I’ve been driving the same bus along similar tours routes for a while now. Some days I don’t feel like getting dressed and hopping in that driver’s seat. But I always do.
I’ve learned ways to make even the most mundane of days enjoyable. And I want to pass those methods of motivation on to other people who are looking to get into the business.
Most days I really enjoy my job-driving people around to places they have never seen before. But that’s because I know how to enjoy myself. I don’t just look straight ahead and keep my mouth shut. I converse with my customers and even get to know them a little. For me, the route doesn’t really change, but for them, it’s an entirely new experience.
So I find out what they think about the tour and the locations we visit. Everyone has a unique perspective, and maybe some of them have similar experiences they want to share and compare. And even when the route doesn’t change, the people do. So I find out a little about them. That’s my tour each day- discovering new people from exotic locations. Maybe they are from out of the country or from the other side of Australia. Either way, they have something unique to bring to the tour. I make sure to take them all over the local neighborhoods just to make sure they get a glimpse of all of the great cottages and small town feel that a lot of people do not get. There’s a corridor in Melbourne specifically where all of the garage door in Melbourne are painted different colors and with murals. It’s a small tourist attraction that not many drivers know about and my customers always seem to love it.
Break Up the Tedium
There will always be the places along the tour that I “have” to visit. Tourists expect to see certain sites, and I cannot just change my itinerary just because I feel like doing something different. That being said, there are different ways to reach the various sights. Sometimes the people on the tours have taken my tour before, and they appreciate a change of scenery, no matter how slight.
I also find that it helps to break up the monotony of the tour if I vary the lengths of the stops. Sometimes the first stop will be for ten minutes, sometimes it will be for five. It’s not a big change, but it’s enough to make sure every day isn’t the same thing.
I try to do narrated tours when I can. It may be easy to rehearse and repeat the same lines each tour. But it also gets boring. So I mix it up a bit, use different anecdotes and tell a slightly different story. Sometimes this means I have to do a little research and find out something new about the places we pass by. And the ones who have been on the tour before are the one who appreciate the little changes the most. I find if I change things up a bit each time, I’m more likely to get repeat customers.
Do Your Own Thing
If my tour was like everyone else’s, then I’d be in direct competition and I might have to lower my prices. Instead, I try to keep things original as much as I can. I don’t have the same route or visit the same sights as the people who do tours around me. That gives customers a reason to visit us both. But I also try to throw some of my own flavor into the proceedings.
I think if you have your own jokes to tell, maybe even do a little routine or a reenactment, then you can give some real personality to a tour. I’ve seen some bus drivers even create a character. This works for some guys, and they become very into their characters. It gives the tour something no other tour has, and it’s like its own little show within the tour.
Not everyone will be able to pull off something like this, but it’s a great way to attract customers to a tour and make a name for yourself. Another thing I’ve seen done is to theme a tour. So maybe you paint up your bus with perhaps a pirate theme and you wear a pirate hat and talk like a pirate might. Then you do your whole tour with a running theme, and it creates something really unique. Once again, it’s not something everyone is able to do, but these original experiences are good ways to draw in customers and build word of mouth followings.
Don’t Forget the Customers
As important as it is to enjoy yourself and shake things up a bit every now and then, you can’t forget about the people paying for it. Make sure no matter what your route, that you are stopping for people to pick up refreshments or to get out and stretch from time to time. And do try to drive safely at all time. These people are leaving their cars locked behind their garage doors and are trusting you to take care of them. It’s not a responsibility to take lightly.