Why Should I Become a Tour Guide?
Almost everyone has a big dream to travel the world, get away from their office desks and just get out there. But the big problem is always about money. Without a stable income, it is impossible to travel around and see the world. That is why people choose to be tour guides! You are paid to share your experience and show people around. And the best thing about being a tour guide is that you can turn your passion for traveling into a profession, and make every experience unique.
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Here we will be focusing on Japanese tour guides. To become a better Japanese tour guide, here are some tips for you to follow:
1. Japanese honorifics
As a Japanese language-based tour guide, your customers will mostly be Japanese. In Japan culture, they take honorifics very seriously. So always remember to use them when greeting your customers and also in conversations.
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2. Avoid from asking personal questions
Always avoid asking your customers personal questions, for example, their marriage life, relationship status, etc.
3. Always do research on the places you will be tour guiding
Although people usually find it dull when tour guides go non-stop on about history, it is always nice to get to know some easy facts about the place they are visiting. You can pop in an interesting fact about it while chatting with customers, this will make them feel like they have learned something while having fun.
Advice from a Professional:
Being a good tour guide is all about the experience. The more tour you go on, the more you learn about how to handle different situations. Here are some tips from Masane Ozeki, a professional Japanese tour guide with many years of experience.
4. Wear bright color clothes
Bright color clothes make you stand out in a crowded place, it makes it easier for your customers to follow you are find you when apart. Bright yellow is a good choice, as the color shows enthusiasm and passion, not a lot of people wear a bright yellow, so it is a good choice when going on a tour.
5. Neat and tidy hair
If you have long hair, you can tie it up in a ponytail, or wear a hat. Showing your face nice and tidy can give your customers a good impression. It also makes you look more professional. When going to windy tourist spots, a hat can keep the wind from blowing your hair all over your face. And for people with short hair, a bright colored hat can help your customers find you in crowded areas. While tour guides are entitled to look after their customers, standing out in a crowd is the easiest way.
6. Always prepare spare clothes
As some tours require climbing or walking under hot weather, it is a good gesture to always have clean clothes after. You can also bring wet wipes to slightly clean yourself and the sweat off. If you have another tour to go on next, it is polite to appear in clean clothes and without the nasty smell of sweat. If you have some light perfume, it will also help. Always look fresh and inviting when meeting your customers, do not look tired and make them feel like you have been on several tours on the same day.
7. Put yourself in other’s shoes
If you know your customers before the tour, be sure to do some reverse thinking while planning on how the tour will go. Is it a group of families or students, are they bringing an infant with them, are they able to climb stairs, etc. This will help you plan the routes you take and avoid wasting time looking around. For example, if your customers have a trolly or elders, it would be kind to go on routes with elevators or fewer stairs.
See Also: How to Get Higher Tips as a Tour Guide
Apart from the above tips, it is also your responsibility to upgrade yourself now and then. Taking Japanese classes, watching Japanese news, and getting hold of what is trending in both Japan and the country you are in. This will help you to have more conversations with your customers and help them experience a better tour.