It takes a certain caliber of person to be a tour guide, and those who know how to deliver an authentic experience to travelers are in demand. Once you have found a guide who connects with your clients on every trip and brings in the great reviews, you want to ensure that they stay motivated and help your travel business to grow.
Now, motivation comes in ways other than just financial reward. Often it is the intangibles that provide the best job satisfaction. Feeling appreciated, valued, and a part of the team can be some of the biggest motivators for the people who work for you.
Why Is It Important To Motivate Your Guide
A great tour guide is one of your biggest assets. They know your tour like the back of their hand, connect with people, and are one of the main reasons why travelers keep signing up.
Yes, you do need to offer an easy booking and payment process in the first place to secure the business. Ultimately though, it is the tour guide who makes or breaks the experience for the travelers.
They don’t always have an easy time of it either. On a daily basis, they have to handle different personalities, deal with the weather, smooth things over when something doesn’t go according to plan on the tour, and ensure that everyone has a great time.
That is why showing some appreciation to let them know their great work doesn’t go unnoticed is important. Here are some tips on how to keep your amazing tour guide feeling motivated and appreciated.
Tips To Keep Your Tour Guide Motivated
Give Them A Say
Your tour guide is the person on the ground leading your clients, therefore, they know exactly what clients love the most on the trip. Ask if they have any ideas of how to improve the program above and beyond what you have trained them to do so that clients can enjoy it even more.
The purpose of doing this is not only to improve your program but also so that the guide can exercise some autonomy. Autonomy is giving ownership over one’s work. It is independence, and feeling independent in work gives someone greater fulfillment.
On the other hand, not listening to their ideas or opinions can take away their sense of purpose.
Offer Unique Benefits
Aside from paying out a competitive paycheck, some of the companies with the highest employee satisfaction rates offer extra benefits as motivators. And while getting a free lunch on the job is a great perk to have, add in the odd thing that your guide can do in their own time as well.
Ideas could include things like a dinner voucher for two to a local restaurant, a free activity with one of your travel partners, or even a massage voucher so that your guide can unwind on their day off the job.
Providing perks which give the person the chance to have fun or relax outside of work, lets them know that you value their well-being as a whole.
Help Them Progress Professionally
Helping your tour guide to hone and master their skills will be beneficial for both of you. Learning new information is very rewarding from a psychological perspective, and gives a person intrinsic motivation to excel.
Sit down for a discussion with your guide to see what their goals are and where they would like to develop professionally. Once you have an idea of this, book them onto a course or seminar that will help them to achieve this, or offer an education subsidy.
It could be a history course to learn something new about the city or to shadow another tour guide on a tour they don’t lead themselves. This will help you to expand your business, as you could add another tour to your offering.
Perhaps they want to improve on their public speaking skills. This will be beneficial to your business too, as their added skillset will carry into the work they do with your clients on the tours.
Overall you will gain a more intrinsically motivated guide who feels a sense of accomplishment and inspires your tour clients.
Motivate With Wellness
Your tour guide spends a lot of time on their feet or being active. Leading clients on your tour means they are on the go, day in and day out. To do this, they need to be fit and healthy. It can be in your better interests then, to provide them with the means to achieve this.
Part of their payment package could include a monthly gym membership, or even a certain number of fitness or wellness related classes such as yoga, within a period. This way, you can help them take care of their physical health so that they have the energy to continue wowing your clients.
Invite Them To Return Next Season
Perhaps your tours operate seasonally and not year-round. If that is the case, your guide may only work for you certain months of the year.
When it comes to the end of the season, ask them to return for the next one. Let them know that you value them and want them to continue working for you. It is simple to do, will get them thinking ahead to the next season, and provide motivation to lead your groups again.
Motivation is better cultivated when it is done intrinsically. Yes, everyone needs financial backing to survive, but money doesn’t always equate to happiness. Connecting with people, having a sense of purpose, experiencing autonomy in the workplace, feeling healthy – these are things that provide the best sort of satisfaction.
If you can create a work environment that meets these needs, your tour guide is sure to stay motivated and performing for your travel business.