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Monday 27 December 2010

2010: Top Rated Tour Guides on OurExplorer

At the end of year 2010, we would like to share with travelers our top booked and rated tour guides. They have provided excellent services to travelers from around the world.

Shanghai Tour Guide - Jean Liu
Reviewed by Michael Hirai - "Our trip to Shanghai was wonderful thanks to Jean. We were impressed with her professionalism and her knowledge of Shanghai's history. We booked her for a full day to go to Zhujiajiao (a water town) followed by a tour of Shanghai. We asked her to show us Old Shanghai the next day and fortunately, she was available to do so. We also really enjoyed our time with her. She is a lovely young lady and both my husband and I would highly recommend her."

Bangkok Tour Guide - Irene K.
Reviewed by
Marco Ramos - "Thank you so much for the excellent tour ever! It was such a beautiful honeymoon for us. Bangkok Highlights and Floating Market programs are absolutely fabulous. Will contact you again when we come back to Thailand."

Athens Tour Guide - Diana Stefanou-Huttinga
Reviewed by
Robert Costello - "Our family of four (including two teenagers) toured the Acropolis and Athens with Diana in late August, and couldn't have been more pleased. Diana is outgoing, funny, and has great knowledge of the city and historical sites. She customized the day to accommodate our wishes, and found a great, non-tourist restaurant for lunch. A perfect seven hour excursion for our day in port!"

Kota Kinabalu Tour Guide - Grace Leong
Reviewed by
Paula Olymbios- " Grace is a national treasure. She is personable, very knowledgeable regarding the history, flaura and fauna of Sabah. She is passionate about tour guiding and this comes through during your interaction with her. She is enthusiastic energetic and devoted to the tour participants. Our teenage children voted Grace our best guide while in Sabah. An absolute pleasure."

Istanbul Tour Guide - NESRIN ULUPINAR
Reviewed by
Norman Steinberg - "It was so wonderful to have you guiding us through Istanbul. We saw far more with you than we had on our past visits. Your choice of lunch restaurants was fantastic. We would recommend you to any of our friends. Thank you for making our stay so memorable. Regards Rosslyn and Norman (Calgary Canada) PS. some of our friends will be contacting you shortly"

In the coming year 2011, OurExplorer will connect more travelers with qualified tour guides in 140+ countries. Happy Exploring!

Monday 20 December 2010

Set up your New Year targets

It is approaching a New Year 2011. This is a season for greetings as well as setting up near year targets. For development in your tour guide career, you can set up your new targets by looking back into the past days in 2010.

How busy were you and are you happy about the workload? Have you had a busy year with lots of client bookings? If yes, congratulations. If not, you need to look for more channels to develop your business. Internet is a good platform to approach clients, as most travelers seek information online nowadays.

Reflect on client feedback. Do you have happy clients or clients with complaints? It is great if you receive all positive feedback from your past clients. Your focus is then to maintain your service level. Complaints can also be helpful as they tell your weakness. You can improve accordingly in the new year.

Learn something new. Tour guiding is the work that requires continuous learning. Try to learn something new to help with your career. It can be a new language, a new skill, a new area to study, a new route in your destination of guiding …… Choose anything that interests you and can assist guiding in some way.

Do write down your targets and timeline for completion. You may refer to it from time to time, so that the targets can be achieved at end of the year.

Happy holidays and wish you a prosperous year 2011!

Sunday 12 December 2010

The 14th WFTGA Convention 2011

The 14th WFTGA Convention (World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations) will take place in Tallinn during January 29 - February 4, 2011.

According to Laura Taul, president of Tallinn Guide Association, “For the 2011 Convention we have suggested a comprehensive programme both for the participants in the Convention and for those accompanying them under the Theme Culture as a Unifying Guide. In 2011 Tallinn will be the European Capital of Culture, and naturally this became the underlying idea for our whole programme.

Our intention in drafting the programme has been to meet the expectations of members who want to learn and experience something new to enhance their professional skills, and also to provide a good experiential background to the training and discussions during the workshops organised together with the WFTGA."

The convention programme covers
Monday – Medieval Culture
Tuesday – National and Traditional Culture
Wednesday – Contemporary Culture
Thursday – Alternative Culture
Friday – The Role of the Culture Guide in Today’s Changing World

Viator ( has taken a sponsorship package at the upcoming Convention of the World Federation of Tourist Guides Associations. We will have an exhibition stand during this event and hope to meet those of you attending in person and to share more with you about our ongoing efforts to promote and support tourist guides. We'd love to hear from you at the 14th WFTGA Convention.

Monday 6 December 2010

How to arrange meals in sightseeing tours?

For many travelers, trying local foods and cruise is part of the fun during sightseeing tours. How should a tour guide choose dining places when there are several options? What to recommend and what to avoid for travelers? Safe and clean is the basic rule when tour guides pick restaurants. Below are some other tips to help arrange great dining experience.

Choose venues close to the scenic spots. Some restaurants can be great. However, if they are not along the route, it would be a bad choice. Travelers are limited with time, different from local residence.

Recommend restaurants with specialty. It can be a restaurant famous for local signature dishes. Restaurants with nice views are also a good choice. Travelers can enjoy the view as well as the foods. Try avoiding repetition during multi-day sightseeing tours. Choose different restaurants or styles unless your clients want to visit the same restaurant again. This is for travelers to try a variety of things during the short stay.

Help travelers with ordering. When visiting a restaurant of local style, a tour guide needs to explain briefly on the menu. It can be hard for tourists to choose as the foods or cooking might be unfamiliar. The guide can introduce the popular dishes, the materials used, or how the foods are cooked. Choose dishes with local flavor or uniqueness. Mind also the seasonal foods. If your clients are visiting among the season for some special dishes, why not introduce to see if they are interested? For example, October/November is the season for hairy crab dishes in Shanghai every year. Take an extra notice to the eating habits of foreign visitors. Are there any table manners that travelers need to pay attention, or can they handle the dining tools like chopsticks or fork?

Some travelers are adventurous with foods while others are very conservative. Ask about client’s preference of flavor and budget before choosing the restaurant. Give more recommendation if they are interested in local foods. If your clients prefer their home-style meals, a tour guide only needs to refer relevant restaurants.

What are your tips of meal selection in sightseeing tours? Share with us.