CU8 : Customised Tourist Services Execution


  1. 1 Analyse customised tourist service arrangement information
  1. 2 Purpose of obtaining customised service arrangement information
  • Source of customised service arrangement information such as:
  • Tourist
  • Customer
  • Tour leader
  • Event organiser
  1. 3 Tourist needs and requirement such as:
  • Tourist needs
  • Cross-culture
  • Types of tourist
  • Tourist expectation
  1. 4 Types of tourist customised service such as:
  • Wheel chair
  • Room (connecting room, non-smoking room, etc)
  • Meal arrangement (vegetarian, halal, Jain Food, etc)
  • Carry out customised tourist services arrangement
  1. 5 Purpose of carrying out customised tourist services arrangement
  • Customised service requirement details such as:
  1. Date
  2. Time
  3. Special room
  4. Special diet
  5. Venue
  6. Disability
  7. Security
  1. 6 Customised tourist service providers such as:
  • Accommodation
  • Events company
  • Relevant authorities
  • Medical support service
  1. 7 Handling of customer service such as:
  • Types of complainer (passive, constructive, agressive, etc)
  • Tourist complaints (tour package, tour itinerary, tourist feedback, etc)
  • Rights of tourist on customised service
  • Customised tourist services feedback report


From time to time, tour guides will encounter tourist with special needs and it will be of utmost importance that the guide have the basic knowledge of handling matters concerning emergency, medical and handicap aids. The issue can be critical as it concerns matters related to health and the well being of the tourist and therefore the guide must be equipped in handling these special needs.

  1. 1 Receive tourist special needs information

Source of tourist special needs information        

  • Tour agent / organiser

When booking for tour packages tourist will usually communicate their medical needs to the agent. For tourist who is handicapped, the agent must propose suitable tours which are handicap accessible. There can also be extra charges on passenger who needs handicap aids and this will be communicated to the ground handlers. The ground handler may also receive special instructions regarding accommodation, transportation and meals.

  • Tour itinerary

The tour agent who is the ground handler of the tour will produce the itinerary with emphasis on either the medical needs or handicap aids needed. This will in turn tell the guide the extra services which needs to rendered as to fulfil the special needs associated with the particular booking.

  • Tourist

When the tourist is met at the airport by the tourist guide, further instruction can be communicated personally to the guide to get a clear picture of the condition. This will help the guide in conducting the tour so that steps can be taken to ensure smooth execution.

  1. Prepare required tourist special needs arrangement

2.1 Emergency contact details

A tourist guide needs to be equipped with common emergency contact (police and ambulance) whenever on tour. However when it is made known to the tourist guide that there are tourists with special needs under his care, the tourist guide must make sure that additional emergency information is available. This can be in the form of specialist doctor who is expert in the particular condition or any medical facilities available in the vicinity of the tour. Contacts of the next of kin and the travel agent both local and overseas should also be handy.

2.2 Type of tourist special needs

Handicap aid

At the very least, it must be ensured that the physically challenged can have access to and the same travel experiences. It is the responsibility of the tour guide and the travel agents (local and overseas) to think ahead and take steps to prepare for the difficulties which might be encountered. Although the physically challenged person will usually be travelling with a companion who will assist with the special needs the tour guide needs to make sure the places visited will be accessible and all special instruments needed are available.

  1. Execute tourist special needs arrangement

It is of utmost important that before any treatment is administered, situation must be assessed carefully weather it constitutes as an emergency or the situation is not serious and could be treated with common remedies. Fractures, cardiac arrest or big cuts with consistent bleeding may constitute as an emergency as opposed to headache or stomach ache. Therefore, an emergency may need serious medical attention while the common ailments may be treated with common remedies.

However, before administering treatment, be it an emergency situation or common ailments the medical background of the tourist must be checked. This will let us know if the tourist is allergic to certain medication and treatment administered may not deteriorate the situation due to reason unknown to the medical administrator. Medical background can be checked with the tourist if he is conscious or to the local or overseas agent.

