Most of us live and work in diverse environments with people from other countries and backgrounds. At times, it can be tricky to navigate around each other’s pre-conceived notions and deal with issues sensitive to other cultures. This is particularly relevant to Actxplorer, as we are the marketplace that connects people from across the globe and offers them a platform to interact. Therefore, it is important for us to provide and uphold high standards for the expectations and responsibilities of Hosts and facilitators. The following are our core essentials.
1. Create an authentic personal profile.
Explorers (Travellers) around the world only have your picture to reference and your profile to read. Creating an authentic personal profile will give them a sense of who you are and what you can offer. It is important to take a photo that reveals your full face and clearly represents you. As for your introduction, be open and honest about who you are and the knowledge, skills and passions that you desire to share with the world. Talk about the people in your community and what it’s like to live there, so that others can see your community through your eyes and get excited about visiting.
2. Ensure your listing has accurate details.
It is important that you provide accurate, concise and detailed descriptions of the events and activities you are offering. Elaborate on each step of the journey and use high quality photos that represent the journey, event and activity to give people a clear idea of what to expect. This enhances the comfort level of your guests, so they’re mentally prepared for the trip.
Be sure to select the correct category and theme for your listing. Highlight basics such as the mode of transportation and available amenities during the trip. Clarify what is and isn’t included in the tour, including things like transportation, meals, drinks, tools, utensils, gear, props, etc. Think through the entire journey, anticipate all possible questions or scenarios, and note them down. This will prepare the guests in advance and alleviate their concerns. For example, warn them of the mountainous winding road or the bumpy boat ride or the long walking paths that could be uncomfortable to some Explorers (travelers) who aren’t used to this sort of adventures. Any special attire or items required should also be noted in the listing.
3. Set a value-for-money price.
We understand that making a profit is an important part of your business. However, we want to emphasise that most Explorers (travelers) are very well informed these days – they know what they want, and they look for what will give them the most bang for their buck. What you have listed could be similar to what has been listed on our site or elsewhere, and Explorers (travelers) may chat with one another to evaluate and compare the value of your tour. Therefore, it's important to set a price that matches expectations. You can review prices of other listings on our site to set the right one for yours. Sometimes, it may be necessary to adjust your prices to match seasonal trends or give discount rates for first-time Explorers (travelers). In particular, this is recommended for first-time Hosts who have yet to receive reviews from Explorers (travelers). Do understand that it takes time to build up a portfolio of good reviews, and ultimately, it is your service reputation that will attract Explorers (travelers).
4. Offer prompt, helpful and polite responses to enquiries.
Expecting a quick response is the norm these days. To meet that expectation, our system is set up to send out auto alert to your signed up email whenever we receive any travelers’ enquires. In order to benefit from this service, we suggest that you set your smartphone to auto email alert notification mode. This will allow you to know when an enquiry comes in. While we understand that your data or wifi services could be occasionally interrupted, it is crucial to read your emails at least once a day so you can respond to enquiries within 24 hours. We expect all Hosts to keep to these three rules in all communications with potential Explorers (travelers).
- Promptness: All Hosts should respond to any enquiry (before and after the booking) within 24 hours. Be sure that you communicate within the Actxplorer platform. Do not give out your email or mobile number until the tour is confirmed and paid for.
- Helpfulness: Keep in mind that many Explorers (travelers) may not know your country, city, and local areas well. They will have questions beyond the tour mechanics, including topics such as the weather, road conditions and lodging options. Make sure you maintain a helpful attitude and respond to their questions as best as you can. Refrain from saying, ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I can’t do this’. If something’s genuinely out of your reach, suggest alternatives. This is one way to build trust with Explorers (travelers).
- Politeness: Always use courteous and respectful words, even in your greetings and sign offs. Once the trip is booked and paid for, you may exchange contacts with the Explorers (travelers) if he or she is willing. Some may not feel comfortable doing so, but pass them your contact information anyway, and give them clear instructions on the exact location, date and time of the pick-up. Also ask how you can help to make their arrival comfortable, and send a reminder 1-2 days before the start of the trip. If there are any last minute changes, you must inform us and the Explorers (travelers)as early as possible.
