This post aims to inform gurus about how to run a tour in safe conditions for the COVID-19 pandemic, both for travelers and for themselves. We recommend that you follow these recommendations (which are not exhaustive) as much as possible, although we understand that this may not always be possible.
Important: the goal of this post is in no way intended to replace the official sanitary norms that vary in each country and that every guru should comply with and respect.
- Advise travelers about the security protocols
- Use masks and / or face shields
- Maintaining social distance
- Limit group size
- Use a speaker or headsets
- Do not supply audio guides, brochures, etc.
- Avoid crowds and narrow places
- Receive money in a bag or by card
- Follow all COVID-19 protocols with the appropriate tour security measures
Advise travelers about the security protocols
GuruWalk does not warn travelers about these sanitary measures as they are constantly changing and vary by country or city.
Therefore, before the tour takes place, prepare a message advising travelers about the COVID-19 protocols and security measures in your city. Travelers expect to receive it and it shows them a professional attitude.
To make it easier, you can add it to your tour’s welcome message that is sent automatically when a booking is made.
Use masks and / or face shields
Both for travelers and for the guru. Advise travelers about this before the tour and let them know they have to come with masks.
We also advise you to bring several new masks with you. This way you could give them away or sell them at low price to travelers if someone forgets it or breaks it during the experience.
As a tour guide, you have to talk a lot. That’s why we recommend bringing an extra mask in case you need to change it during the tour. Try not to remove it, but if it’s too uncomfortable, think about wearing a face shield. That allows travelers to see your face and expressions better when you explain.
It’s important to explain at the beginning of the tour that travelers must maintain a safety distance of 2 meters with the other travelers (if they come from different bookings).
This also applies to the guide, who keeps social distance when speaking or explaining something to travelers.
In addition, avoid greeting with physical contact, including shaking hands, both to other tourist guides, suppliers, as well as with the other travelers.
In addition, you should avoid all kinds of contact during the tour: especially in areas with monuments, stair railings, doors, … and always remember to wash your hands well.
Limit group size
To respect the social distance between each person, it’s important to limit the group sizes.There are certain rules to follow according to the countries or cities. We don’t recommend groups of more than 20 people per guide.
Otherwise, it will be more complicated for travelers to hear you well and for you to manage the group.
PRO gurus have the opportunity to use an automatic option to limit the group size, as explained here.
This doesn’t cancel bookings that were made previously. If too many people signed up, it’s not such a big deal in most cases as there are generally some travelers who won’t show up for the tour. Otherwise, you will have to cancel the last booking made in advance and notify the traveler to take the tour at another time, and this could cause the traveler to have a negative experience with you.
Use a speaker or headsets
Many gurus have already used this technique before: a small speaker allows you to keep a safe distance and helps travelers hear you well even if you are wearing a mask. This option, of course, is valid as long as you’re sure that it is allowed by the local authorities and it does not bother the locals in your destination.
Another option would be to have a microphone and use a headset for each traveler. However, keep in mind that you will have to disinfect this system after each use and that wearing headphones reduces interaction with the group.
Do not supply audio guides, brochures, etc.
These have surfaces where the COVID-19 virus can be easily transmitted by hand, so it’s better not to share anything with travelers during the tour.
Avoid crowds and narrow places
Many guruwalks take place in the Old Towns where there are often large concentrations of people and sometimes all in narrow streets. Make sure you can keep the social distance anyway by avoiding these places that are often crowded.
If it’s not possible to avoid them, we recommend you explain the place of interest a bit before and then invite travelers to see the place for a few minutes on their own.
Receive money in a bag or by card
We have several gurus that use a portable card reader. But if you don’t have one, we advise you to receive travelers’ money at the end of the tour in a bag that you carry in your hand, to avoid having direct contact with the cash or with the travelers’ hands.
Follow all COVID-19 protocols with the appropriate tour security measures
We just want to highlight once more, that these are general recommendations and in no way are intended to replace the official measures that have been set up by the local health authorities all across the world. It’s very important that each guru, as a city expert, is well-informed about the guidelines established by the local authorities and how to comply with them safely and correctly.