Any medication that the tour guide recommends or administers for common ailments must be with the consent of the tourist. The tour guide should not administer treatment for serious cases except first-aid and only if he or she is trained to do so.

In serious emergency cases, the tour guide should contact relevant authorities for assistance followed by organising transport for evacuation or delivery to medical facilities.

  • Receive tourist needs and complaints

Source of tourist needs and complaints  

  1. 1 Tour package

                  A tour package is usually agreed and paid for long before the tourist embarks on their holiday. During the holiday though, the tourist might discover things which does not fulfil their needs and they will want extra services, or they might encounter arrangements which is not as agreed when the package was purchased earlier. This may involve the following:

  • accommodation – not as booked (different hotel) or not as terms agreed (involves room standard, facilities or meals which are inclusive of room rate)
  • meals – number of meals included or types of meals booked
  • transportation – cleanliness and roadworthiness
  • tour (private or SIC and language medium)
  • tour guide (knowledge, communications skills, hygiene, punctuality or even the language in which the tour is supposed conducted).
  1. 2 Tour itinerary

Tour itinerary is an agreed travel program and it must be executed accordingly unless there is unavoidable circumstances which force the program or schedule be changed. This is why complaints may arise when tourist experience program or schedule which is different from the initial itinerary provided to and agreed by them, which might be reason for a complain. This may involve the following:

  • duration of tour – too short or too long than usual
    • visits omitted – not due to unforeseen circumstances
    • visits added – due to unscrupulous reason
  1. 3 Tourist feedbacks

Feedbacks are best communicated to the tour operator via feedback form or questionnaires. Despite this, tourist can also communicate their satisfaction or grievances orally to the tour guide, tour operations officer or even the manager. The feedbacks can cover all subject concerning tour including; overall tour experience, tour guide, accommodation, transportation and meals.

Below is a simple example of a post tour questionnaire:

Tour code:
Name of guest:
No of pax:
  Guide: Driver: Vehicle:
Rate 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)
Knowledge Enthusiasm Punctuality Hygiene
Cleanliness Service Meals inclusive Facilities
Vehicle condition
Vehicle cleanliness
Punctuality of driver
Other transfers: Speed boat Longboat  
Meals: River Cruise:

For verbal complaints, understand that it is important to listen to customers and to keep calm. Know also when to refer a customer to personnel of higher authority if solving the problem involves actions beyond your authority.

Practice also the ART of customer service:

A – Accept customer’s point of view

R – Recognise and acknowledge the customer’s feelings

T – Trust that the customer’s concerns are genuine and legitimate

Types of complainer

You can’t please everyone, though as a business your main purpose is to please as many customers as possible so that they keep returning. When customers are dissatisfied with the service you are providing they will be one of three kinds of complainers: aggressive, passive or constructive.

1.2.1          Aggressive complainers are most difficult to please and are often more concerned with displaying their emotion than actually achieving a solution. Aggressive customers will often shout, jump to conclusions, and can make unreasonable demands or make threats. Aggressive complainers can be intimidating but should be handled in a calm manner unless the employee feels threatened in which case calling for help may be necessary.

  1. Passive complainers are the most lethal to a businesses success, as they will complain to everyone but the actual business. Since the business is left unaware of their error they cannot correct it and the only thing a passive complainer succeeds in doing is depriving the company of potential business.
  1. Constructive complainers are most beneficial to a business since they address their problem to the business in a calm rational manner. Constructive complainers allow a company to see and understand a problem, which allows them to then repair it. Constructive complainers tend to receive beneficial solutions to their problems and the business also benefits from knowing the error of their ways.

Whatever type of complainer they may be, it is important to deal with all complaints with the utmost care after all, the customer is essential to a businesses livelihood. Being an empathetic listener is a key part of understanding and helping you customer achieve the results they desire. If dealt with effectively both parties should part feeling satisfied with the solution.

