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Monday 28 February 2011

How to be personal in customer communications?

A private tour guide may express yourself personally during the sightseeing tour. How can you be personal in pre-tour communications? You can sound personal on a phone call. But nowadays, more bookings by overseas clients are communicated via emails or websites. How would you present your personal attitude in emails?

Treat every tourist as an individual client. The sightseeing tour itinerary may be identical covering similar scenic spots. Yet a lot of factors vary, e.g. days of stay, arrival or departure location, number of people in the group, demographic background of the visitors, public transportation vs. private vehicle...And personal interest matters for sure. Considering these facts, your itinerary to each client will be more personalized. You can differentiate yourself from a standard offer in travel packages.

Talk in the language of your client. It is more than using the language they speak. Quote in the currency they are familiar with or with both the local currency and the currency your clients use. Use less local name/description in the itinerary, so that it is easier for clients to understand the visits during the sightseeing tour.

Address to the specific queries. Make sure that all enquiries from your client are properly answered. If certain requirements need extra time to arrange or involves third-party suppliers, tour guides shall inform when a reply can be expected.

Offer something more if noticing the interest of your clients. It can be special scenic spots, e.g. art gallery to tourists with an art-focus. Restaurants with nice local cuisines are also good recommendation to people who would like to try local foods. Suggest fun places for families with kids.

Encourage feedback or further queries. Always ask your clients to give comments freely. A tour guide can be more prepared when clear about client’s preference. Therefore, the sightseeing tour would be conducted with great success.

Do you have any tips on a personal communication with clients before the actual sightseeing tour? Share with us!

Monday 21 February 2011

International Tourist Guide Day - February 21st

Today is the International Tourist Guide Day! You can send in pictures and a short description of what you did to mark this occasion. OurExplorer would love to publicize them and show the world what wonderful things tourist guides are doing!

South Africa Tourism Authority is offering an event under the theme “Culture as a unifying guide”. “Media is invited to experience Pretoria as a tourist destination under the guidance of a deaf tourist guide on 21 February 2011”. View Event Details

Zagreb Tourist Guide Association offers “free city tours in Croatian on Saturday 19 February. Tours start at 11 am and 12 in front of the Tourist Information Center”. View Tour Details

The Advisory Committee of the Tourist Guides in KSA have organized various activities including “training courses, workshops, information on tourism, and free tourism trips to a number of tourism and historical sites”. View More Info

What is International Tourist Guide Day?
According to World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations ( – “February 21st. an initiative of WFTGA, the International Tourist Guide Day is held on 21st February each year. In 1990, Mrs. Titina Loizides, president of the WFTGA was involved when it was held for the first time, 15 countries participated. Since then, tourist guides in an ever growing number of countries have been giving help to their local communities, conducting tours for disabled persons, disadvantaged persons, for children, industry partners, officials and the general public. Events are also held for local tourist guides including presentations and retraining courses. It is a public relations event par excellence, drawing the attention of local authorities, fellow citizens and the media to the quality and value of the work of professional tourist guides. Each member country contributes to the success of the day in its own way; coach companies have contributed complimentary coaches, attractions and museums have opened their doors without charge. Each year, awareness grows and there is an increasing contribution by both regional and national governments to the International Tourist Guide Day. The Day is coordinated by the World Federation.”

Friday 18 February 2011

The Power of Tourist Feedback

We all understand the power of feedback. It is especially important in hospitality industry. With the quick-development of online communities and review systems, tour guides are easier to collect or share tourist feedback.

For a long-term career development, receiving feedback is better than no feedback. Negative feedback, or complaints in another word, can help a tour guide find areas of improvement. Do not be afraid of complaints. Even the top guides can not guarantee 100% satisfaction. It matters how you handle the case. Be quick to reply and address the issue. Most clients would understand from an honest and sincere explanation.

Positive feedback is great. It becomes a strong sales tool for tour guides to convert prospects into clients. Why not share it on your own website, web page, blog or social network?

How do you gather client feedback then? Do not just wait for the feedback. Everyone is busy, and you can not take it for granted that your clients could offer a feedback after the tour. You may ask for a review/feedback at the end of the tour. Or kindly remind your clients for a review/feedback in email. However, do not bother your clients if you haven’t heard back after two reminders. Otherwise it is more considered as a spam.

If you build up client feedback on third-party platform, like ourexplorer tour guide profile page, offer a simply way for your client to reflect. For example, an email reply address or a link of review page.

How do you deal with tourist feedback, positive and negative? Welcome to share.

Saturday 12 February 2011

WFTGA president awarded the OBE for services to the tourism industry


Mrs Rosalind Newlands WFTGA President and a pioneer for professional Tourist Guide Training, proudly collected her OBE from a snowy Buckingham Palace. She was awarded the OBE for services to the tourism industry. A Scottish Tourist Guide (aka Blue Badge Guide) since 1983, Ros, as she is known to over 100,000 professionally trained Tourist Guides worldwide, is an active Scottish Tourist Guide and President of the World Federation of Tourist Guides Associations, representing over 65 countries. In addition to her tourist guide activities and her global role, Ros is also Course Director for the 2-year Scottish Tourist Guide Training Course at the University of Edinburgh.

Ros says “Qualified tourist guides are ambassadors for their countries and are often the only people that visitors really talk to and engage with. A Guide can make or break a destination. In the current global economic climate, it is even more important that those who travel receive the best quality products and services. Some unqualified guides work mostly through commissions and tips and do not offer a professional service to visitors.

Members of the World Federation of Tourist Guides Associations (WFTGA) are all professional qualified tourist guides who adhere to a Code of Practice and Quality Charter. It is a great honour for professional Scottish Tourist Guide training to be recognised in this way.”