Synotrip is a great site, and it makes it easy to find guides across all of China.
But, how is the best way to use the site?
For starters, here are some tips of how NOT to use the site:
don't send out emails to every single guide listed for the cities or areas you are visiting;
don't send out multiple emails and then never reply;
don't send out long emails requesting heaps of information, itineraries, suggestions, tips to lots of guides.
You might think this is a courtesy, but it pays to be more selective before sending out requests for guiding.
Why? You end up wasting your and the guides time.
So, instead, think about the places you want to visit, and then find guides for those areas or regions. And when you come up with a long list of potential guides, take the time to look at their profiles and their review to find out their experience, their language ability and their price.
And remember, just because a guide is cheaper, you might end up paying more in the long run, and you might also get a less enjoyable experience on your trip.
The costs for a guide in China are very low compared to other countries, meaning it is quite viable to use a guide to help you get to places and have a quality experience in a strange land.
But if you are fishing, and trying to find the lowest price, don't use the shotgun approach and fire off a million requests to Synotrip guides.
As a guide who gets quite a few clients through Synotrip, I am finding that some potential customers requests a great deal of information (some which requires many hours of research) and then you never hear from them again. Or when checking with other guides, we find that the same person have emailed every guide in the area, wanting full itineraries, etc.
That's not fair. Particularly if the person uses the information and trip itineraries from a number of guides (given freely) and then gets the cheapest guide to do that trip.
If you wish to use a guide's services, it is common now for the guide to be given a deposit, to their bank account or via a service such as PayPal, to secure their services.
So don't be a tyre-kicker, and don't use the goodwill of the many guides around China. And please, if a guide emails you, have the courtesy of emailing them back, if only to say that you have decided to go with someone else.