Introducing GANYC guide: Michael Dillinger!
Company: Dillinger's New York
Social Media: Facebook
How long have you been a tour guide?
9 and 1/2 years.
What time of year would you consider your busy season?
My year is fairly busy all the time. Jan. and Feb. are the slowest but I can still manage to get about 2-3 days a week even then. I'm very lucky in that I try to diversify and work for companies as well as for myself.
Have you or your company been featured in print, broadcast or online media?
Yes. There was an article in Huffington Post on one of my tours.
The Right Way to Tour NYC’s 9/11 Memorial
What drove you to become a tour guide?
It really was an accident of sorts. My late partner had a catering/party planning company and there was prospective client looking to have a small (40 person) wedding in NYC and wanted something unique. I hatched the idea that we could rent a vehicle and do a custom tour built around the couples story. How and where they met, important places in there relationship, that kind of thing. I then heard that we'd need a guide license so I went down and took the test. Got the license but the client passed. So I just started looking around to see if I could make a little extra money. Thanks to some luck with Tripadvisor reviews for a tour I was doing with one company, I was quickly able to build into a full time career.
What types of tours do you offer?
Private tours are done on foot and utilize the subway system to get from on neighborhood to the other. I also do harbor tours on New York Water Taxi, step on work and work as a Tour Director for over the road student tours.
What is the most gratifying part of your work?
Seeing my home town through new eyes. Every day I get to experience the city fresh. And I get to share with people from all over the world places they have dreamed of seeing. For many a trip to NYC is the chance of a lifetime and it's such an honor to help them experience it.
How long have you been a member of GANYC?
How did you hear or learn about GANYC?
Early on I looked up professional guide organizations in NYC and GANYC came up.
How has GANYC helped you and your business?
I knew very little about guiding or how the business worked when I started. Kind of fell into guiding by accident. Meeting colleagues and hearing about different companies and jobs was a big help. So were the FAM tours and education opportunities. And having gotten to know some members early on led to work because they could recommend me for a job. It's been one of the best ways to build a professional network.
What's your advice or Tour Guide tip you love to share to people visiting New York?
I love to help them really experience NYC. I teach them how to use the subway. If you really want to know NYC, you have to ride the subway.
(For more info or to book a tour with Michael, check out his GANYC profile by clicking here.)