At Viator, we’re realists. We know that the tours we offer, no matter how varied or flexible, may not suit your exact needs every time. Even though we work hard to offer tours “for everyone,” we also understand that sometimes the nature of your group or the specific things you’d like to see and do are not available in one of our standard tour offerings, and for that reason we also offer Private Guides in many destinations around the world.
The Private Guide option — as you might expect — is a little more costly than the alternative, but it does have some advantages that justify the extra expense. First and foremost is your ability to customise the exact itinerary to meet your needs. Regular tours follow a schedule that’s designed to meet the needs of the average person, but if you’d like to linger a little longer in a particular museum, spend two hours instead of one at lunch, skip the shopping or take a snooze on the beach between attractions, you’re out of luck.
And that’s the appeal of the Private Tour Guide, who will correspond with you in advance of your arrival to plan an itinerary in detail. Sometimes our customers prefer no itinerary at all, instead deciding only on a starting point and letting their tour unfold as much by serendipity as by planning. Of course being with a guide who can steer you left — into the street with the best galleries, perhaps — instead of right — where the tacky souvenir shops are — helps a lot!
Viator’s Private Guide network have been recruited with a number of things in mind, most importantly high standards of service, consummate local knowledge and an understanding that they need to be flexible in their approach to each client. If you’ve ever been on a tour where the guide seems to be talking about numbers all the time (the building is this high, it was built in this year, the architect was this old, etc. etc.) you’ll know that being able to tell your guide the type of information you’d like to hear is a real plus. Some people like historical data, others like local gossip and intrigue, while others really do want all those numbers. Our Guides get it!
That need for flexibility is particularly true where your group consists of more than one generation: it’s a little unreasonable to expect a 12-year-old to be fascinated by the same sort of information that her grandparents are finding so intriguing. Private Guides are good at including everyone, tailoring their discussions and making sure that all the members of your group have fun, learn something new, and enjoy their day.
Rather than take only my word on this topic, here are a couple of reviews from recent customers, highlighting the reasons we think you’ll enjoy a Private Guide experience. This first review is for Vivie Pan in Beijing:
“Vivie was fantastic! She was very accommodating and flexible with our schedule. I live in China and my wife and youngest child, 17 months, came for a visit. We had Vivie for two full days and saw so many wonderful things. The best thing was how good Vivie was with our son. He was not handling the time change very well and was difficult to manage but Vivie helped out more than we could have ever asked. I highly recommend using Vivie.”
- Scott S. 19 Nov 2011
“Irene provided an excellent customized tour that’s rare to find. I’ve been on a tour in Bangkok before and requested that we see the things that were off the beaten trail, and Irene did not disappoint. The train village although touted in some travel shows, was pleasantly void of the usual large tourist crowds. She offers up the unique experience of taking a boat out to the ocean to check out the oysters and feed some wild monkeys, which offered up some of the most memorable moments on our trip!”
- Timothy H. 26 Feb 2010
Whether you opt for our standard tours or the flexibility of our Private Guide options, Viator wants you to have the best vacation experience possible. For more information on the Private Guide network, check out tourguides.viator.com.
- Rod Cuthbert