Some people might not agree and recognise the services of the tour leader. They might think that the tour leader is paid to enjoy and not worth to tip the leader. In fact despite handing the group over to the local guides upon arrival, he is still responsible for everything about you!
Tour Leader – A Small Role With Heavy Responsibility
According to the operation method of travel agencies, when it is 7 to 10 days before the departure date of the tour, the company’s assigned tour leader will personally call the tour members. Apart from the self-introduction, confirming details prior to departure is the main duty of the tour leader. While it seems that the tour leader might be doing some trivial matters like checking weather forecast and reminding about clothes or currency exchange. All these matters when the tour starts.
Even though it is a small role, it is important for the tour leader to remind tour members about their passport, understand the diet habits of each member – vegetarian diet, non-beef diet, etc. and remind when and where to meet at the airport. In fact, the tour leader is an inevitable travel companion. At the airport check-in counter, he calmly helps organise luggage tag, boarding pass, etc. In case, the cabin seat is not ideal, he is the one who negotiates with the counter staff or with other passengers on board. He has to make sure that everyone boards the plane before he can take a rest. He has to ensure that all the immigration cards are filled up correctly to ensure a smooth clearance on arrival.
Some people might not agree and recognise the services of the tour leader. They might think that the tour leader is paid to enjoy and not worth to tip the leader. In fact despite handing the group over to the local guides upon arrival, he is still responsible for everything about you – eat, sleep, play and security. He has to ensure that you have eaten before he can grab a bite or two. While you are relaxing after your shower in the hotel room, your tour leader and the tour guide are still reviewing the day that was and discussing itinerary and strategy for the next day. While you enjoy playing back the photos of the day, did you realise that the tour leader helped you to capture some of the beautiful pictures?
Upon return to the country, he has to ensure all luggage bags arrived safely or he has to deal with the claims. In case of any accident, illness, fall, loss of passport, loss of wallet and any other emergencies, he is the one who has to deal with the problems.
In my opinion, a professional tour leader is one who works silently, handles quietly without taking the credit of the tour guide. The next time you go on a trip, do not forget to give the tour lead some words of sympathy and some encouraging applause.
Among the issues that the tour leader has to settle is the seating of the tour members during meals where he has to ensure that the people who sit at the same table are able to at least communicate. He also has to tactfully handle people who shout and rant at the tour leader. It is a big challenge for the tour leader when there are trouble makers in the group. There those who do not like a window seat in the plane or can’t be squeezed in the middle seat or a family who can’t be separated and many more. Some of them seem to have travelled often and yet can’t do what the Romans do. Some of them seem to be particularly fussy about the condition of hotel room or which room number or the last room at the corner, etc. The tour leader has to spend time to go round checking the rooms and the WiFi and so on. Some families even treat the tour leader like a babysitter for their kids. Sometimes the tour leader has to transfer and push the wheelchair under the cold and snowy condition, that’s not easy at all. Due to this some of the members might complaint that the tour leader has neglected them.
The tour leader has to face all sorts of pressures and challenges. At times the tour leader is appreciated. Some of the members consider the tour leader as their connection between them and the local tour operators in terms of communications. It might not be obvious but some of them do notice that tour leaders could settle small problems with fast speed.
So travelling is an attitude. If the travel process is a temporary home for you and you derived the joy and good memories from the travel. Then isn’t that the tour leader is the excellent butler of your temporary home?