Last year I was reading a great article about Africa in one Croatian blog. I was so intrigued by the content that I had to get to know the author. A few Facebook messages later and I was chatting about life with Petra Fruk or the Restless girl.
On the first read, I knew Petra was not just a regular travel blogger.
Petra is an ordinary girl doing some extraordinary things. Besides being a travel blogger, Petra is a freelance tour guide. She combines these two loves and lives an adventurous life.
Let's hear what Petra says about being a travel blogger and a freelance tour guide.
Could you please tell us more about yourself? You have started as a travel blogger and ended up as a freelance tour guide, is that right?
My name is Petra. I'm a travel blogger, photographer and a freelance tour guide from Croatia. I'm also a dreamer, explorer, wanderer and total lunatic for traveling and photography. I am desperately in love with the world and the people in it!
Five years ago I quit my 8 to 5 job in the insurance industry and started to travel around the world. My story begins with just two things - my backpack and my camera. I had no fixed plans or any travel experience.
I “sailed away from the safe harbor”, quit my job and embraced a life of uncertainty to live my passions and dreams. It wasn’t easy. And it still isn’t. I don’t have a permanent job or any long-term plans. I don’t know when the next paycheck is coming. And it doesn’t matter anymore. I’m free and happy. Life is good! ☺
I first started working as a freelance tour guide, 5 years ago. Blogging came later, with all this traveling. After visiting more than 50 countries I started to write a blog. It is my space where I share stories and photos from my adventures around the world. Also, I wanted to inspire others to take the biggest adventure of their lives – to live the life of their dreams and explore our beautiful world no matter what!
What type of tours do you offer to your customers?
I'm a freelance tour guide. Means, I do everything! 🙂 Mostly I offer open group tours all over the world to my customers. Everybody can join us!
In your opinion, what is important for a successful tour?
Great organization, knowledge of the destination, and of course, an excellent tour guide! ☺
What obstacles and challenges have you been experiencing as a tour guide up to date?
As every business that depends on people as mine, it is difficult. You constantly need to work on yourself. Improve your skills and be up to date with the demands of the market... It's a very challenging job!
What type of content do you prefer reading to educate yourself about how to improve your guide skills? In your opinion, what skills should a tour guide have to get positive reviews from its customers?
Practice is the best education in this work. After a few groups, you will learn a lot about your clients and about yourself. You will know if that is the right job for you. How? Well, you'll know if you have the enormous patience. That is one of the most required skills a tour guide should have.
Excellent knowledge about the destination is a must! Also, you need to be a very positive, calm and kind person. As I said in one of the paragraphs above, you need to be very organized. Also, accurate and responsible. On the other hand, to engage with your customers, you have to be a bit funny, open minded and easy going... It's not easy to be a good tour guide! ☺
In your opinion, what is the role of social media in attracting new customers? Do you think tour operators should work with travel bloggers? What are the benefits?
The role of social media is huge! You can learn more about your customers. Engage with your audience, and extend your brand reach with social media. You can also find out what your competitors are doing. Social media helps you increase website traffic to your page.
I think tour operators should definitely work with travel bloggers! Why? Travel bloggers can help in many ways. For example, one way is to promote a particular tour or activity through their social media. That could result in generating more clients for that tour or activity.
How’s internet changing tour and activity business? How can tour and activity businesses take advantage of the internet to grow their businesses and increase bookings?
The whole world is one big global market because of the Internet. Today you can reach clients anywhere in the world, thus expand your market and increase sales of your tours and activities.
What are the benefits of using an online booking software for tours and activities? Have you ever tested any, which one?
I didn't have the opportunity to use an online booking software, yet. I hope I'll try Orioly soon! There are lots of benefits of using it. You can make your work more efficient, faster and better! I think online booking software makes life easier (not just business)! ☺
Any advice to share with other tour guides and providers about the tour and/or activity business?
Just listen to your customers. Listen to their wishes, demands, and suggestions. That is the best possible way to improve your business and to stay concurrent on the market!
And for tour guides, try to do your best with each new group/tour, with the biggest smile on your face and with an open heart. Guests will appreciate that for sure!
I am very thankful to Petra for this positive and inspirational interview.
Now, I would like to hear from you - Are there freelance tour guides amongst you? What are your biggest challenges of being a freelance tour guide?
Feel free to comment below and share this interview with your friends and colleagues.
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