When meeting up with a traveller to be their tour guide, it is very important that you work in a professional manner and put their needs before yours. Safety is our prime priority, and it’s imperative that your clients feel that they are being well taken care of. Below is a checklist of how to get ready and become the best guide possible for your clients.
- Ensure that you have corresponded with your client and are comfortable with each other and what the expectations are.
- Arrange a meet-up place that will be easy for both of you to find. For example, this could be their accommodation, a landmark or outside of an easy to access restaurant.
- Print the booking confirmation from the website where all of the details are listed.
- Print or ensure you’ve looked at the photograph of the person you’re meeting.
- Have a plan of the activities that you are going to do.
- If you are going outside of phone reception range, be sure to have a hard copy of a map with you and know your route well. As well as multiple routes at-hand.
- Make sure that you have all the equipment and supplies that you need. Create diagrams, photos, etc. in the traveller’s native language.
- Fully charge your phone.
- Provide a list to the traveller about what they should bring on the tour (the type of shoes, clothing, money, umbrella etc.)
- Do your homework.
- Do research on the places you are visiting so you know the background history and details. Even if you know the general history, it’s always a great idea to refresh your memory or to learn new things.
- Check visiting hours and where possible make reservations (restaurant, museum, clubs, etc).
- Have an estimate of additional costs to provide your client (lunch, entry fees etc). Ensure that the traveller is aware of these additional costs of the tour.
When Meeting the Traveller
- Be on time: arrive at least 10 minutes prior to your arranged time. If you are going to be late, make sure you contact your client as soon as possible using our mobile app.
- If the traveller is late, stay positive! They are new to the area and it may take them longer to get to the meeting point than anticipated. Try to get in touch with them via the mobile app to ensure that they are safe and on their way.
- If the traveller does not show up, try multiple times to contact them. It can be difficult as a traveller if you do not have a sim card or not in a Wi-Fi zone to receive messages or replies.
- Make sure that your clients have all of the things with them that they may need for the tour (camera, passport, wallet, cash, coat, etc). Point out the closest ATM if necessary.
- Give them a briefing of the outline of the day so they are aware of when they are expected to eat next, have a bathroom break, and when they are expected to return.
- Encourage them to use the bathroom prior to you departing on the tour or to purchase snacks if it will be more than one hour until your next break.
- Ask them their names and try to remember and use their names during the tour. Additionally, ask where they are from. It helps larger groups form bonds with people from similar areas.
During the Tour
- Be polite and friendly. You are a representation of the area that you are touring and you may be one of the only locals that your client interacts with. It is important that you leave them with a positive feel to attract further tourism business to both yourself and the area.
- Have a positive attitude. Travellers are sometimes exhausted and jet-lagged, don’t let that deter you. Smile and keep being upbeat to make their experience enjoyable.
- If the traveller does not speak the same language as you very well, make sure that you talk slowly and clearly.
- Ask frequently if they have any questions.
- If you do not know the answer to one of the questions, do not make up an answer. Say you don’t know, but will find out. During a part of the tour where you have some downtime, look up their question or ask someone to try and find out the answer for them.
- Offer to take photos of the travellers with their cameras.
- Only show the areas that you are comfortable with. Avoid situations that will put you out of your comfort zone. In the tourist/tour guide scenario, you are the expert and the traveller is depending on you to keep them safe. Err on the side of caution.
- If the traveller asks you to go somewhere or do something that was not included or specified in the booking, explain to them that they will need to book another tour at a later time for that.
If at any time the traveller is making you feel uncomfortable, it is your right to cancel the booking. They have the same right to cancel against you. If possible, it is best if the cancellation occurs before the tour starts; this is why it is important to talk with them prior to meeting to ensure that you have the same expectations and that you are comfortable with each other.
Travelers can easily tell the difference between a well prepared, experienced guide, and someone who does not care about their job. Take pride in your work as a tour guide and help your clients have an amazing experience with you by following this guide. Remember that safety is our main priority and to do that you need to be knowledgeable about your surroundings and prepared for anything; and of course, have fun!