Learn from the experts and you might be the next big thing in walking tours.
Feb 23, 2011 11:00 am
DO know your product. For both Celdran and Man Dy, research is paramount, considering that their tours are interactive and face-to-face. Their advice: hit the library, buy books, and know the residents and personalities; their oral histories, traditions, and even plain old gossip can spice up a tour spiel.
DO practice diplomacy in your interactions. Says Man Dy: “We toured one American before and the tour touched on the atrocities of the Philippine-American war. He was upset. We couldn’t make him feel bad, but then again, we have to stick to our educational advocacy.”
DON’T take rest for granted. Walking tours could be exhausting. Make sure you’re prepared, mentally and physically, for the task at hand.
DO make sure you have the right tickets and permits. Celdran already pre-purchases tickets to most of the locations for “La Vida Imelda,” simply because he used to let his tour groups purchase tickets individually on-site, and it took forever.
DO know that every day is crucial. The Internet has been Celdran and Man Dy’s biggest marketing asset, but it can just as easily whip back and be detrimental to their business. One unflattering blog report could wreak havoc on the business.
DON’T ignore chances for expansion. With his friend, blogger Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet, Ivan has expanded past Manila to offer his unique viewpoint on the rest of the country with Ultimate Philippines, a high-end cultural, culinary and architectural tour that seeks to do for places like Batanes and Pampanga what he’s done with Binondo and Malacañang.
DO know that expansion is not for everybody. Celdran says everyone can find their “happy moment.” He explains: “My average crowd is 40 people. I’m happy with that. If I can keep doing this tour with these manageable crowds, and stay in this happy moment, I think I can do this until I’m 80.”