COMMUNICATIONS IN TOUR AND TRAVEL SERVICES
A tour guide is said to be a good communicator when :
1. His/her message is received and interpreted by the receiver as intended. In effect, there is mutual
understanding. Communicating with “clarity “ means being able to use phrases or words that will make
one convey his /her message clearly such that he is not misunderstood.
2. He is able to get the expected response because:
• He/she is credible and sounds acceptable to the receiver
• He is convincing and persuasive- gives accurate and factual information
• He has established rapport and has won the goodwill of the receiver
3. His communications help to build and maintain the goodwill of the receiver
A. Communicating with Clarity
Use simple language. Avoid using technical jargon. Define technical terms if used.
Use emphasis with words. Stress should be placed on the words that you want to emphasize. Such
stress can change the meaning of what you say.
Use inflection. This is the rise and fall of the voice. Repeat if you must. Use illustration & example.
4. If you are the receiver of the message, seek for confirmation.
Let me just repeat your message: “You will be meeting with Mr, Santos at Shangrila Hotel
lobby at 9AM. Did I get you right sir?.
Also confirm if you understood the message right.
“ If I got you right, you are saying that…..”
“ I heard you say… Do you mean….”
5. Avoid using general and technical terms without elaboration.
6. Speak with open mouth, pronounce words correctly. Don’t mumble or slur words.
7. Be spontaneous. Avoid ah, eh, and prolonged pauses between words.
8. Have eye contact, take note of non-verbal cues to check understanding
9. Check for understanding.
“Did I make myself clear Mr, Guest?”
10. Be conscious and cautions of semantical barriers such as Words with double meaning. These
words mean different for the sender and the receiver.
11. Use normal conversational tone and modulated volume; not too loud nor too soft.
12. Use low pitch voice. It is kinder to the listener’s ear.
13.. Talk at proper pace- not too fast, nor not too slow…
B. Communicating with Credibility
1. Have a commanding presence. Show poise and self confidence by direct eye contact, erect posture.
Exude with charm- smile, project enthusiasm; no unpleasant mannerisms.
2. Take time to get as much information on products, services, special events being held in the area and
other significant information so that you are prepared to give satisfactory answer to guest inquiries
3. Should there be inquiry that you are not familiar with, be honest about it and do not bluff. Either refer
the person to another person or department who has the information or tell the person that you will
find out for him and give him the answer once you have the information. Never say: “ I don’t know”.
Say: Mam, regarding that matter, I wish to refer you to the Sales Office as they have the details you need. May I
transfer your call to their office.”
Or say: “’m sorry but right now I don’t have the information. However, I will find out or you and I will get back to
you the moment I have the details you need. May I get your room number or phone number sir?”
4. Give unbiased opinion. Present the positive features and benefits of the product/place but be honest
about it’s limitations.
5. Don’t exaggerate. Refrain from using superlative words, Be more specific and descriptive in your
choice of words.
Instead of saying “ Our travel agency is the best”
Say: “ For a minimal cost of P5000, we provider services that will give you the best comfort.
6. Maintain congruence between verbal and non- verbal gestures. Say what you mean, mean what you
say. Greetings without smile does not sound sincere.
7. Say it with feelings.. Body language, tone and volume must match spoken words
8. Justify the critical points you want to stress or support them with facts so that the receiver will have
the impression that you know what you are talking about.
Handling Objections, Resistance Or Disagreement
1. Be open minded. Show interest rather than irritation in whatever comments and objections received.
Have eye contact, nod, ask questions, say “ I see, a ha…”
If an objection or negative comments is stated in general terms, ask for elaboration or details.
Guest: “Your service is lousy.”
Guide: “What is it that somehow made you disappointed with our service sir?”
2. Acknowledge the objection, Empathize or show understanding and ask or offer options
Make the negativist feel that his opinion matters and that he is
Understood. Use expressions like : I see. I understand.
Your point is well taken.
I have taken note of your comment.
:I’m disappointed because we were not ale to finish the itinerary for today..
: “ I am sorry that we made you feel that way Mr. Guest.”
“ We apologize. There were events beyond our control. But we are willing to make
up for it tomorrow.
3. Never argue or state counter- objection or prove the person wrong. This is offensive to the client since it
is a direct attack to his ego.” Offensive statements:
: Your fee is very expensive.
: Of course not sir. This is comparatively cheaper than that offered by other transport
: Don’t say that to me. I am a frequent traveler and I am familiar with the rates of other
A discreet way of refuting a statement is to first acknowledge the negativist statement without any put
down remarks. This can be done by restating the objection then acknowledging what is said. After that,
you may express your point with tact and diplomacy. This is commonly known as the yes-but technique.
