Meet Mark King, chairman of the British Guild of Tourist Guides.
Few, if any, know more about London and its history than Mark King. As the Chairman of the British Guild of Tourist Guides, he oversees the management of an organisation representing the interest of over 2000 certified Blue Badge Guides, as well as making sure both visitors and residents are provided with the best possible tour experience.
According to King, who also is the author of «The Blue Badge Guide's London Quiz Book», the secret of a great guide lies not only in the extensive training needed to be a Blue Badge Guide, but just as important within their unique personalities.
– All Blue Badge Guides are «people’s people» with extraordinary communication skills. They meet the clients on their terms, and take them beyond their preconceived expectations – providing the guests with knowledge they didn’t even know they wanted prior to the tour. A skilled and talented guide can read people and knows in an instant how to cater to their needs. They will easily keep the interest of a 10-year-old girl asking all sorts of questions, while at the same time being able to connect with the children's parents and grandparents in a mature way.
Teaming up with LIVE, King is looking forward to sharing London’s unique melting pot with new clients, as well as expressing excitement about the technology and elegance that the LIVE app brings to the table.
– Partnering up with an app to convey guiding services is something we rarely do, but LIVE has a clear strategy and is able to reach the guest through technology and a design that is elegant, simple and tempting. In a time where technology is evolving in the speed of light and new online services are being created by the minute, the need for quality is the only thing that will hold water in the long run. The app works as a perfect curator between our service and our guests.
Combining LIVE’s modern platform with the expertise provided by the members of the Guild, the partnership opens for new and exciting possibilities.
– What sums up LIVE for me, is its cleverly made name. First, it describes what you get out of the app – live and authentic experiences. Second of all, by using LIVE, you are reminded that the most important thing in this world is to travel and live your best life. These two meanings spun out of the same word is in short terms everything LIVE is. I am thrilled to be partnering up with LIVE International, because they have in an extraordinary way managed to simplify technological elegance, in addition to capturing the essence of our line of profession and convey this through simplified high-end technology.
Within a business who relies heavily on the rebooking of prior clients, as well as recommendations to their friends, LIVE will be an essential tool when it comes to establishing a personal yet professional relationship with the customers.
For King, this aligns perfectly with his custom-made tours, spanning from classic attractions like Tower of London and Buckingham Palace to newer attractions that include stunning views from additions to London's architectural skyline. He’s also the man to see about TV and film locations ranging from Harry Potter to James Bond, while at the same time providing several tours relating to World War One – including a walk along on the central Zeppelin raid routes, and a fascinating visit to the WW1 galleries in the Imperial War Museum.
Born and raised in London, guiding in his hometown has become a lot more than just a job for King throughout the past decade. Showing people around London is almost like inviting them into his own home – sharing a place he’s very proud of.
– London is an incredible beacon. A modern multi-cultural city operating as a melting pot where people from various backgrounds come together. I often say that if New York is The Big Apple, then London is The Big Onion. Why, you may ask? Because London has so many layers and you have to peel them off, one by one.
While often experiencing visitors who have preconceived assumptions about a tour or a place, King uses his knowledge to help them see things in a new way – providing an even greater aspect to his tours.