The first speaker of the evening was Sean Galloway, the Tour Experience Coordinator at Tours by Locals. The talk consisted of a Q&A between Sean and Chris Torres, but we won’t document each specific question and answer here.

What Makes an Attractive Tour

Sean explained how his experience in banking and recruitment had proved very successful, but he was looking for a better, more fulfilling job. Then, a holiday of a lifetime in Sicily with Sicilian friends showed him that he never wanted to go on another packaged holiday ever again… When he got back from the holiday, he saw that position was going to Tours by Locals and he seized the opportunity. Over a year and a half later and Sean is has risen to the Experience Coordinator position!

As the Experience Coordinator, Sean needs to think long and hard about tours and what makes them so worthwhile. He explained that “Consistency is so important, as reviews are vital in the industry.” Sean also explained that Tours by Locals is uniquely qualified to establish consistently high tour experiences as, unlike pretty much all big OTAs, it doesn’t have any stakeholders. This means that it isn’t doing everything it can each quarter to maximise profits; this allows the company to focus on quality and consistency without having to answer to stakeholders.

“Everyone has profits in front of them,” Sean said, “and that gets in the way of the quality of the experience.”

In the last year, Tours by Locals has doubled its guides from 2,000 worldwide, to approximately 4,000 — with around 100 guides working in Scotland. Sean puts this recent growth down to the talented people they recruit to work as guides. Sean explained that Tours by Locals have a strong emphasis on tour guides being personable, having extensive subject knowledge, and having great storytelling skills: “The best guides aren’t the people with qualifications coming out of their ears. They’re the people who have lived in a wee town for 30 years and know all the hidden gems.”

Sean explained how his experience in banking and recruitment had proved very successful, but he was looking for a better, more fulfilling job.

Lastly, Sean emphasised that Tours by Locals really cares about its guides and that this is also a key ingredient to their success. This kind of socially responsible business practice isn’t the most common model out there and it was heartening to hear him talk about helping guides in Cuba who are suffering because of new tourism sanctions from the US.

The first speaker of the evening was Sean Galloway, the Tour Experience Coordinator at Tours by Locals. The talk consisted of a Q&A between Sean and Chris Torres, but we won’t document each specific question and answer here.

Sean explained how his experience in banking and recruitment had proved very successful, but he was looking for a better, more fulfilling job. Then, a holiday of a lifetime in Sicily with Sicilian friends showed him that he never wanted to go on another packaged holiday ever again… When he got back from the holiday, he saw that position was going to Tours by Locals and he seized the opportunity. Over a year and a half later and Sean is has risen to the Experience Coordinator position!

As the Experience Coordinator, Sean needs to think long and hard about tours and what makes them so worthwhile. He explained that “Consistency is so important, as reviews are vital in the industry.” Sean also explained that Tours by Locals is uniquely qualified to establish consistently high tour experiences as, unlike pretty much all big OTAs, it doesn’t have any stakeholders. This means that it isn’t doing everything it can each quarter to maximise profits; this allows the company to focus on quality and consistency without having to answer to stakeholders.

“Everyone has profits in front of them,” Sean said, “and that gets in the way of the quality of the experience.”

In the last year, Tours by Locals has doubled its guides from 2,000 worldwide, to approximately 4,000 — with around 100 guides working in Scotland. Sean puts this recent growth down to the talented people they recruit to work as guides. Sean explained that Tours by Locals have a strong emphasis on tour guides being personable, having the extensive subject knowledge, and having great storytelling skills: “The best guides aren’t the people with qualifications coming out of their ears. They’re the people who have lived in a wee town for 30 years and know all the hidden gems.”

Lastly, Sean emphasised that Tours by Locals really cares about its guides and that this is also a key ingredient to their success. This kind of socially responsible business practice isn’t the most common model out there and it was heartening to hear him talk about helping guides in Cuba who are suffering because of new tourism sanctions from the US.

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