There are many components involved with a successful event. Some may argue that the most important component are the tour guides/on-site staff. What you can’t argue is that they are one of the lowest cost component of an event’s overall budget (as this event cost breakdown shows). Ironically tour guides / on-site staff are one of the first areas that get cut from an event’s budget. My opinion is that is being penny wise and pound foolish. And I’ll explain why I believe that below.
One characteristic of tour guides that made me realize just how valuable they are to the meetings and events industry is their local knowledge. A while back my company participated in a FAM tour for potential planners that Toronto’s CVB organized. We sponsored a city tour for the group. I went along as I had never been on an official Toronto city tour. I can’t tell you how much I learned that day about the city that I have lived in for 25 years. I truly enjoyed the tour as much as our visitors did.
The Benefits of Utilizing Local Tour Guides and On-Site Staff for Your Event
- Local Knowledge. These individuals know a lot of historical details about their cities. Professional tour guides take pride in their work. Rightly so as there is a ton of information that they need to retain.
Costs. As stated above, the staff cost compared to the overall event budget itself is nominal. It always amazed me when meeting planners would ask me to cut the staff out of budget. Their argument was that they were going to be on-site and could handle that aspect of the event themselves. Wrong. Depending on the size of the group, the cost per person of having an on-site staff member present can be a few dollars. It always amazed me that meeting planners were willing to sacrifice an important event over something that cost so little.
- Supplier Liaison. Tour guides know the industries suppliers. After all they work with them day in and day out. Quite often tour guides can solve a problem before it begins. If the group happens to be in a venue that is particularly awkward for transportation, a tour guide will communicate ahead of time with the drivers to ensure that the guests are not inconvenienced when it’s time to arrive, or depart. Sometimes it’s what they are doing behind the scenes, unbeknownst to the group, that make them worth their weight in gold.