Follow the leaders

Look at the leader

BBC documentary "Synth Britannia" captured a wonderful moment when Wolfgang Flür of Kraftwerk, in his thickly guttural Teutonic accent, referred to Andy McCluskey of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark as their "leader". And the Rome tours connection? I've been translating customer reviews from German into English for a year or two now, and in almost every case, German customers refer to our guides as "leaders" (or Google translate translates what they have written in German as such). It got me thinking about what customers expect from a tour guide having booked Rome and Vatican tours online. A leader? A local? An academic? A companion?

All four descriptions are pre-requisites for every aspiring or fully qualified tour guide. German tourists expect a leader, first and foremost. Feedback shows us that Scandinavians expect academic prowess above all other considerations, while customers from other European countries and the USA are good to go with a guide who is local to Rome or compatriot as priority numero uno. Do bear in mind that all our guides are qualified academics from Rome (or have lived in Rome for many years) with innate leadership qualities.

Leadership qualities are part and parcel of what a professional tour guide is and does. Escorting several dozen people single-handedly through a historic centre or archaeological ruin requires tact and assertiveness.

It's not uncommon to see tour groups walking inside and around the Vatican Museums with several of the assembled lagging behind, seemingly lost and disinterested. It's disappointing to see other Rome tour operators using guides who lack leadership when a tour is in progress.

A reason for this might be lack of tour guide training. One might reasonably expect every guide to attend periodic refresher courses. Don't quote me, it just seems that most Rome tour operators disregard guide training, and it's to the detriment of tourism in Rome. We engage with our leaders by way of regular meetings, in order to maintain and improve service standards where possible.

Published on July 11th, 2014
© When In Rome Tours, article provided by Cajes.

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