Section 1

People Looking To Hire a Guide:

 

Q.  Why should I hire a member of the Guides Association of New York City (GANYC)?

 

A.  When you hire a GANYC member, you are hiring a person who has been licensed by the City of New York’s Department of Consumer Affairs.  It is illegal to conduct a tour in NYC without a license. GANYC is always working with the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs to increase licensing enforcement!  But beyond that when you hire a GANYC member, you’re hiring a person who has agreed to adhere to a Code of Ethics and who, by being a member, is showing you that they are actively engaged in furthering their education.  You’re hiring someone who has the support of his or her fellow members which creates access to an amazing depth of knowledge.

      Our members work in all the various aspects of the tourism industry including step-on guide, tour manager, language interpreter, lecturer, airport and pier ‘meet and greets’ and maintaining hospitality desks.

 

Q.  What is the Guide’s Association of New York City (GANYC)?

 

A.  Founded in 1974, GANYC is one of the oldest guide’s associations in the United States.  We are a non-profit organization providing ongoing education to our members in the vast and ever changing City of New York.  Through the efforts of our Board of Directors, Committees and individual members we arrange field trips, secure speakers and locations for our meetings and work with the city government and agencies to solve problems and help bring to light the needs of the tourism industry in New York.

 

Q.  How much does it cost to hire a GANYC member?

A.  GANYC is a fraternal organization consisting of independent contractors.  We cannot and do not ‘set prices’.  Strictly as a guideline, a 4 hour tour (the minimum charge for most members) will cost between $175 and $250, with each additional hour costing between $25 to $50.  These figures are only a guideline; each member sets his or her own fees.  Specialty and multi-lingual tours are frequently higher.  Be extremely cautious of anyone quoting prices that are significantly lower!  The surest way to ‘kill’ a tour is to hire a ‘cheap’ guide. If you're quoted prices much lower than this, you should proceed with caution.  Never forget that the tour guide is a vital part of your visit to our city, and, is the best ‘bang for your tourism buck’.  For what it would cost to get just a few members of your group ‘good seats’ to a Broadway show (lasting about 3 hours) you could hire a GANYC member for the an entire busload of people, for 8 hours!  Of course, we love Broadway - you should see a show – but don’t miss out on the ‘show’ taking place everyday on the streets of New York that your GANYC member will really help you to understand, appreciate and enjoy.

 

Q.  Are gratuities customary?

 

A.  Yes.  A tour guide is providing a service and is accustomed to receiving a gratuity.  Speak to the member you're hiring and he or she will be happy to discuss this with you.

 

Q.  How do I know which member to hire?

 

A.  Our website is designed to provide you with information on our various members.  Take some time and peruse the site.  Our 'Find a Guide' section will help you narrow down your search, matching your needs to our member's strengths.  You can also look at the member’s personal page which will give you an idea of that person’s specialties. 
      If you know the day and time you'd like a guide simply go to the 'Post a Job' section and request available guides, who can fulfill your needs, to contact you by email or phone.  
 

Q.  Will a GANYC member plan the itinerary, hire other guides, book restaurants, hotels and secure theater tickets for us?

 

A.  Different members offer different levels of service, frequently listed on their personal page.  Some members will get involved in the tourism related functions mentioned above, while other members are only interested in conducting a tour.  While our members will be happy to discuss the possibilities available to you in regards to your time and budget, as in any profession, you should not expect a member to perform detailed consultation or itinerary work without compensation. 

 

Q.  What’s the busiest time in New York City?

 

A.  From March to the end of June is, for most members, the busiest season.  The spring is closely followed by the fall/holiday season which runs from September until New Years Day.  While January and February are the ‘quietest’ months, if you dress properly and plan accordingly, it is a fantastic time to come.  Especially on weekdays when theater tickets are easier to come by and museums are less crowded.  (But please don’t tell anyone – that’s our time see the shows, go to the museums and relax!)

      Also, if you’re flexible with your time, you stand a much better chance at getting a GANYC member, even in the busy season.  For example, in the spring and fall, there are many groups doing the basic ‘4 hour/9 AM -1 PM’ tour, so if you schedule an afternoon or evening tour, you’re more likely to be able to ‘snag’ a great GANYC guide.
 

