So you want to be an Incredible Guide – Or at least know what it takes to become one? Well, it’s a rigorous process. Only the strong may survive. But if you can pitch a tent, start a campfire, cook up some gourmet and delicious meals, drive a 20-passenger vehicle, know bits of history, geology, geography, viticulture and photography while exuding compassion, charisma, courage all with a smile on your face and a strong sense of adventure: you might just have what it takes!
Step One: Safety
The most crucial aspect of our training process is our focus on Safety. Once a permit is acquired we can begin driving practice. It is no easy feat learning how to reverse or cruise through the city in a transit van with a trailer properly hitched to the back. We focus on skills like J-Docking, Alley-Docking and Offside Parallel Parking to prepare them for their Commercial Driver’s License test that lies ahead.
However, before anyone steps into the vehicle and starts the ignition, a thorough Pre-Trip Inspection MUST occur. Required by law, every time our drivers approach one of our vans, they are to check tire pressure, fluid levels and suspension systems. They make sure that all the seatbelts buckle, turning-signals blink and brakes…. brake. Passengers boarding our vehicles can rest assured that our fleet has been well vetted.
Recently, Incredible Adventures became certified Smith System administers. This nationally recognized standardized safety training adds an extra stamp of security for our guests.
Step Two: Knowledge
Most of our guides come to us with a respectable amount of experience already! Whether they’ve previously guided cross-country, were born in the Bay Area, or are just Incredible world travelers, we love the diversity they each bring to our tours. We have a guide that lived and worked inside in Yosemite National Park, and another that rock-climbed back in the 70’s – some of the park’s greatest years of elite climbers. Some specialize in their knowledge of Indigenous People and others might as well be certified sommeliers.
To ensure consistency on our tours, we provide study material for *everyone* to learn Yosemite and Wine Country basics. We let them shadow our experienced guides and practice their guiding and narration a few times in front of their peers before the true test – their first group of eager passengers! From there, we let their personalities and creative storytelling techniques take it away to deliver an incredible product.
Our guides are also expected to value our green ethics and know what it takes to be green both on the road and back at the office. This includes recycling, composting and powering our vehicles with alternative biofuels. Ask your guide about what makes Incredible Adventures so proud to be San Francisco’s greenest tour provider!
Step Three: Hospitality and Fun!
In the end, even if you are safer than a risk manager and smarter than a neurologist, if you’re not a total people’s person, this line of duty may not be entirely for you. Tourists coming from all over the world come equipped with a diverse set of expectations, needs, sensitivities and aspirations! We train our guides on customer service to prepare them for almost any situation.
The intimacy our small-group tours provide require our guides to engage with and build camaraderie amongst our passengers. This means more flexible and customizable options as we go. We can stop at one photo stop or one winery over another depending on the group’s communicated wishes.
Incredible guides are exhilarated to lead hikes, recommend tastings and have a s’more around the campfire to involve, get to know and better serve their guests. It’s not all fun and games, but when you’re a tour guide, sometimes it’s just part of the job!
So if you thought we just hired a bunch of hooligans that got lucky with their GPS systems and Google searches – Think Again. Tour guides are all around rock&roll all-stars and we like to think we have hired and trained the most incredible of them all!
See for yourself and book a tour with us today! Experience anything from the mild to the wild and Find Yourself Anywhere.