I emigrated to Argentina in 2007. I already had a long business experience in my own catering company in the UK for 15 years. I decided to change my life completely. Having travelled a lot throughout the years and always having been passionate about South America, Argentina was an obvious choice due to the immense growing power of the country and its huge space and very European culture.
After I got married here, I explored the market and could see the huge potential in tourism . My language skills , business experience and knowledge of the idiosyncrasy of foreign customers gives me an edge over my competitors.
When I receive a group of customers, I try ad assess quickly a few things: The leader, member(s) of the group who are more anxious than others, the shy ones etc…
That way I can talk to them in a different manner and give the best attention to all. The age of the group members, their physical ability is a factor since Buenos Aires can be very hot in the summer.
Every job has it’s ups and downs, is there anything you don’t like about guiding?
Frankly, although some groups are more laid back, easy going, and wiling to participate, than others, I have no issue with the job I am doing . I always enjoy being with people from different nations and in the process learn a lot about current life in their country.
In my opinion , the benefits of hiring a guide works on two levels:
Visitors , in Buenos Aires for example, even if they are willing, would have a hard time going through the emblematic sites. They would spend double amount of time visiting the city and would not get the explanations and information that they get from me. I also have an outsider’s outlook on things since I was not born here . Travelers often ask me precise questions about daily life in Argentina (taxes, health care, education, social issues, security etc…). Without a guide or with a non bilingual taxi driver, they would not be able to get those answers .
At the end of the tour they can get suggestions of things to do by themselves without a guide from the guide.
A good guide must , among other things:
Be Flexible ( modify the visit if he feels that tiredness is creeping in).
Explain clearly to customers what they will do during the day.
Ask their guests’ opinion about their ability/desire to walk.
Organize a lunch break.
Assess quickly their guests’ main interests (history, architecture, nature etc…).
Not push heavily other services, just suggest.
And finally, have you got any tips for people who are interested in booking a guide like yourself, but aren’t too sure what to look for?
Tips on hiring a guide :
Try and communicate with your guide before booking. That allows you to check the language skills, see how clearly he/she answers questions and , most important how fast. A slow communicator is not a good sign at all.
Clarify if the cost of the service is all inclusive and ask beforehand if you think you might need extra service and how much it will cost.
Be clear about your particular interests, needs and physical ability . It will be very beneficial to you since the guide will know what to expect and will be able, if they are a good guide, to adapt their tour to you.
Specify clearly meeting points/ dropoff points especially in airports.
Read well the included/not included sections in the tour description.