4. Offer options.
5. Find out in the statement of the negativist if there are points or issues that are agreeable, then
acknowledge that agreeable point before raising your point
Guest I am disappointed when you told me you cannot accommodate me for this tour
when I am one of your regular patrons. I am supposed to be given priority
Tour Guide: Yes Mr,. Guest we indeed recognize you as one of our regular patrons and you really
deserve to be given priority. However we did not get your reservation ahead of time, so we
were unable to include you for the tour. How would you like to join the tour scheduled for
6. Avoid any show of irritation for any negative remark or objection. Express appreciation instead.
“ Thank you for calling our attention about this. We will inform our manager about it.”
7. If your company image is under attack, defend your reputation discreetly by citing positive testimonies or
developments in the business.
Guest: “ I am a frequent traveler. I find your services lousy.
Clerk : I respect your opinion sir. But it might interest you to know that we are now on top of the market,
We have the highest number of tour groups compared to other agencies.
Communicating with Sensitivity
Always remember that every guest is a person with feelings and self esteem. Words and gestures that
threaten or attack the ego are certainly offensive and can antagonize the guest. It will make his stay traumatic
rather than memorable. No matter how beautiful ad comfortable the accommodation is, if the ego is threaten,
the guest will leave with a very negative impression about the hotel and will never come back.
To build and sustain goodwill, be a sensitive communicator, tactful and diplomatic.
1. Avoid using direct language especially in soliciting information,
making orders, instructions, etc.
Use magic words like:
May I have your name
not “What is your name?”
Kindly sign in the form
not Sign your name.
I’m sorry for the inconvenience
Would you mind to pay in cash instead
Please come on time
Would it be alright if we leave earlier?
‘I’m sorry to inform you that….
Could we please review the contract before signing?
Statements like please, kindly, may I, would you mind, connotes appeal
Without these words/ phrases, one can sound demanding pr giving an order. Like “Sign your name.” Make
sure you give complete information.
Appeal by saying something like: Will you kindly fill up the sheet with complete information.
2. Avoid argument. Never attempt to prove the guest wrong. Instead, acknowledge his/her statement then
explain your point. Learn to use the yes-but technique when necessary.
3. Avoid words or expressions that will hurt ego like
You are quite demanding.
Demeaning and put down statements What kind of taste do you have?
That sounds stupid.
Outright denial of request
No I cannot accommodate your request.
4. Be alert in spotting signals for assistance and to respond even without a request. You don’t seem to look
alright. May I help you?
5. Don’t contradict feelings. Learn to empathize.
“ I can see that you are irritated and I understand why you fee that way.”
Acknowledge objections or negative statements no matter how petty or unreasonable they may sound to
you. Thank the guest for any positive suggestion.
“I see your point.”
“ Your point is well taken.”
You may also ask the guest what options he has in mind.
“What will you suggest for us to improve our ….” “What will you do if you were in our place?”
The tour is too short.
T. Guide : How long do you think will make an ideal tour?
6. Listen more than you talk.
7. If you are to deny a request, avoid using the word
“No I cannot accommodate your request”. This can make the guest Feel rejected.
A discrete way to refuse a request is to first empathize with the guest’s concern and then explain in a
convincing way why you cannot accommodate the request.
Avoid using words like: “No, That could not be, It is not allowed” Also suggest possible alternatives or
solutions to his/her concern.
“ I understand your concern Mr. Guest and I really wish I could accommodate your request. However….”
7. Make it a habit to use positive strokes. These are words or gestures that make the guest feel valued and
important. They are means to winning the goodwill of the guest. They breed familiarity and make the
guest feel at home.
Positive strokes – key to Building Customer Goodwill :
Non –verbal strokes
Smile, Eye contact
OK sign using the finger
Moving forward in an attempt to listen
Words of praise –
Words of gratitude
Nod, Signs of approval,
Clap or applause
“ That’s a fantastic idea.”
“Thank you for your patronage”
Words of appreciation
4. Words of affirmation -
My ratingMy rating of my
partnersMy Partners5. Words of
That was indeed very thoughtful of you.”
“You can make it.”
Thank you for bearing with us.
“ You really deserve the best service from us.”
“You are a real connoisseur. You made a perfect choice
“ I see your point.” “Your point is well taken.’
“I get what you mean. “You’re right in saying that…”
“ I buy that idea. We are thinking along the same line.”
“ I agree that we really need to change our system on.”
Yes, you are right ins saying that… But I’d like you to know
Rating of me
6. Words of agreement
7. Words of empathy – feeling for a
person as if we are in his place
“I can understand your predicament.”
“ I can see how irritated you are and I understand why
you feel that way.”
“ It pains me to see you sad.”
“ I can imagine your situation”.
“I’m sorry to hear about that”.
“My sincerest condolence.”
“I salute you for that.”
“You are really a man of fine taste.”
“I’m sad to hear about the bad news”
“Please accept my sincerest condolence”.
