The job of a tour guide is to provide tours of an area/city/establishment in an informative, engaging way. At surface level, that’s the simplest way of putting it. But there are a lot of different types of tours in this world, and that definition doesn’t go into much depth.
We’re going to focus this piece on what we do as guides during a tips-based walking tour (or ‘free’ walking tour, as it’s more commonly called). It’s what Flamboyance Tours provides as a key service for travellers. So, let’s break it down and decipher how the guides work.
Firstly, tour guides need to arrive early to anticipate keen travellers. We appreciate early-birds, and we want to be there to greet them. Guides should be there about 15 minutes before starting time, especially when there are bookings for the day. If walk-ups arrive, a form must be filled out with their name, country, email and how they found us – something we love hearing about!
Any guide will have gone through their notes on the landmarks, reading them to make sure they remember that fact they may have forgotten the day before. They may also edit them if they’ve discovered a fact was incorrect, and insert the new information in. Guides are always making sure they can provide accurate information – keeping on top of this is important.
Tips-based walking tours are structured to provide the most comprehensive experience in the time frame allocated. Guides can remind walkers to visit a bathroom, visit an ATM or grab a coffee – provided walkers have arrived with enough time to do so. This can help avoid the need to break up the tour flow with a toilet stop later, and get walkers prepared for the elements. In Adelaide we get true Australian summers – hot ones – and it gets pretty wet in winter too.
Once the tour starts, it’s first about getting house rules out of the way so we don’t have to make reminders across the tour. Everything is outlined at the beginning for ease. This usually includes a reminder about the nature of it being a tips-based tour and what that means, keeping together as a group, and explaining that we’re all like-minded by being on a tour so it’s in everyone’s best interests to be friendly!
On our Adelaide walking tours, we always take group photos at the start. For the tips-based tour, these are posted on our Facebook page for people to access later, so a guide must remember to do that. There may have been one time yours truly forgot to take a photo, which was a no-no! And we always take a selfie, which is fun. Just in case anyone wants to remember our faces!
During the tour, guides must always be mindful of road crossings, speaking loudly and clearly so everyone is able to hear, and travelling at a pace that walkers can keep up with. You’d be surprised at the difference in walking pace between people! Also, guides make sure that there is time for photos and questions as the tour continues.
At the end, guides are there to answer what questions remain for walkers. Then, they receive tips based on what the tour was worth to the individual and leave walkers to explore Adelaide on their own. After, guides will post the photos, and send out review requests to those who have supplied their emails.
There’s a lot to think about for guides every day on tour, and that’s just when they’re on tour. There is so much more they do behind the scenes, but that’s for a number of other posts. I’ve already written about one on attending tourism events.
For any tour guides out there, is there something I’ve forgotten? And if you’re a traveller, did you realise there was all of this involved? I love to see readers’ thoughts, so please comment below!
Missed last week’s post? I wrote about why Adelaide walking tours are a must-do in winter!