Tag Archives: tourguiding

Leisure communities of practice

Using leisure as knowledgebuilding

A practice is defined (Shove) as  ‘a process of integration resulting in a structured arrangement’. It results in a practice that exists for a while as a recognisable entity (Richards; Shove)

Within leisure and community of practice, all the basic elements are present to facilitate learning-environments. However inherent to the structure of international citytour companies and the way they function, also gives little affordance to co-learn, collaborative teaching and flow of knowledge through actual practice. The quality of staff is not always high enough to do it, although all the ingredients for successful knowledgebuilding are present.

Quote Greg Richards:

Most leisure practices also involve the development of particular skills, competences or knowledge. When we play sport we increase our level of skill, and this increases our desire to participate (what Scitovsky (1976) has termed ‘skilled consumption’).

Ofcourse, most activities in travel and leisure have a more or less fixed timescale and are modular. In travel, people share a space and place and move on, either into their ordinary lives or the next travel location.

Let guides learn from eachother, from experience, co-production and co-creation, and let them pass the knowledge on to eachother.

Knowledge creation takes place through practical interaction and informal learning, making it accessable to new and even temporary tourguides and several stronger local leadership-roles. They create “communities of practice.”

Why optimism guides your guiding

Optimists are attractive!

Your guides in the various European cities are valuable hubs of knowledge! They are usually popular- certainly withing pubcrawls and partytype groups and the have an optimistic quality about them.

In networks- both virtual and in real-life, optimism is seen as attractiveness. Further more, other people react to an attractive quality in a positive way. Optimists are usually more liked. Even the ones that don’t like him or her, will react in a positive way, as it is strategically unwise not to, as other perceive them with a positive outlook.

They have a high-degree centrality within their networks, which means they are the local connectors, the hubs; although perhaps not the best connector to the wider network.

Organisations like yours can be made to be perceived as entities, with structures, a face of faces, local presence and be laden with attractive traits. They can alternate in being extraverted and intraverted. That requires depth! Depth you cannot give if you are too transient in your local presence.

City PubCall – Calling the shots!

Why crawl the shots if you can call them?

City PubCall is a completely new way of creating & market pubcrawls, connecting travellers to the local!

Pubcrawls and stories of drinking: some tips for guides

More often than not, pubcrawls and stagparties have a very bad reputation indeed. Part of the problem in relation to pubcrawls, is the active participation of the pubcrawlguide in both the formation of the travelstory created and repeated by the tourist, as in his part of the tour-dramaturgy, leading up to- during the pubcrawl and the creation of the narrative afterwards.

Telling, retelling, living and reliving of stories, is closely linked to drinking.

  1. Make clear “chapters” within the tour, clearly marking each one with storytelling opportunities.
  2. Format the dramaturgy of the tour, leading up to the first location, in such a way that a sense of achievement is created, such as introducing a gaming element after having finished the first location. Make sure you assign a role to one or more pubcrawlers, giving him or her a higher status within the group.
  3. Make the story unique but with interexchangable elements, drawn from other “drinkingstories”, narrated by key-players within your pubcrawl group.
  4. The drinking itself is not seen as anything special. They turn into stories if they involve one or several acts of transgression, defined as the crossing of boundaries set by an authority or convention (Tutenges; Jenks, 2003).
  5. Pubcrawlers actively seek out structures and situations that give affordance to the forming of narratives; You can utilise this within the planning of your pubcrawl;
  6. Not every “chapter” within tbe tour-dramaturgy has to be clearly outlined. They can also be construed into a narrative by the actual turn of events.
  7. Try to pre-construe storylines by, for example, theming, making it easier for the participants to form a cause-and-effect relationship between the demarcation of locations and chapters.