  • Study tourist needs and complaints

2.1             Tourist profile

                        Tourist profile usually tells us what the interest of the tourist or group of tourists. This will help us in executing the tour itinerary so that it will be orchestrated more towards fulfilling the needs of the tourist and will ensure a smooth and enjoyable tour.

  • Types of tourist

Types of tourist can be grouped into a few common factors as follows:

  • region of origin – where the tourist comes from can usually dictate their interest and activities while on vacation
    • habitat demography – they may live in the city and wants to see more of the countryside
    • gender – usually ladies would love to do more of shopping
    • special interest – they specifically wants the tour to emphasize on their interest
  • Tourist needs

                  Tourist may have particular request on certain issues. These issues may involve accommodation, meals, transport or even the tour guide. Well to do tourist would expect to be treated extra special and they will pay more for the extra luxuries.

  • Tourist expectation

                  From what have been described to them and probably from their own research especially with the easy access of internet, tourist would have built a certain expectation on the tour package that they have purchased. So, experiencing something which is below their expectation can be a reason to complaint.

  • Cross-culture

In conducting tour the guide as well as the tour agent must be aware of the culture practiced by the tourist as not to do include activities which can be offensive according to their culture which on the other hand is totally acceptable to us. Tourist might also find our local practices offensive as it is something which is not acceptable where they come from; it is then the tour guide’s responsibility to explain that these are common practices and fulfils certain purposes and they should have an open mind and acceptance of different culture.

2.2             Tourist complaints handling check-list

    • Tour agent policy

Learn about the policy that your company practices when dealing with complaints. The feedback is usually channelled to the department responsible to improve on services. For instance, for complaints which are very serious and the agency is at fault, the agent should replace the tour but if this is be executed , a refund can be arranged according to the terms and conditions of the sale. If it is found out that the complaint is of no substance, explain why it is so.

  • Tour package

When the complain is received, the policy underlying the sale of the tour package must be studied and re-examined to detect if there was really an oversight or mistake done on part of the travel agency.

  • Tour itinerary

                  The original tour itinerary given to the tourist must be scrutinized to identify if the complain has substance. Look out for activities omitted or added and discrepancies in duration of tours.

2.3             Problem solving skills

2.3.1          Effective communication

This must be practiced when extracting information from the tourist about the complaint as well as in investigating the matter among personnel involved. In communicating, care must be taken on the following:

  • language
    • pitch and tone of voice
    • pauses and silence
    • body language
  • Probing technique

In investigating and extracting information from all parties involved, it is a must to be able to adhere to the following:

  • work accurately
    • listen and respond to customer
    • ask appropriate question

Execute tourist needs and complaints solution

3.1             Propose solution

After investigation and the cause of the complaint have been determined and the tour operator has owned up to the mistake or oversight, a solution must be proposed to the customer. This can be a physical tour or service which will address the issues in particular. If it cannot be executable due to unavoidable circumstances then the solution of last resort is always a refund. Solution must be agreed by all parties involved.

3.2             Negotiation skills

The personnel responsible in proposing the solution to the client must be able to practice some degree of negotiation skill as the client might reject the proposed solution and ask for an alternative which may be of much higher value than what it should be. This person should be armed with all the information and understands the circumstances concerning the complaint in order to understand what is important to the customer and the conditions fulfilling their needs and wants, to settle the issue.

3.3             Interpersonal skills

When interacting with people, it is important to practice some degree of interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills involve using skills such as active listening and tone of voice, they include delegation and leadership. It is how well you communicate with someone and how well you behave or carry yourself. This will help in avoiding a confrontational atmosphere with the client.

3.4             Tour agent’s Standard Operating Procedure

The following can be a general SOP:

  1. Listen carefully to the customer
  2. Apologise in general for any inconvenience experienced
  3. Let customer know that the issue is investigated and will be put right
  4. Try to see the problem from the customer point of view
  5. Keep calm and don’t argue with the customer
  6. Find a solution to the problem
  7. Agree the solution with the customer
  8. Make sure that what promise gets done


1.   Types of Complaining Customer by: Dermot Fitzpatrick

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