8. Words of admiration
‘Im sorry for having caused you such inconvenience.
I’m sorry for the oversight.
9. Words of sympathy
10. Words of apology
Handling Guest Complaints Clean looking, well groomed, clean nails, teeth, uniform, no offensive odorHas poise,
show of confidence; has eye contact; not inhibited, shy or withdrawnHas physical impact; commands attention; looks
smartPleasant, warm disposition, smiles, no sour face No unpleasant body language or bad mannerisms like biting nails,
fidgeting, scratching, etc. Decent looking in the way he dresses; not very ragged or over dressedPractices proper
hygiene, changes underwear and stockings regularly, Takes , bath daily Others – specifyVERBAL PROJECTION 1.
Speaks clearly, easy to understand 2. Convincing and credible when raising a point or in making a presentation 3. Polite &
courteous in the use of words; avoids insulting, hurting people Pleasant tone (not harsh nor monotone)Good listener; attentive,
shows interest in what others have to say, Uses modulated volume & speed (not too loud or too soft, nor too fast or slow) Uses magic
words like “please, kindly, I’m sorry, may I,” (not brutally frank) Does not spread gossip nor participate in gossipsHonest
and truthful, does not bluff, nor exaggerate to win admirationOthersBEHAVIOR & ETHICSPractices good table
manners like uses a serving spoon when getting food, 2. Sensitive and considerate to the needs and feelings
of others, 3. Gives respect and consideration to ladies, elderly and handicapped like giving them a seat in the
bus, etc.4. Keeps appointments and come on time5. Relaxed, show composure when faced with irritating
people & situations6. Practices social graces in parties, when introduced, when escorting ladies7. Gives
respect to authority, does not by pass, greets them8. Respects the privacy of others does not open their
letters or read texst messages; interfere in their private affairs, no eavesdropping, meddling in private
conversation9. Has no unhygienic practices like spitting in public areas, sneezing w/o covering my mouth,
etc.10. Has the habit of greeting people – friends, school officials, elderly, people in authority11. Keeps work
station clean and in order, practices “clean as you go”.Others
responds positively to those needing help, even when not asked
Approach the complainant as you say : "Anything I can do for you or May I help you sir?”
Get more details. Listen attentively; let him finish his statement before reacting. If message is not
clear, confirm or clarify. .If I got you right sir, are you saying that....” “I heard you say…….., do
you mean that..”
3. Be calm and sober even if the customer is rude or shouting at the peak of his voice. Be
gracious and courteous no matter how irritating the customer is.
4. Be open minded ; accept the facts of his complaints and refrain from being defensive.
customer comments even if he does not seem to be talking sense.
“ I see your point sir.”
“ I understand what you mean.”
“ Your comment is well taken sir”.
“I have taken note of your complaint sir.”
6. Accept the customer's feeling, saying something like :
" I can understand how you feel.”
“ I can see how irritated you are and I understand why you feel that way.”
If the customer is very upset, mad or irritated, pacify the guest by
saying the magic words like:
“ What can I do to make you feel better?” or
“ What can we do to compensate for our deficiency?”
7. Never argue nor disagree or indiscreetly prove the customer wrong. If the comment is an
unsound accusation, raise your point by acknowledging the comments first before presenting your
8. 8. If service is faulty, apologize.
“ I am sorry for what happened.”
9. Never pass the buck (blame) on another person/unit in an effort to defend yourself:
10. If the customer is very upset, does not want to accept apologies or is making a fuss out of petty
matters or cannot be pacified, call the supervisor or manager.
11. Should a complaint or request require a delicate decision or action, or a request that run counter to
some business policies like discount or waiving some charges, etc. refer to the supervisor.
Tell the customer : “I’m sorry sir but I am not authorized to decide on this matter, may I refer you to
15. Take appropriate action immediately and assure the complaining guest that his concern is being
taken seriously and that corrective action shall be taken.
16. When the guest is exhibiting scandalous behavior like shouting or uttering provocative
statements, alert the security officer and get security assistance especially when violent reactions
are already displayed. However, the security officer must be discreet in dealing with the
17. Before the security staff take over, the supervisor must try to pacify the customer first, get him
away from the lounge or service area and talk to him in private.
18. Show appreciation rather than irritation upon receiving a complaint or negative remark.
“ Thank you sir for bringing this matter to our attention,”
“ I have taken note of your comments sir. Thank you for calling our attention on
We will see to it that it won’t happen again”.
Professional Ethics and Grooming Standards for Service Providers
Customers judge a company not only by the quality
of its products and facilities, but also by the kind
of people who serve them
30. Professionalism is projected in terms of:
1. Physical Projection – appearance, poise, posture and body language
2. Verbal Projection - quality of speech, diplomacy and tact in the words
and expressions used, including the tone, volume, non-verbals.
