In this post, you will find out everything you want to know about how to manage travelers at the meeting point before starting the tour 🙂

Free Walking Tour guide from GuruWalk with travelers at the meeting point.

The importance of making a good first impression with travelers

The experience truly begins when travelers make their first contact with you. That’s when their expectations meet reality. Travelers are looking forward to your guruwalk and it’s important to keep it this way. That’s why we are giving you the following tips:

  • Create trust and make them feel more confident. It’s important for travelers to trust you and feel close to you in a city they don’t know. It’s part of the job description. This is the best way to connect with them authentically, and because of this, they will reward you with better tips.
    • Think of the travelers as your friends. Don’t be too formal, forget about titles such as ‘sir’ or ‘Ma’am’. 
    • Take off your sunglasses. Your eyes definitely convey a lot of trust when you talk to someone.
    • Don’t turn your head while talking to them: your entire attention must be directed to them.
    • Don’t be on your mobile phone all the time. It creates distance.
  • Surprise travelers. In addition to creating camaraderie, if you manage to surprise travelers, they will think: “Wow, this guide is better than I thought.” It can be as simple as saying “welcome” or “thank you” in their language for example. Or say something nice about their country, and if you have traveled to their city, travelers will very likely enjoy hearing about it. These are small details that make a big difference.
  • Have a good attitude. You are more than a guide, treat them with the same attention as if they were your friends. Crack a smile, speak calmly and clearly, but also with enthusiasm …
  • Be professional. Although you should treat travelers as friends, don’t forget to be professional and respectful. When they arrive at the meeting point, introduce yourself, welcome them, ask if they have any questions, tell them when the tour will start, …

What to do with travelers who are already there?

Free Walking Tour guide from GuruWalk talking to travelers at the meeting point.

The first travelers can arrive 15 minutes before the tour begins, while the last ones can show up late. How should you manage travelers during this time, when the tour has not started yet?

  • Give some recommendations to travelers. That way they aren’t just waiting with nothing to do. It’s important that, wherever they go, it’s close to the meeting point and that it can be seen in a few minutes, so as not to miss the beginning of the tour.
Make it clear that they have to come back a few minutes before the starting time, and that if they are late, you will not wait for them.
  • Visit something. Ex: the entrance of the town hall, a church, …
  • Go to the bathroom. If you don’t take a bathroom break during your tour, we recommend you to say where the nearest free bathroom is and invite travelers to go before the tour.
  • Buy water / coffee or something to eat to go. Perhaps travelers have not eaten before your tour. If they come hungry, they will not have a good time and it will result in fewer tips. Therefore, we advise you to tell them where to buy something to eat or drink.
  • Keeping the travelers’ energy levels up. Participating in a 2-3-hours tour can be very tiring. If the weather is very hot, recommend a spot where travelers can wait in the shade, sitting or with air conditioning. If it’s too cold outside, invite them to wait in a heated place. That way they won’t waste their energy waiting.
  • Make conversation with travelers. This is what we told you in the first part of this post: make questions to travelers and the waiting time will not seem too long:
    • What do you think of my city? When did you arrive? How long do you stay here? Where do you travel next? What have you done so far? What do you want to do after the tour? etc.
Free Walking Tour guide from GuruWalk talking to a traveler at the meeting point.

People love to talk about themselves and be the center of the conversation, keep it in mind.

In addition, you can get valuable information about what interests them (and thus better focus your tour) and about the organization of your tour (was it easy to get to the meeting point? etc.).

  • Pay more attention to the solo traveler. When people travel as a group or as a couple, they have someone to talk to and feel safe while they wait for the tour to begin. It’s not the case for someone who is traveling alone. That’s why, you have to pay more attention to this traveler, as chances are higher he/she is going to be bored, resulting in a bad experience.

What to do with travelers who have not yet arrived?

Free Walking Tour guide from GuruWalk at the meeting point.
  • Stay visible and accessible. Although the first travelers are there, it must be easy for other travelers to identify you as the guru and be able to speak with you easily. Although you are in conversation with travelers, you should be able to attend those who arrive quickly and efficiently.

The most practical way is to prepare a template (so you don’t have to spend time writing each message again) and send it by WhatsApp (not by email, as travelers don’t always check email on a trip) saying the following:

  • That you are waiting for them (this way they realize the urgency of the situation);
  • That you hope they didn’t have a problem (this way you show empathy and it increases the probability that they answer you);
  • That the tour will start in a few minutes and that you will not be able to answer their calls. Therefore, we advise you to send your live location (and so you can be found at any time of the tour).

Watch out! Remember that you shouldn’t be on your mobile phone all the time in order to be available and accessible to the other travelers who arrive on time.

What’s next?

So, now you know how to manage travelers at the meeting point! If you still have questions, take a look at this post explaining how to choose the best meeting point and get the most out of it 🙂

And what about you? How do you manage your travelers at the meeting point?