More than a China Tour

By Guru On August 22, 2013 · Add Comment

Most of my readers are those who are planning on moving to China, or have already moved to Shanghai, Beijing, or another Chinese city and are looking for the best way to live their best life.

I recently helped a different type of client, the business traveler, who can also easily feel lost in China and is also very much in need of the Shanghai Guru.

Mindy Moore isn’t a new entrepreneur. She owned and operated a small advertising/public relations company for more than two decades before retiring in 2009. By 2012, she realized retirement was not for her and decided to create a product from scratch. On her own, she contacted factories around China, and formed relationships with a couple of them. After exchanging business philosophy, specifications and, later, samples, she was well on her way to having her product produced.

But, there was one thing missing. She wanted to visit China to see these factories with which shed been communicating. She wanted to sit down and hash out the details and take a tour around the production line to see the conditions of the workers. But also, she wanted to have her trip be a vacation as well. Mindy had not been to Asia since she was a child, and her husband, Tony, had not been at all.

This is where I enter the scene. Mindy purchased my pack of 5 consultation calls as a way to get to know me and get advice on her upcoming China trip. After a couple of calls, Mindy and Tony decided to hire me as their full-time tour guide, and I built a 6-day trip from the bottom up, using their goals, needs, and travel preferences, combined with my knowledge of Shanghai and the surrounding area.

Fast-forward one month and I am meeting Mindy and Tony in the lobby of the Hyatt on the Bund, one of the nicest hotels in Shanghai, and we are heading out for their first day in China.

Because I created the itinerary based wholly around Mindy and Tonys preferences, we started out by visiting a Shanghai Wal-Mart, where Tony is a manager in the U.S. After this, and a stroll around the South Bund Fabric Market to see if any suits or dresses peaked their interest, we headed out for a delicious, long lunch at Annamaya Vegetarian Restaurant, where we talked for a couple of hours and really got to know each other. This was only the beginning of their trip, but I could tell that it was going to be great.

During the trip, I was more than just a tour guide. I provided key services which made the trip extremely unique.

Once Mindy and Tony were in China, I covered 100% of all the costs. This means they never even had to go to an ATM and take out cash until the last day (they wanted to use their own money to buy some souvenirs). I booked the hotels outside of Shanghai, I bought the train tickets, paid for taxi rides, covered dinners, massages, trips to the convenience store, and even small gifts bought along the trip. This was a huge weight off their shoulders. They never had to worry about the availability of ATMs, daily bank withdrawal limits, or if an establishment would accept a foreign credit card. At the end of the trip, I presented Mindy with an itemized excel document and every single original receipt for purchases, and all she had to do was hand it over to her accountant. Trip expenses were estimated at the beginning and paid via PayPal, so at the end all that needed settled was a small remaining balance.
I provided an immersive educational experience. On a vacation, there will invariably be quite a bit of travel or wait time. In the train station, in a rented car, in taxis, etc. During this time, I was always chatting about China, their upcoming business meetings, and educating Mindy and Tony on what Ive learned from my four years in China. Instead of looking out the car window and being confused at what was taking place, they were learning about Chinas economy, urban/rural situation, and the lives of the Chinese people.