I've just been back to Angkor for another visit this week. Loved it ...as always. And part of why I enjoy my trips there is the tour guides and the drivers I usually book.
This time I noticed that many people keep booking these guys through the Internet, facebook, sms or other means and I saw how happy my driver was when he got a booking for the next morning by two ladies. Message just said "can you pick up up at our hotel xxx at 5:30 am...thanks xxx and xxx" .
My driver said that the two where referred to him by other friends through his facebook and he was happy that more business came through since it was still low season. These guys don't make much money. They work for as little as 2$ per day for driving tourists around. Not a lot to make a living.
So sure thing, he went to the hotel at 5:30 am and ...there was no tourists waiting for him. Not only did he get up at 4am to drive to the hotel, he also spend his money for washing the car and used up his gasoline to get there. And then no income because he also told other potential clients that he was booked.
That is a common pattern with these tourists at Angkor Wat. They ask for prices, book a diver or guide verbally and then meet another person who does it for less. Or, as it also happened a lot, the tourists change their mind, don't want to get up, sleep in etc etc and not show up.
Another problem I do encounter a lot is that friends or strangers through my web sites, ask me for pricing information of my tour guide along with their contact details. They do inquire with him, but not really being specific about the day, how long of a tour they want and where they will be staying. So, the tour guides block their day for them and again, they do never contact them when in Angkor. There are 3000 tour guides and 4000 tuk tuk's (if I got the number right) in Siem Reap alone, so naturally there is a lot to chose from. But it does leave a really bad impression and personal disappointment when we do not honour our commitments as tourists.
The personal interaction and relationship with my guides and drivers all over Asia has really paid off over time. I do get to see things which other tourists do not get to experience and I do get a view of SE Asia which is very rewarding. So, loyalty and honesty pay off!!