In the session, Mitch provided expert advice on the new skills every tour director should know during and after COVID-19. Navigating a new norm to safely deliver an outstanding trip experience takes a bit of reinvention and creativity, both personally and on the tour.
There was also Q&A time where our audience sent in questions for Mitch to answer.
Background on the companies:
WeTravel is a booking and payment solutions provider for SME travel businesses, tour operators, group trip organizers, and travel planners.
Trip School offers intensive training experiences both online and in-person, for new and experienced tour directors, guides, and tour companies.
For a summarized one-pager document of the webinar, click here.
You can watch the webinar recording on YouTube here:
Main Discussion Points
On the agenda we had talking points on:
- Guests in the new normal – the rules of travel have changed and you’re going to need to meet them with greater empathy and compassion.
- Improving your storytelling – wearing masks and aspects of the tour that can’t be done anymore means getting inventive in how you engage with guests.
- Technology solutions for going contactless – technology can greatly improve the tour experience but you need to think ahead about what you’re going to use.
- Finding new ways to WOW – people traveling now are looking for an escape and you have to find new ways to help them do that.
COVID-19 Impact On Tour Directors Leading Group Tours
As we know, travel is going to look different during and after COVID-19. Social distancing and impeccable hygiene standards are top of everyone’s minds at the moment, and tour directors will have to acknowledge this on their trips.
Leading group tours can still be run safely, but travelers will now have a different experience than what it was before. It’s going to require adjusted mindsets, different skills, as well as the use of technology. It’s up to tour directors to adapt and find ways to continue wowing clients while running trips smoothly and effectively.
1. Meet your guests with more compassion and empathy than usual
· Tour guides or directors are even more important than before – you’re going to be the face of ensuring safety and delivering an amazing experience under new circumstances.
· Acknowledge your guest’s feelings – everyone’s dealing with new reactions and emotions at this time.
· Set discussion rules in advance – no talking politics, this is a chance for an escape
· Don’t assume you’re with likeminded people – everyone has different perspectives, and enjoying an amazing experience together requires respect for the group.
· Project positivity about the experience ahead – focus on the trip, not the virus
2. Improve storytelling, share enthusiasm for never seen before experiences
· Find ways to improve your storytelling – talking and engaging while wearing a mask is challenging, acknowledge it to the group.
· Get individual feedback often – check in with each person to see if they can hear you, or get feedback on how they are feeling.
· Be animated – use your arms, lift your eyebrows, exaggerate your gestures, and speak loudly and clearly through the mask.
· Don’t bring up what the tour lacks – there may be things you can’t do anymore, it’s an opportunity to find new and exciting material to engage your clients.
3. Be a strong leader and guide your guests’ emotions
4. Technology Is A Solution
· Technology helps you lead an amazing tour and go contactless – however, you do need to plan ahead and anticipate the tools you need
· Use video or iPad on the bus to replace handouts – it’s simple for you to control and saves paper
· Contactless messaging and forms – to collect tour feedback, take requests, etc.
· Google maps – share online links for the itinerary rather than printing maps
· Ensure you can be heard – Uniti, Vox, or Amplifiers
5. Exceed Guest Expectations
· WOW your guests – they’re looking for safety but also an unforgettable new experience
· Find ways to personalize the experience – hand write welcome and thank you notes, seating cards, personal check-ins
· Give them lasting memories – create unique experiences and tell amazing stories that invoke emotion
· Use technology to enhance the experience – it helps you connect with guests and lead the tour safely
See below for the Slideshare presentation.
List of Reopening Guidelines thetripschool.com/reopening
Storytelling tips + What Makes a Great Tour Director thetripschool.com/blog