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Sunday 28 November 2010

Tour Guides: Mind Road Safety

Transportation makes part of the sightseeing tours. Depending on the group size, it can be a private car, bus, or taxi. While the driver is responsible for safe driving, tour guides need to remind travelers of road safety.

Remind passengers of the seat belt. People from some countries are cautious of road safety, while others might neglect. After boarding the vehicle, a tour guide needs to inform clients where the seat belts are. Ask them to put on the belt for safety reasons, especially when there are kids on the vehicle. Take extra attention to see if the kids are safely fastened.

Mind your own security on the vehicle. If you are standing while it is driving, hold on to something in case of emergency. There is a place for the guide in front of a bus. If you are sitting, put the seat belt on. For one thing, the guide is often taking the front seat which has higher risks at accidents. On the other hand, a guide may need to turn back and talk to clients along the way.

When doing walking tours, tour guides also need to mind the traffic when crossing the street. Travelers are new to the destination, some even from foreign countries. The traffic rule and customs can be very different. As a tour guide, it is necessary to remind your clients of road safety. Watch out for the traffic when necessary.

Would you like to share your experience with us on road safety? We are listening.

Monday 22 November 2010

How to handle extra requests from clients?

When tour guides actually meet travel clients, they may be asked of extra service during the sightseeing tours. How do you handle those last-minute requirements professionally? You do not have to run desperately to meet every request from your client. If it is a reasonable and practical requirement, try providing the service for a better travel experience. If it is impossible to carry out, explain to the travelers and they would understand.

What can be asked extra on a tour guide?

Extra guiding day. The clients are so happy about your guiding service that they would like to spend more time with you. Check your availability. If you are available, why not extend your service? Discuss for the extra tour arrangements and itinerary with your clients. Thus, both of you are clear of what to do in the coming tour.

Extra places of interest. Sometimes travelers read about new places of interest outside the itinerary. They may ask to visit these extra places. As a tour guide who is more familiar with the area, you shall check possibility first. Do you have enough time to cover the extra place? It shall not affect the agreed itinerary. Do you have resources to visit the extra place? For example, if extra transportation arrangement is necessary. Is the place worth visiting? Talk with your clients to see what they expect on the new spot. You do not want to make extra efforts, only to find them disappointed.

Extra activity or entertainments. It can be an extended night tour, local performances, or a local signature meal... Again, tour guides need to weigh if the new requirements are practical. If possible to arrange, it is good to help your clients for greater fun. Communicate clearly on any extra costs. If it is unreasonable request, tour guide shall be confident to say “No”.

Any other requests did you receive from your clients? Have you handled the extra requests successfully? Welcome to share with us.

Monday 15 November 2010

Dressing Code for Tour Guides

How do you dress as a tour guide at work? It depends on what type of guiding you carry on. For example, mountain guides need different clothes from city guides. Adventure guides wear differently from museum guides. Walking guides may require more comfortable shoes than tour bus guides. Yet there are some general rules in dressing for tour guides.

Dress comfortably for your guiding work. Tour guiding is a physical work requiring a lot of walking, standing, and climbing etc. Sometimes when clients are at rest, tour guide is still busy preparing the next stop. Thus, comfortable clothes and shoes are important for a guide to complete the work.

Wear clear and neat, casual but not too loose. Guiding is a way of presentation. Clear and neat dressing provides a good first impression to your clients. As most tour guides meet clients on vacation and trips, casual dressing is recommended. It is awkward if you wear formal suits while the travelers are on T-shirts. On the other hand, because the guide is at work, it is not professional to wear too loosely like slippers.

Do not wear shinning but do stand out if necessary. If you are taking a ghost tour, or guiding for Halloween, abnormal costumes may add to the fun nature of tour. In the case of busy tourist spots, you may choose clothes with outstanding colours. It will be easier for clients to identify you during the sightseeing tours. Otherwise, casual smart dressing is recommended.

Do you have a brand or logo? Wear it on your clothes, hats, umbrella, bags… This contributes to your branding. Not only remind your clients of who you are, but also shows other people along the tour.

How do you dress when working as a tour guide? Let us know if you pay attention to any particular things.

Sunday 7 November 2010

How to present your sightseeing tour itinerary upon meeting?

Tour guides often communicate with travelers via email, telephone, fax, etc. to confirm sightseeing tour details. When you actually meet travelers on the day, it is good to present the printed itinerary. Clients will be clearer of what they are going to do with you. Some travelers might print out the sightseeing tour details already, while many more do not. A simply one-page itinerary will show your care on clients. Moreover, it can be a tool for promotion.

Why one-page? This is like a resume. Most people do not have the patience to read if it is overloaded with content. Just put the essential information, not everything. As a tour guide, you probably will talk through the information during the sightseeing tour. A neat and clear one-page itinerary is ideal.

What to include on that one-page?

The itinerary is the basic. When and where to meet, what to see, what to do… Depending on the tour nature, notes can be added on dressing or things to bring.

Add a receipt of payment details, or the tour quote agreed by you and the clients. This is to remind them of the total amount of payment. If you are guiding foreign clients who use a different currency from yours, it is helpful to include the amount in their currency. It saves the trouble of clients to convert by themselves.

Include tour guide contact details. This is to promote yourself and your guiding services. Easy for your clients to keep in touch with you or refer your service to other people. Better if you give your business card together with the itinerary. Branding is important, even though you just brand for yourself as a tour guide.

What do you include in the tour itinerary when meeting clients? Welcome to share your tips that will contribute to a successful sightseeing tour.