3. Conduct and behavior - practice of basic courtesies, tolerance for
difficult guests and customers, compliance to service standards, etc.
38. A. PHYSICAL PROJECTION
1. It is advisable to require employees to wear a uniform. But it must be properly pressed, no
sagging hemline, not faded, etc.
2. Always carry a pleasant smile and positive disposition so that others will feel more
comfortable and at ease with you.
3. Be careful of overtones - tone, volume and body language. Avoid unpleasant non-verbals
44. like sneering look, crossing arms, pointing finger, frowning face, deep sighs, biting lips, shaking
4. Maintain poise and posture, direct eye contact, erect posture, no unpleasant mannerisms
like scratching head, etc..
5. Strictly observe the company’s grooming standards:
50. B. VERBAL PROJECTION
1. Speak with clarity. Check if you are understood whenever sending a message.
2. Speak in audible, relaxed and natural manner, maintain conversational tone and volume.
3. Observe right speed, not too fast or too slow.
4. When receiving messages, always seek to confirm or clarify anything
that sounds unclear. “ If I got you right, are you saying that......
“ I heard you say..... do you mean.... ?”
5. Accept and respect the opinion and ideas of others. If you disagree, acknowledge first
statement before pointing out your ideas. Make statements like
“I see your point.” “I understand what you mean. However, I feel that….”
6. Make it a habit to use magic words like: May I, kindly, Please, Do you mind, I’m sorry,
“May I have you name sir” instead of What’s your name?
“May I know who is on the line, rather than “Who is this?”
“ What can I do for you mam/sir?” rather than ask “What is it sir?” or
What do you want from____.”
7. Avoid saying directly no or cannot be when turning down a request.
One diplomatic way of doing it is to say: “I really wish I could satisfy
your request, however.......... I hope you understand.”
8. Be sensitive to the feelings and self esteem of others. Avoid words or
expressions that hurt feelings and shatter others’ self esteem.
9. Listen with interest and undivided attention. Nod if you agree, ask
questions. Paraphrase statements to confirm.
10. Be honest and accurate in giving information, do not bluff. Admit it if you don’t know
the answer to an inquiry but instead of saying “ I don’t know,” say: “I’m sorry, I don’t
have that information right now but let me find out for you and I’ll get back to you as soon
as I have the information. May I have your name and phone number?”
or you can refer the inquiring person to the right official or department.
“ Mam/sir, I wish to refer you to____. He got all the information you need. Would you like
me to connect you to his/her office now?
C. WORK ETHICS
A professional service provider must behave with gentleness and in strict observance to the rules of
basic courtesy and work ethics.
• Strictly no smoking while driving/on duty
• Follow prescribed work procedures and policies
• Be alert and Responsive to customers; being sensitive to their feelings and concerns
• Don’t divulge confidential information to customers
• Observe Confidentiality
• Have respect for privacy; don’t indulge in customers' private conversation
• Being honest; not bluffing; Never taking advantage of people, does not shortchange customers
• Being helpful and accommodating
• Observance of social graces – open the door of the car, etc.
• Never suggest or demand for a tip
Never use rude and insulting language
Observe professional distance; avoid too much familiarity with the customers
Dealing with Difficult Customers
1. Don’t get rattled. Look at them straight on the eye, mention their name and say your point straight without
put down statements.
2. Acknowledge statements, don’t argue or prove them wrong nor become defensive. Neither apologize if
you have no deficiency.
“ I see your point sir”
“ Your point is well taken sir”.
3. Ask for options or suggestions when negativist air negative comments
4. Never attempt to retaliate with same rudeness or ego attack.
5.. Use yes but technique when appropriate. “Yes you have a point, however…”
6. Never allow them to use their trick to get what they want.
DEALING WITH CUSTOMER CONCERNS
1. Acknowledge the problem
2. Dig for facts and details-What – who, where, how
3. Accept responsibility, apologize if at fault
4. Offer an alternative solution
5. Check customers acceptance of solution/strategy
6. Act on the solution
7. Follow up; Give the guest a feedback
HANDLING MAD CUSTOMERS
Stay Calm and handle yourself.
Don’t take any rude language as an offense against you.
Let him talk and vent. Don’t interrupt
Acknowledge statements. Take notes
Get in the shoes of the customer. Empathize.
Actively Listen and give encouraging responses
Thank the customer for bringing the matter to your attention.
Offer solutions or seek for alternative remedies.
Follow up and give the customer feedback on the action take.
Do I make an ‘m Ok Impression to Others?
Find out for yourself. Get a partner to form a dyad. Ask your partner to rate you along the
following areas, using the code VF for very favorable; MF for moderately favorable and UF for
unfavorable impression. Ask them to explain their rating. What behavioral manifestations support
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