5. Regularly update the available dates on your booking calendar.
Explorers (travelers) review listings based on your committed available dates. Our portal allows you to schedule up to 3 months in advance, and you can select the option for an automatic repetition every 3 months. It is essential to review and update your schedule regularly. If you have made the mistake of overcommitting, please respond with an apology and suggest alternative dates. Meanwhile, update your calendar immediately to avoid further complications.
6. Be committed to bookings.
Explorers (travelers) expect your full commitment. Be aware that they may have other travel plans, which could be adversely affected if you make a cancellation. This could end up in a bad review for you. However, we also understand that there are circumstances beyond your control – when unexpected situations occur and you have to cancel a confirmed booking, please follow these guidelines:
a. Inform the Explorers (travelers) and Actxplorer immediately. This allows for ample time to make alternative arrangements. Use email and text to communicate this, and make sure the other party has gotten your message.
b. Be specific and describe the events that led to your cancelled booking. Be empathetic when you inform your guests, and do it with a kind, thoughtful tone.
c. Provide alternative dates or arrangements if you know of other available Hosts in your vicinity. Suggest similar areas, categories and themes for them to take a look at.
7. Set the right expectations.
Remember that the comfort level for each traveler varies when it comes to conditions such as weather, terrain, food, hygiene standards and so on. Describe the tour in detail, with lots of pictures to offer an overview of the experience, so Explorers (travelers) know exactly what to expect. Specify suitable attires, essentials and extras, and list all the amenities you offer, from restroom facilities to tools and utensils.
8. Write down and practice what you plan to say during the tour.
It is always good to pen down your thoughts, especially for trip that require you to explain about the area’s history, culture, food, street name, and the like. To explain things clearly, review and revise your script after each trip to include answers to unexpected questions posed by your guests. If the trip includes a hands-on experience that could get complicated, introduce the tools, utensils, materials or ingredients, and allow participants ample time to practice before the actual experience.
9. Be friendly and courteous when you meet guests.
Always have a friendly smile ready and get into the habit of creating a lively and enjoyable atmosphere for your guests. Do a round of introductions and explain your plans for the trip at the pick-up point, so as to make them feel comfortable. If you are adding something to the itinerary, don’t assume that everyone will welcome the change. Ask for feedback, even when it comes to tiny deviations such as taking a different route to avoid traffic congestion or pulling over at a pit stop for a short visit of a new site. Basically, do what you can to enhance mutual understanding and trust, and avoid any miscommunication.
10. Show your best side to make a lasting first impression.
First impressions are crucial – they help to build trust. Pay attention to your personal appearance. These are some guidelines to follow:
- Cleanliness is important. Do the basics like showering, shaving, and putting on makeup.
- If you have a problem of bad breath, use mouth wash and mint sugarless chewing gum. Some guests may feel uncomfortable about this.
- Dress according to occasion and activity. You can be business casual or sporty, but make sure you are always neat, clean and tidy.
- Always carry a small backpack stuffed with necessities like a jacket, hat, umbrella, first aid kit, water, maps and other personal items.
11. Maintain a high standard of hygiene and cleanliness for your amenities.
Provide a clean space for your guests, so they feel right at home. This is particularly important if the activity revolves around cooking or is related to food. Show them where the basic amenities are, and ensure that they are in good condition before your guests arrive.
12. Go beyond your call of duty – be sensitive to Explorer’s (traveler’s) needs.
Remember, it’s all about the experience. This starts from your point of engagement on our website and ends when your guests depart. So think about how to make it an enjoyable and unforgettable adventure. Besides impressing your guests with your knowledge and skills, be sensitive to their needs and anticipate any problems that could arise. Put them at ease and get to know them in a casual, friendly manner. Always be mindful of their comfort. It could be something simple, like offering a welcome drink, presenting a surprise gift or sharing your story with them. It’s the little things that count.
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