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Tip for R.S. Tour Guides

I have been enjoying John's post on lessons learned. So much that is being said in that post was also a lessons learned for me. I have been on 7 RS Tours and the guide on the last one did something that was so helpful in getting to know folks, I wish other guides would adopt it. On our first night after the meeting she took a group photo and next day emailed us a copy and labeled every one with their first name. It really helped me get to know folks' names. Does anyone else have tips they wish RS Guides would adopt? BTW, I think the guides are great and really add value to the tour.

Posted by
318 posts

Hi Laurie Beth (did we meet on the RS Venice, Florence & Rome tour many moons ago?),

I have had two RS guides do the photos with names. They printed it on regular paper and passed it out to all tour members. It was extremely helpful in memorizing names.

I had one RS guide who only took a roll call during the first meeting -- read your name, you raised your hand, he checked you off and that was it. Every other guide asks tour members to introduce themselves, even a simple "Hi I am Mary and I am from Boston." Without personal introductions, it was very difficult/strange/awkward trying to walk up to fellow tour members and get to know each other during the first couple of days.

Posted by
1150 posts

Hi, Mary, was it the June 2010 VFR tour? I am so surprised to hear about the guide who only checked folks off their list. One of the things I really like about RS tours is their first meeting. I appreciate their pointing out where are good spots to do laundry, having each of us introduce ourselves and talk about what to expect. It is such a good time for first timers to learn expectations and ask questions.

Posted by
176 posts

i second the tip concerning the group photo with names added. Our guide in Portugal did that and it made learning names so much easier!

Posted by
2788 posts

I have been on 18 RS tours and have never had a guide do that photo thing. That is really a great idea. So many guides have everyone say their name and a brief statement about themselves. I do not remember everyones name even thou I try to take notes as everyone speaks.

Posted by
146 posts

I also experienced what Mary described “read your name, raise your hand, check your name off the list”. I had never experienced that on a RS tour before and never experienced it on subsequent RS tours. My other experiences on RS tours were all positive as far as guides’ efforts for tour members to get to know each other. I really like the idea of the group photo with names, that would be a great aid for me to learn names.

Posted by
318 posts

I had one guide who made an effort to go to lunch or dinner (outside of group dinners) with every member of the tour to get to know them better. This was such a great idea as it helped us all to build deeper relationships.

Posted by
1076 posts

Those are all great ideas.
In my six tours 4 of the guides had us all play the "name game" on the first or second night which a lot of us found both challenging and unpleasant.
For the last two, the guides had us "interview" our buddy check buddies and then introduce and talk about them about the 3rd or 4th night of the tour. That was a lot more fun!
It would be nice to combine the labeled group photo with the buddy intros.
As I get older remembering all the names and information becomes a bit harder...

Posted by
58 posts

I don't like the name game as I find it stressful because I'm bad with names. Last year on the RS Best of Turkey tour, our guide also provided us with pictures that they took the first night of each individual tour member along with their names. This was SO helpful to me and everyone else commented on how nice it was. I still have that paper and when I look at my trip pictures I can refer to it to help me remember who everyone is. It's a great idea

Posted by
1554 posts

Not related to learning names, but my Best of Eastern Europe guide (Peter) provided a handout at the welcome meeting with a more detailed itinerary, including notes about where laundry would be available, approximates for out of pocket costs, when/where to exchange money, specifics on when free time was available, and the planned departure times for every day. He still had the daily info posted at each hotel, because sometimes the unexpected changes happened (due to weather, etc.). Since that tour moves around so much, it was very handy to have a master plan.

Posted by
1150 posts

CL, thank you. That sounds like extra work, but would be SO appreciated. I know the guides usually cover much of this in the first night meeting, but we are all usually jet lagged and may forget and the written word is so much better. I also applaud that guide who tried to eat one on one with each of the group. All my guides have been good, but the ones who are great are the ones you remember, aren't they.

Posted by
1914 posts

I've only been on one RS tour and so I don't know what is part of the standard formula that they follow to provide customer service, but during the opening introductions I had mentioned to the group that I really wanted to find time to visit the Lascaux caves while we were in that area. Our guide Virginie told me to talk to her later and she'd make it happen. I hope the guides know that these personal touches make a world of difference.

Posted by
3492 posts

...many guides have everyone say their name and a brief statement about themselves...take notes as everyone speaks.

Before the tour even starts, we've alway received a sheet with the names of the tour members. We take a copy of it with us and make descriptive notes next to the person's name when initial introductions are made. We then refer to it often until the names are become second nature to us. Just a idea some may want to use.