For collecting and archiving stories and narratives:

Stories Matter

Several flashcard tools

Text transcription and annotation tools

Timeline creator

Mobile diary study

 timeline Experience Design for hostels and bed breakfast La Clappeye22

More tools

Read also:

Staging the tour-location for groups: Event-space and perception

Some reading for you

  • Briggs, D. (2016) ‘Risk and transgression on holiday: “new experiences” and the pied piper of excessive consumption’, .
  • Richards, G. (2016) ‘Power of youth travel 2016’, .
  • Tutenges, S. (2016) ‘Pub crawls at a Bulgarian Nightlife resort: A case study using crowd theory’, .
  • Tutenges, S. (2016) ‘Stirring up effervescence: An ethnographic study of youth at a nightlife resort’, .
  • Tutenges, S. (2016) ‘The influence of guides on alcohol consumption among young tourists at a nightlife resort’, .
  • Tutenges, S., Hesse, M. and sebastientutenges (2008) Patterns of binge drinking at an international Nightlife resort. Available at: https://alcalc.oxfordjournals.org/content/43/5/595 (Accessed: 15 March 2016

Staging the tour-location for groups: Event-space and perception

Staging the tour-location for groups: Event-space and perception

Free course excerpt

When staging a tour-location, we use several techniques, deriving from different research- and practice-areas. When staging a tour-location- regardless of the research and theoretical backgrounds used, always remember that you are part of the group, room and space aswell. If it doesn’t feel right to you, you might very well be right. The trick then, is to find out what exactly is “wrong” and what to do about it.

This lesson excerpt is free to download below!

The group versus the interior

You can pre-stage the location, to work in your advantage. Before you arrive with the group, make sure you have set everything up and discussed this with the pub owner.

Instead of asking the owners permission on several small actions, ask them if it’s alright to “set the location”. It prevents having to explain every detail. The theoretical part of this is abstract and not everyones cup of tea, so take your time.

Using some basics of Grouping in Gestalt, Ï will show some examples of use in practice.

Join the locals

How do the participants know who are locals and who aren’t? Most of them will want to meet locals and be part of them, for the duration of the tour and foreseeable period of time afterwards.

There are many semiotic features that define who is part of which group, how they comunicate with eachother and other groups. Meaning, inclusion, exclusion- basically all communication that we perceive and can process, is transfered by “language” both parties can understand and can communicate about on meta level, using the modalities they know but also the modalities they know, the other “party” will understand and and communicate about.
There is much, much, much more going on than that! There are forms of communication going, that not yet have means of both sending and receiving from one set to an other. There simply is no language to describe the unknown. This produces an alternative form of sending and receiving that is formed by proximity and the amount of events wherein different groups meet eachother within a certain space. This is called emergent effects, as opposed to stereotypical effects.

Using “similarity” and “closure” as metaphors, when arriving at the pub the “opening-scene” of the tour-location, can be made to invite the participants to join a setting that has an opening, just for them. An oval table with a few locals sitting on just one side of it, looks inviting to join (using “closure” as visual metaphor) and the tour-participants can easily feel welcomed by either the locals themselves or the familiarity of the tourguide with the locality itself. Use your position to link the physical local to the tour participants.

bar stoelen tafel op tour graphics
Open shape, but closed-off and uninviting, because of use of different materialities (wood, vs cushions), shape and grouping

In the bar-picture below, the “localness” is emphasised by the broken circle of locals on bar-stools. The broken space can be very inviting to join them but can also be potentially threatening. In this case, the empty space is used as service-space (vitrine), which would be less inviting for this particular purpose.

bar met citytour green

A table is a much more inviting environment for the tour participants to join the locals. Hospitality is conveyed and experienced through the righ modalities: texture, materiality of space, light, heat, brightness, scent, atmoshpere, a turntaking of reciprical behaviours, food and drink!

Sitting on one side of the table (staged by you as tour director), the other side seems welcoming and intices to join. Whatever you do, do not place a “reserved” sign on the table.

In the picture below, you see 2 examples. One of them is configured as “closed”, the other one is “open.”

tourlocation open en gesloten opstelling

Mediating objects

In other content (posts, blogs, lectures and articles) I have written about mediation, mediating qualities of objects and spaces. Make sure the participants recognise typically local objects or habits and behaviour typical for local or national life, without trying to be too spefic. It is better to let the participants weave threads together and arrive to conclusions themselves. It enriches the experience and gives them a sense of insight.

In the stillframe below, we see a drinking vessel, typical for Valencian culture. The tour participants are asked to engage in drinking from the vessel (there’s a trick to it; I’ve tried it), but later on in the evening. In this case the tour is very clearly about tapas and the guided consumption of it. People are less engaged with local culture in a participatory manner, but very much consume the experience.

The cityguide in this example is Suzy Anon y Garcia– a tourguide from Valencia I know personally and can recommend her to everyone! She’s a foodie if ever I met one and knows everything there is to know about food and Valencian food in particular!

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