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Stephanie Vozza

Hiring passionate employees is pivotal to your tour business's success. They help you rack up positive ratings on review websites. They bring word-of-mouth traffic when customers tell their friends about their great experience. And they facilitate repeat business as customers come back again and again for the experience. But how do you find engaged employees who will love your business – and your customers – as much as you do?

Hiring the right guides can be challenging. Seasonal employment is expected to increase during 2015, with 36 of companies hiring additional staff for the summer, according to CareerBuilder. And you'll face steep competition: half of seasonal hiring will be done in the leisure and hospitality field—your competitors and colleagues.

That means you've got your work cut out for you when looking for the best employees. To give you a bit of an edge, here are five ways to find great new employees and make sure you're well staffed during your busy season.

1. Your Current Employees

Do you have a staff member or tour guide who is a customer favorite? Someone who's been loyal to you and excited about your business? Ask if he or she has a friend who needs a job. One of the most effective ways of finding new employees is getting referrals from your existing employees. Not only will they take responsibility for the new hire, they can usually tell if their friend will be a good fit.

2. Your Customers

If you have a loyal customer, ask if he or she is interested in becoming an employee. At Urban Hiker SF, tour guides often tell local customers on their tours how they can apply to become a guide. Despite seasonal turnover, this approach has helped the business constantly attract and hire new guides. Hiring someone who already had a positive experience with your business - and has been in the customers' shoes - is a great way to find the right fit for the job. They have knowledge of your business and the experiences you offer, and they'll be excited to talk about them. Hiring customers is as easy as putting a “Help Wanted" sign in your window, on your website, or on your social media pages.

3. Colleges and Schools

Seasonal businesses need employees during the summer – and that's exactly when students look for a job. You can target this audience by speaking to counselors at the job placement offices at local schools. You can also put up flyers inside university student centers and local student hangouts. 

4. Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great places to spread the word about your products and services—and they're also the perfect spot to post a job ad (Facebook recently added a "jobs" tab; check it out). Your social media followers are already interested in your business, and if they see you're hiring, you might get a phone call right away. Even better: Social media reaches passive job seekers. Sometimes the best candidates are the ones who are already employed; when they see an interesting job on their social media feed, it could pique their interest.

5. Associations and Groups

If you belong to an association or group, such as your local Chamber of Commerce or state tourism council, check out its website and newsletter to see if there's a space for classified advertising. Your job post will reach people who are passionate about your industry, and you'll spread the word about your business.

When you're looking to staff up for the busy season, implementing any of these tips will help you find employees to handle the influx. 

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