Be Organized and Well Prepared

An organized guidewon’t forget to meet someone or show up in the wrong place. Keep at least two calendars in case something happens to one of them. Preferably keep a calendar on a smart phone and another traditional paper calendar on a convenient wall where you will see it every day. When you book a time to guide a tourist mark it on both calendars and add reminders into your electronic calendar to alert you ahead of time. Include the guest’s: phone number, e-mail, home contact information and where they are staying on both calendars.

A week beforethey arrive send them a friendly reminder via e-mail reminding them about the fact that you are guiding them. It’s easy to set this up as a form letter so that every tour you do all you have to change is the name and maybe some minor particulars for your guests. If they don’t email send them a physical letter to arrive about the same time. You don’t want them to cancel their trip and forget to cancel you. The day before you are going to guide them remind them again either with e-mail, text or a phone call. You can even remind them again an hour before the tour.

Tourists are oftentired and disorganized. Just because you remember the appointment doesn’t mean they will and having to cancel or reschedule is irritating and a waste of time. Another positive about all these reminders is that they will help you to establish a rapport with your guests. By the time they arrive you and they will feel like you know each other a little and this will make showing your guests around much easier.

Try to learn aboutyour guest’s food preferences, hobbies and the things they like to do so you can suggest some local attractions ahead of time. Again, the more you know about your guests the better. Keep these notes on both calendars or in a notebook so that you can refer to them later. It is easy- especially during tourist season- to get the people’s interests confused unless you write everything down.

Also prepare yourselffor when you are showing them around. It’s best to take a small backpack with you. Keep paper guides, and/or a tablet computer in the backpack. Also pack a bottle of water for each person and for you (up to three- more than that arrange to stop somewhere to buy water). A small snack- such as energy bars or dried fruit is also helpful. In the pack also include a small medical kit, a deck of cards and if there are children coming a notebook to draw on and some pencils and/or small toys. A package of tissues, a small towel, tea bags, energy drink/rehydration packets, fold up rain sheets and a small umbrella are also good ideas. The idea behind packing your backpack is to keep it light enough not to bother you but full of essentials that your guests might need.