Networking for Tour Guide Work
When applying for tour guide jobs there are various ways that you can improve your chances and land that all important job. We chatted to a renowned tour guide expert and trainer, Lynette Hinings-Marshall who offered some valuable tips for how to go about getting a tour guide or tour director job.
The Follow-Up Phone Call
Ms Hinings-Marshall stressed the importance of following up each job application with a phone call.
“You cannot simply send resumes out and leave it at that. In this industry you have to be a leader. You cannot be to passive, but obviously do not be rude either. The key is to find a balance between the two – call this persistence. You might have to call a few times to get through the right person and if they are busy, then ask, “When is a good time to call you back?” This is being persistent.
She says that you should bear in mind that tour operators are extremely busy and have stressful jobs, so you should not take rejection personally if they come across being brusque or rude.
Top Tip: Call business people between 9 am and 11 pm, or between 2pm and 4pm.
In order to get the attention of the interviewer, you need to make a good first impression and present a good image to your potential employer. The tour industry is all about connecting and talking to people, so this is something that needs to come across in your interview. Be confident, be friendly, be a leader, and be who you are.
Being a Newbie
Many companies will look at experience, but if you are new to the industry, you have to make them focus on your personal attributes instead. Do this by relating a short story about yourself to the interviewer that showcases your skills and passion for travel and demonstrates your ability to lead tours.
There are a few things to keep in mind when going for an interview for a tour guide job. Always be friendly and look for chemistry between you and the interviewer. “Don’t be afraid to ask if you are the person they are looking for. Listen to the response, they may give you pointers that will help you with the next company you approach,” advises Hinings-Marshall.
The next thing to be aware of is do not talk about salary unless the interviewer does. This normally only happens in the second stage of the interview process, but generally the entry level tour guide salary is non-negotiable.
Ms. Hinings-Marshall Highlights the Three Basic Strategies of Interviews:
- The interviewer will put the onus on you to tell them about yourself.
- Critical stage. If they are interested they will talk about their own company and what they are looking for. If you are cut short in this stage, it could be a signal that you haven’t captured their interest.
- Close. This is a sales call and you must close. It is up to you to ask for the job. The way you do this is to tell them why you would be the best choice for them. Ask “when do you anticipate making a decision?”
The hiring process, no matter what industry you are going into is a long and sometimes frustrating process. You need to be persistent and stay in touch with tour companies, keep an eye out for new tours that are being offered. You could call the company and offer your services for a new tour. Being cool, calm and collected, whilst being enthusiastic, are all qualities that tour companies are looking for.
Lynette Hinings-Marshall was one of the founders of the Professional Guides Association of America and after having worked in international tourism for more than 35 years, she has also written curricular and taught various tour leadership programs. She received the Distinguished Leadership Award for Extraordinary Services to International Business. After founding the International Guide Academy, she taught and accredited tour guides and tour directors all around the world.
Other achievements include serving on the Education 2000 Committee as part of the National Tour Foundation, the Group Tour Steering Committee for Colorado, the Advisory Board for the National Academy of Travel and Tourism. Hining-Marshall was also a board member of the International Association of Tour Managers Ltd (IATM) and wrote courses on global communications tactics in business.
Her business memberships included the National Tour Association, the Society for Travel and Tourism Educators, the Japan America Society, the Australian American Chamber of Commerce, the Denver Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, and The International Association of Tour Managers. Ms. Hinings-Marshall also owns a film production company that produces Tourism Training Videos for tour guides and tour directors.
Remember, if you want to learn more about job search strategies, visit the JobMonkey Job Hunting section.