/her interest. Some children enjoy culture and history, but many will get bored after a while. Try to make the sightseeing tour more interesting with a mixture of facts and anecdotes. Explain things easier for the kids to understand. If there are special toys or games local children play, why not play with the kids?

Remind the kids of what they can do and what not. For example, in the museums, are they allowed to touch exhibits? In most cases, no. Boys can be naughty and make noises some times. Extra attention may be required if visiting religious places like temples or churches.

Consider the child price when designing a sightseeing tour. Many scenic spots offer discounts or free entry for kids. Similarly, if meals are calculated in the package, kids may enjoy a separate price.

Do you have any particular tips dealing with kids? Share with more tour guides around the world.

Friday 10 September 2010

Tour Guide Survey with Patrick Lovell in Tokyo

1. What is the best thing you like about being a tour guide?

There are many aspects of guiding that appeal to me, not least of which is the ability to travel. I very much enjoy introducing Japan - the focus of my life since my high school days - and opening up the history and culture of the country to visitors. It is a constant pleasure to be a part of visitor’s discovery of Japan and help them get the most out of their travels and go home with a deeper appreciation of the people and their fascinating culture. I also enjoy creating great memories for visitors. It is a pleasure working with people from every corner of the world.

2. What is your most memorable moment in guiding so far?

Watching visitors on tour responding to new places that they are seeing for the first time.

3. What is most challenging for you in this career? Have you coped with it?

I always aim to please my client visitors and to accommodate their every wish. By treating each and every person as the unique individuals that they are, I have been able to meet most requests. I also want to be able to help them with any topic in any period of history for any area, so it is a great challenge to keep up with my studies.

4. What is your favourite place/thing that you want to show your travel clients?

I enjoy showing visitors places, and introducing historical facts that are important to understanding the history, culture, and Japanese people but are perhaps overlooked by many seasoned travellers and passed over by other tour companies.

As Lawrence Durrell says: “Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.”

5. What if you were not a tour guide? What do you imagine yourself to be?

I imagine that I would be very unhappy!

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Client segmentation for OurExplorer tour guide – senior travelers

We have mentioned senior travelers when talking about cruise passenger. Many senior travelers prefer a relaxed sightseeing tour. For a tour guide, you’d better not rush or push during the tour.

What other areas need tour guides pay attention to when showing senior travelers around?

Be prepared with the variety of topics. As senior travelers gain more life experience, they may be interested in many aspects of local life. How to cook local foods, how people live, how long do people work normally …

Listen to senior travelers and discuss the aspects they are mostly interested. Senior travelers would love to share their own experiences and knowledge. So listen to them. This is also the fun part being a tour guide. You meet various people, hear their stories and learn from their life wisdom. If you find any particular topic they are interested in, why not expand the discussion along the way? You will ensure senior travelers a great personal sightseeing tour.

Pay attention to your client’s physical strength. While senior travelers can be very active and energetic, as a tour guide, you shall pay attention to their physical strength. Consider more small breaks during the sightseeing tour. Mind if they have problems with stairs or climbing, and if elevators suit better. If your clients have mentioned illness or inaccessible activities in advance, do put it into consideration when designing the tour itinerary.

Pre-booking issues. More and more senior travelers now plan their tours online. They are getting used to online bookings. However, you shall not presume every one is internet savvy, senior and young. If your service requires pre-booking online, provide clear instructions on how to complete the booking. It also benefits a tour guide to reduce client cancellation because of technique issue.

Do you have any experiences or tips to share on guiding senior travelers?

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Client segmentation for tour guides – cruise passengers

What are cruise passengers looking for when they choose shore excursions? A comfortable but compact sightseeing tour schedule.

Cruise ships usually stop half a day to 1 day in each port. In some ports it will be 2 days. But in general the time on land is short and limited. So many cruise passengers expect to see as much as possible when choosing their shore excursions. A compact tour itinerary including must-sees is expected.

On the other hand, comfort is important. Cruise passengers are categorized as high-end travelers. They prefer comfortable experiences as like on the cruise ship. Budget is less of concern. When tour guides put together a sightseeing tour for cruise passengers, pay attention to the transportation methods, dining places, etc.

Many senior travelers choose to travel by cruise. This travel style ensures a relaxed slow-pace vacation. Thus the tour guide sightseeing tours shall be senior-friendly. If the tour is physically challenging, you may lose a big amount of potential clients.

Consider the distance from port. Some ports locate well in the city centre, where a tour guide can start guiding directly. Many others are by the sea and may take long to reach the first stop. Tour guides are not supposed to rest along the way. Use such time to introduce your city or country background, local cultures, food habits, etc. You can also take the opportunity to know a bit more about your clients and their interest. The info will help you achieving a successful tour afterwards. It is also recommended to notify interesting things spotted on the way.

Manage the time well. If a tour guide can maximize the client’s shore excursion experience, you will be rewarded and referred on by your clients. Also keep in mind the time back to the ship. Passengers cannot miss the ship. It is the same as catching a flight in the airport. So leave enough time to return to the cruise ship.

Have a look at the shore excursion packages provided by the cruise ship. See what they offer and do yours better. It is good to do competitor researches and learn from the cruise ship offer. A tour guide can thus design a sightseeing tour – more interesting and customized.

What is your tour guiding experience with cruise passengers? Welcome to share your tips.