Now that you’ve read part one, here’s the second part!
6. Share tips with the driver.
Tours — especially those in far-off places such as Tagaytay, Bataan, Banaue and Sagada — would never be possible without the help of your drivers. The success of this type of tour depends a lot on the driver. He has the responsibility of taking you and your group to your destination safely.
This means that you must make sure that your driver is well provided. Check with the client if they have taken care of the toll, meals, accommodation, etc. Never let the man holding the wheel go hungry. You don’t want potential road rage, do you?
Another tip is that you share tips (if there are) because the driver is just as important as the guide. It’s also a gesture of goodwill or good karma because chances are, you will work with him again. It’s a small industry. You are partners and you should be the sharing type of guy.
Establish good rapport with your guests and your driver, and your life will be easier.
7. Read, read, READ.
You’ve read The History of the Filipino People by Teodoro Agoncillo for the nth time. You know who killed Magellan (Actually, there’s no record of who actually killed him). You have memorized the first lines of the Mi Ultimo Adios by heart. You know what you need to know so what’s left to learn?
It’s a pitfall to think that you already know enough. The thing is, it’s never enough because new information becomes available — so quickly in the age of the Internet! — to challenge what was considered as established fact.
You must read about current events, the economy, the plight of Filipino workers, the foreign exchange rate, the basics of foreign ownership and the bright prospects about the country. Read the good and the bad stuff. Keep yourself informed or suffer the consequences.
You have to know these things. You might need them to keep the conversation going especially in long trips. If you don’t know, go back to item No. 4.
8. You are only good as your last assignment.
This is what I learned from one of my mentors. She said it best (well, her actual words were, “You are not as good as you think you are. You’re not as bad either.”) and I believe it up to this day.
After every tour, I’m only as good as my last performance. The whole point behind this reminder is that we must not stop improving. It’s also to keep your feet on the ground.
9. As a tour guide, you only have your name to stand on in the industry. Take care of it.
As a tourist guide, I am given that privilege to be a teacher, a caretaker, an ambassador, an entertainer, a gofer, an interpreter, an adviser and, hopefully, a trusted friend. I put my name on it proudly. It is an honorable and rewarding profession.
After each assignment, I eagerly look forward to the next one. Visitors come and go and it seems like the first and last person they will fully interact with is the tour guide. Sounds great, right?
I am paid well so it is expected that I do my job well. I am not perfect and I still have a long way to go. I could only learn from my mistakes. I have my name and track record to stand on and, hopefully, people see the value of my work.
10. Love your craft. The minute that you feel like it’s not worth it, then you should stop.