Sunday, 4 April 2010

Spring is coming. Get those cameras out!

Sorry, but it's been longer than 7 weeks and I really don't want to count how many.. Work never stops, so it's lucky that I enjoy it so much. Lately, I've had some wonderful clients who have been so generous with their time and willingness to put a review on Trip Advisor. (Hi Daniela, I hope your Night tour photos turned out well!!) I realise now what a big impact this site can have on Hairy Goat's success so I'm happy that clients are willing to put in a review. Spring and summer is looking like a huge improvement on the last 8 months, which has been a continual struggle. Enquiries are continually coming in from all over the world which is really exciting.

Recently, I joined Visit London which is the main tourist website for London, but it's an uphill struggle with this site. It gets 1.3 million hits every month, so you think it will have a positive effect.. But it doesn't make sense that only a few tours are listed under What's On/Tours, but this is only a page set up by the editors and what's listed there is only what takes their fancy at the time. So even if you search under that section for alternative tours, nothing else comes up as an option. And the rest of us that provide all types of tours are listed under Places to Go/Attractions.. Which unfortunately, is completely inadequate and inappropriate and you don't find out any of this out until you've handed over the family inheritance in fees. I'm certainly learning a lot about what works and what doesn't. I thought this Visit London would be like the Holy Grail of tourism info, but it's useless so far!

Anyway, enough of this whiny drivel.

The spring weather is here. London's temperature seems to have shot up and the usual pattern of rain every hour for 5 minutes, sunshine for the rest of the time and amazing cloud formations has arrived. So don't let the thought of rain deter you, it doesn't last long and there are photography benefits to puddles and umbrellas.. honestly!

London is full of tourists at Easter, and all the locals have stayed away due to engineering works on so many of the train lines. Buses have been overflowing and I do wonder how London will cope with the Olympics.

My new brochures have been printed and on Tuesday I go back to handing them out at commuter train stations in the morning for a few hours. Over the winter months, I've had a break from doing this as it's far too cold to stand stationary on the street for longer than 5 minutes, or too wet. So it's back to getting up at the crack of dawn and having harrassed commuters looking at me like I'm lower than a gutter rat/ too old to be doing this/or just leave me alone.. Should be fun ;-) Actually, surprisingly it's not as bad as you expect as every few minutes someone stops to talk to me and is quite friendly which is really nice. Funnily enough, as soon as someone stops, everyone wants a brochure.. So, if you see me in the morning wearing a Hairy Goat fleece or jacket, giving out the brochures come and say hello.

I'm finding that quite a few people have now heard of Hairy Goat which is fantastic. When you go somewhere completely random, talking to strangers and in the course of conversation about what you do etc, someone says "I've heard of Hairy Goat" it's a real buzz. It would be a bigger buzz if they came on a tour asap, but at least I'm having an impact and people remember the name.

London Photography Mystery Tours now start from Bank tube station and lately I've been walking more of the back streets in this area investigating those little treasures which London has in abundance. So today has been a day of research and compiling information. I have so many reference books, but isn't the internet wonderful? Everything at your fingertips! It's such a treasure trove of information.

But it's been a long day, and tomorrow I have a bespoke tour to do.. So it's time to put my feet up, relax with a cold drink and think about something else besides the history of the Drapers Hall, the St Augustine Friars, the camels on the Merchant Taylors Hall, and the amalgamation of multiple banks over the centuries. That does make me sound boring, I know!

Catch up with you again soon..and I hope you all had a lovely Easter.