Guides Consorting w/ Clients

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Guides Consorting w/ Clients

Postby AdamfromCanada » Fri Dec 09, 2011 7:03 pm

Reading the post about the unfortunate incident a traveller had on her trip with an aggressive guide, it occurs to me that it's a interesting question as to whether a tour company should frown upon guides hooking up with the people on their tours. I'm certain it happens frequently, and I'm sure various companies have differing policies regarding it. I have three stories related to this:

1) On a tour with a different company, on the last night of the tour a female traveller was approached by the guide who apparently didn't read the signals right...he tried to kiss her, and got rejected. The girl wasn't overly upset, but it was unexpected and she wasn't thrilled with it.

2) I completed a GAP tour and a couple friends continued on the next leg with a new guide. One of the girls that joined the tour hooked up with the guide a 3-4 days in to the two week trip, and the guide ignored her the rest of the tour. It was apparently a source of considerable awkwardness.

3) Travelling Ireland by myself I hung out with a guy who acted as a tour guide there. He told me he'd hooked up with many, many girls on his tours because they all liked the idea of a local guy, who was in command, who knew a lot about the country. He'd worked with a couple companies...one where he could consort with the guests and the other where they required some more chaste behaviour. Said when working for the latter, guides would usually just target girls in one of the other tours groups which stopped most of the same places.

As anyone who's been on a tour knows, group chemistry is a delicate thing, and I can see how there would be the potential for some serious issues if there were a hook-up on a trip, but that could also be true with hook-ups between tour mates...That said, I think I would prefer that the guides on tours I'm on maintain relationships on a professional level as much as possible, if only to avoid awkwardness and the potential of being seen to be playing favourites.
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Re: Guides Consorting w/ Clients

Postby Zuleika » Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:05 am

I think that the guide would and/or should exercise extreme caution if hooking up with a customer. If not careful it can completely alter the dynamics of the group not always for the better and I would also imagine this would affect his/her tip from the other customers at the end of the trip too.

That said, under normal circumstance a large percentage of people meet their partners within the work environment, so why are tour leaders any different - these people are only human and we all require some (close!) human contact and comfort. I now know of two tour guides who met their future partners who were clients on their tours, one who has now been happily married for several years now and are leading groups together with his wife and the other has been together for a couple of years and are about to get married, she gave up leading to be with him and they are very happy.

If it were to happen on one of my tours, it was consensual, and they were very very discreet and it didn't affect the group dynamic too much then I wouldn't mind.
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Re: Guides Consorting w/ Clients

Postby sarahfromaustralia » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:37 am

Adam has shared some unfortunate examples relating to guides consorting with clients however I do believe that if it is done with respect and common sense it should not be an issue. If both parties have respect for one another, they both consent and it is discreet (so not to upset the rest of the group) and it does not affect the guide’s job what is the issue? Zuleika makes an excellent point when they wrote “under normal circumstance a large percentage of people meet their partners within the work environment, so why are tour leaders any different”. I am a travel agent and my current manager met his girlfriend on a work trip where she was the guide, and my previous manager is happily married with two children and her husband was a client of the store. I have been on many work and personal holidays over the years where the guide has consorted with a client, however it did not affect the guide’s job at all, they were amazing and professional and they only reason I know is because I was friends with the client in question. In saying that I have been on a tour where it obviously happened and was regretted and it was very uncomfortable (but this was only once). Guides work very very hard and long hours often in difficult conditions (depending on season and country), they are away from family and friends. If they meet someone they genuinely like – what is the issue? Again, it comes down to common sense, respect (from both the guide and the client. The guide must remember he is at work and the client must remember this too and not share details with the group), consent and being discreet. Not an issue at all in my mind.
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Re: Guides Consorting w/ Clients

Postby sarahfromaustralia » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:41 am

I just realised I have referred to the guide as a he, when I meant to write he/she. Obviously both male and female guides consort with clients. I was not making a generalisation.
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Re: Guides Consorting w/ Clients

Postby AdamfromCanada » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:26 pm

sarahfromaustralia wrote:Adam has shared some unfortunate examples relating to guides consorting with clients however I do believe that if it is done with respect and common sense it should not be an issue. If both parties have respect for one another, they both consent and it is discreet (so not to upset the rest of the group) and it does not affect the guide’s job what is the issue? Zuleika makes an excellent point when they wrote “under normal circumstance a large percentage of people meet their partners within the work environment, so why are tour leaders any different”. I am a travel agent and my current manager met his girlfriend on a work trip where she was the guide, and my previous manager is happily married with two children and her husband was a client of the store. I have been on many work and personal holidays over the years where the guide has consorted with a client, however it did not affect the guide’s job at all, they were amazing and professional and they only reason I know is because I was friends with the client in question. In saying that I have been on a tour where it obviously happened and was regretted and it was very uncomfortable (but this was only once). Guides work very very hard and long hours often in difficult conditions (depending on season and country), they are away from family and friends. If they meet someone they genuinely like – what is the issue? Again, it comes down to common sense, respect (from both the guide and the client. The guide must remember he is at work and the client must remember this too and not share details with the group), consent and being discreet. Not an issue at all in my mind.


Here's the thing: Most of the time, vacation hook-ups aren't long-term relationships. Sometimes that happens, but for the most part, it's just a one-off. Guides are often people who aren't in one place for long, they're often young, and because of those things, they may not be as discreet or use a lot of common sense.

My Irish friend was a great example. He's a smart guy, charming, and likeable, but it was too easy for him to find travellers looking for vacation flings, and he was happy to oblige. And then on the next tour, he'd have his pick again.

I think there's probably more situations where even if the two parties involved have no qualms about what happened, it has affected the group negatively than situations like you mention where people end up happily married. I'd say the majority of the time, these are not relationship starters, but just sex along the road, and that can cause all sorts of problems.

I think that it would be wise for a tour company such as G Adventures to frown upon guides sleeping with tourists. It will still happen now and then, but if the stated policy is that its against the rules, I think that will encourage further discretion if nothing else.
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