Trip Tips

 

Regarding Motorcoaches:

 

Motorcoaches are very expensive to hire, so ‘do your homework’

and be sure you’ll be getting your money’s worth!

  1. Make sure there is a seat available for the tour guide in the front row.  Some guides prefer the ‘door side’ while others prefer the driver’s side, so be flexible.
  2. Make sure that the motorcoach has a working microphone and speaker system and that the microphone’s wire reaches comfortably to the guide’s seat.
  3. Check the temperature control system before leaving.
  4. The driver is an essential ingredient to a successful trip.  Insist on a patient and professional driver.  Also, at almost every meal stop in Manhattan the driver must stay with the vehicle, so be sure he or she has access to food.
  5. ‘Hand-held’ cellphone use while driving is illegal in New York City - and dangerous.  While the driver should have a cellphone, he or she should also have a ‘hands-free’ device if they’re going to use it while driving.  (The vast majority of tours in NYC will be stopping every 40-60 minutes, so barring ‘life and death’ emergency, everyone – including the driver - should wait until the next stop to use their phone!)
  6. ‘Right on red’ is illegal in NYC, unless posted.
  7. Federal law limits the number of hours a driver can drive, so keep this in mind while planning your itinerary.

 

Regarding Student Tours:        

         

1.            The #1 ‘killer’ of student’s trips is lack of sleep!  While we’re all aware of the ‘magical energy’ that fills the students when they arrive at a hotel, the simple fact of travel is: more sleep =  more energy + more enthusiasm + more enjoyment, less sleep = less energy + less attentiveness + less enjoyment.  Is your group going to ruin the trip they’ve  really been looking forward to simply due to a lack of sleep?

2.            There should be a student to chaperone ratio of 4:1 to 8:1 depending on the age and maturity level.

3.            While chaperones should enjoy their trip, they are there to facilitate a successful trip for the students.

4.            On multi-bus trips, the chaperones and their students should be on the same bus.  It is inadvisable, and sometimes virtually impossible, to ‘keep the buses together’, especially during a sightseeing tour.  So it is important that each bus be an ‘independent unit’ with chaperones, students, money, tickets, medication and anything else that bus will need to do the activities of the day.

5.            After every stop a head-count is taken.  This can take 20 seconds if the chaperones and students work together, or it can take 20 minutes if you are not organized.  Inefficiency can greatly detract from the time your group should be spending enjoying themselves!
6.      Some school groups staying in New Jersey want to go back to the hotel between their day of sightseeing and their Broadway show that evening.  In general, this is not good idea.  The traffic between New York and New Jersey can be terrible and you run the risk of being late for the show.  Unless you're attending an Opening Night, casual dress is perfectly acceptable for the theater.

7.              Make sure the students are aware of ‘theater etiquette’ when attending a Broadway show.  Photo’s, even before the show or during intermission are strictly prohibited!  All cellphones should be off!  Remind them that everyone in the theater has paid handsomely to enjoy the show, so it is vital that their behavior does not detract from anyone else’s theater experience.

8.             As the shows ‘let out’, thousands of people fill Times Square.  Either pick a specific meeting spot outside the theater to gather, or have your students stay in their seats until the rest of the audience has left, and then leave as a group.  Most of the theaters are clustered between Broadway and Eight Avenue, it is usually wisest to drop and pick-up on Eight Avenue for those shows, as opposed to trying to get the bus down the congested side streets in front of the theater.

9.            And speaking of ‘theater etiquette’, during the sightseeing tour, such etiquette should be observed.  Cellphone, personal music or entertainment devices should not be used.  Chaperones should be dispersed throughout the coach and ‘problem combinations’ of students should be seated far from each other.  It is the guide’s duty to provide information to help the students enjoy the city, it is the chaperones duty to provide an atmosphere on the coach which is conducive to doing that.
10.             It is the wise teacher who ‘builds in’ to his or her lessons things that the students will see or do while in New York Topics including immigration, architecture, business, American history or geology - to name a few - can be included into your lessons.  An attraction question sheet, trip diary or required paper about their experiences is another good way to keep kids involved.