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6 Essential Skills of A Tour Guide

July 22, 2021

Tour operators live and die by the skill, passion and drive of their tour guides.


As the true backbone of any tour company, a tour guide brings the magic to your tours and keeps the customers coming back time and time again. However, it’s not a job that just anybody can do. It’s a demanding position that requires superb memory, incredible performance skills and great customer service.


Tour guide skills overview:

1. Communication
2. Energy
3. Dynamism
4. Memory
5. Humour
6. Professionalism


Find 10 of the world’s best tour guides HERE. 

Whilst it’s true that no two tours (or tour companies) are the same, there are some common traits which help tour guides really stand out.  There are six key skills of a tour guide that you should be carrying out on your tours:


1. Communication


It should go without saying that every tour guide worth their salt has excellent communication skills. A good tour guide is articulate, easy to understand, has the physical capabilities to command attention and project their voice across potentially large groups of people.
They should also be able to communicate one on one, answer questions with calm and remain approachable even when under pressure. It’s a big ask, but these qualities are what really determine how memorable your tours will be in the long run.


2. Energy


Ultimately, the success of your tours will come down to the energy levels of your tour guides. Tour guides need the ability to sustain a high level of energy throughout the working day, keeping guests interested and involved throughout the tour. Low energy levels affect everything from communication to customer care, so ensuring your guides have good energy levels is essentials. If you have low energy levels, then this will affect the energy levels of your customers.


3. Dynamism


Your tour guides are going to be faced with a huge variety of challenges as they go about their job. It’s more than just addressing crowds, but also answering individual questions, handing out advice, problem-solving and much more, all whilst attempting to hold the attention of your guests.
So to ensure your tours are the best, your tour guides should have a passion for the city/country which will really increase their love for the job – and the customers love for the tour! As such, dynamic characters are essential to the function of your tours.


4. Memory


As a tour operator, you know that you’re not just selling the sights and sounds of a location, you’re selling the whole package. That includes a breadth of knowledge about the area that most simply don’t have. Naturally then, your tour guides are expected to retain a huge amount of information and be able to recall it with absolute ease.
Ultimately, your tour guides should be able to know their script so well that it flows naturally, like a friend telling another a story, rather than somebody working their way through a script. That’s the kind of talent that only comes with a fantastic memory.


5. A sense of humour


Long after the facts begin to fade in your guests’ minds, the memory of the fun they had will remain, and the key to building those everlasting memories is humour. Your guests might be there for the history, but anyone can lose interest when the facts are presented in a dry and humourless way.

A little humour brings life to any tour, dramatically increases enjoyment levels and helps to relax your guests into their experience.


6. Professionalism


For all the adaptability demanded of a tour guide, professionalism must always be retained. Your tour guides will be dealing with crowds, high-pressure situations and customers from a variety of cultures. As such, retaining professionalism and courtesy is essential at all times. Guides who don’t do so, may rack up some complaints, lose control over groups and therefore won’t leave the customers wanting to come back.


With these six traits, your tour guides can provide engaging, informative and entertaining tours to your guests. However, getting those guests to sign up for your tours isn’t easy. That’s why our tour operator online booking platform is there to help you get customers signed up safely and quickly, allowing you to then manage your online bookings effectively. Good recruitment and better bookings? That’s the basis of a successful tour operator.


Tour guides in a post COVID world


With ever-changing public health guidelines, it’s almost certain you will have to change your approach to your business. This may prove more difficult in some instances than others, for example, if you’re running a small boat tour and social distancing may well be near impossible. Be conscious that some of your guests may be more nervous than others in social situations and always keep your guests’ comfort a top priority.


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