In the tour industry, there are few roles more important than that of tour guide. Guides--with their vast knowledge, passion, and enthusiasm--inject life into tours. And good guides can transcend the cultural barriers that many long distance visitors face, bringing entire groups together and leaving them with exhilarating experiences and a new understanding.
So, when it comes to finding the right guides for your business, just where do you look for a pool of certified, experienced guides with outstanding personalities to lead your tours? Here a few leads.
1. Tour Guide Community Websites
Though tour guide community websites—such as Tours By Locals, Siroube, and Who's My Guide—are typically used to pair individual guides with travelers seeking guided tours, the sites will also allow tour operators to join and contact local guides to pitch job opportunities. There are few places that make it easier to view licensed, qualified guides in your area and message them all at once.
2. Tour Guide Associations
There are several large tour guide associations you can join that will allow you to post job listings on their sites and newsletters to connect with local guides. These organizations exist on all levels, including international, national, and local. For instance, there is the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations and the National Federation of Tourist Guide Associations. Local guilds include the SF Tour Guide Guild, Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington, DC, and The Professional Tour Guides Association of Houston. To find an organization in your community, simply Google "tour guide guild [your city]."
3. Visitor's Bureau or Travel and Convention Bureau
Your city's local travel bureau will most likely offer a free partnership or paid membership where local businesses can join, attend events, connect with other members of the community, and gain access to job bulletin boards where you can post job listings. They may also be able to provide leads to qualified tour guides or companies already working with them.
4. Social media.
Post your job listing on your Twitter page using hashtags such as #tourguide, #tourismjobs, #tourguidejob, and #licensedguide. For instance, we used the hashtags #tourguide and #jobs and found several job postings. You should also be using these hashtags to find and follow tour-guide related Twitter pages with whom you can interact. For example, we found Guide Trip@guide_trip (a company that connects tour operators and guides) using the #tourguide hashtag.
You can also type "tour guides [your city]" into Facebook. This will produce a list of local guides, who you can then message about job opportunities. You can also message and/or join tour-guide related groups or pages that already have a following of tour guides. For instance, typing "Tour Guide Jobs" will lead you to find Get Tour Guide Jobs, a tour guide job posting site, where you can post job listing directly on the page.
5. Use LinkedIn.
Create a company page, then create a job posting that links to your company's careers page or a job application. Once that's done, conduct an advanced search for "People with tour guide titles" or "Groups about tour guides,"and send invites to connect with people and groups of interest.
Coolworks is a tour guide job network that acts as a virtual staffing company for tour guides and trip leaders. Tour operators can sign-up, create a profile, and after a brief verification process, create a job application and start connecting with applicants.
This is a short list of ideas that will help you find a pool of qualified guides. To get the best results from your search, post your job listings using all of the above. And although you only have a need for a limited number of guides, create a database to keep records on all qualified applicants and let it be your go-to source for future hires. It will save you a lot of time and money on job listings and hiring a staffing company.