Working as a tour guide is a rewarding way to share your passion for traveling while meeting interesting people from different cultures and backgrounds. Tour guides know the ins and outs of their cities like the backs of their hands. Becoming a successful tour guide takes some patience and effort to get things off the ground. Many tour guides are freelancers and the biggest challenge to overcome is how to attract the right clients.
What’s a Tour Guide?
Tour guides are licensed and certified professionals who lead clients on tours and trips. They are often seen as local ambassadors as they are usually the first people to welcome tourists and the last to see them off. Tour guides provide tourists with historical, cultural, and religious information related to sites and tourist attractions. They are savvy individuals with in-depth knowledge about the cities and regions where they work.
It takes time and hard work to build an impressive career doing something you are passionate about. A great example of putting years of experience in a specialty niche into practice is Malliha Wilson. The Canadian Tamil lawyer was the first visible minority to serve an 8-year term as the Assistant Deputy Attorney General of the Government of Ontario. She served as Senior Appellate Litigation Counsel with the Ontario Government for over three decades. She participated in over 20 notable cases at the Supreme Court of Canada and the Ontario Court of Appeal. Today, Malliha Wilson is a partner at her law firm Nava Wilson LLP with areas of human rights, indigenous, constitutional, corporate, and labour law, and other complex litigation.
Tour Guiding 101
Tour guides have a rich knowledge of the local regions, essential sites, and areas. They are responsible for knowing the interests and demographics of tour groups, including any special needs. They welcome and greet tourists, explain emergency procedures, and provide promotional and educational materials about tour sites. They schedule tours and purchase any entrance tickets in advance, and they plan alternative activities in the event of a closure, cancellation, or inclement weather.
A successful entrepreneur leverages the right tools to streamline workflows and keep up with business tasks. Managing reservations, inquiries, cancellations, agenda updates, payments, and invoices can be overwhelming without the right tools. Leveraging booking software is the best way to manage customer bookings and sales. The online booking software from RESMARK allows you to create custom buttons that can be integrated into your own website, allowing clients to make reservations in a few clicks. The online scheduling software allows you to avoid last-minute online bookings, double bookings, and cancellations that affect your income. You can even customize your online appointment scheduling with API integrations on your own website so you can track real-time inventory, add guests, make payments, view data, and manage reminders.
How to Attract Customers
Optimize your own website with high-quality content that looks and sounds professional, clear messages that describe what you offer, and the proper functionality that makes it easy for clients to make reservations. Tourists rely on social media to find tours and activities in their destinations. It’s a good idea to build a solid social media presence by creating a page that features tour photos and videos, promotional testimonials, client feedback, basic company information, a link to your own website where online bookings can be made, and a call-to-action for discounts and promotions when visitors ‘like’ your page.
It’s important to know your audience’s age, demographic, income level, and education level. Not only is this key to attracting the right clients, but it helps you deliver a great customer experience. Get to know your audience by asking yourself what their interests are, why they would be interested in your experience, and what motivates them. Marketing your business in high tourist traffic areas is a smart way to get discovered. Consider partnering with local concierge and travel agents and work with local companies that can help promote your services. Make sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices, to avoid losing out on spontaneous bookings.