What’s the difference between an amazing tour guide that all of your guests rave about on social media and one that just gets the job done?
It turns out exceptional tour guides do things a little differently.
Lucky for you, they share some similar characteristics.
In this post, we’re looking at the top qualities that all exceptional tour guides possess, including:
An exceptional tour guide should be an expert on all the tours they are leading as well as the area where they live.
While you can train someone to know the basics, you can’t train someone to be naturally curious.
An exceptional tour guide will take initiative to dive deeper into subjects they are passionate about.
For example, if you run craft beer tours, an exceptional tour guide might be someone who brews their own beers at home for fun. Or maybe, they host a weekly podcast where they interview fellow home brewers.
While they should be knowledgeable about the tours they are leading, they should also be a people-person that is engaging.
After all, a tour guide should be entertaining, memorable, and put guests at ease, NOT simply a walking encyclopedia reciting interesting facts.
An expert tour guide will connect with everyone in the group and create a cohesive group experience. They also will be able to keep an eye on each person to make sure everyone is having a good time.
Pro Tip: Make sure they have a “high emotional intelligence,” so they are adept at picking up on subtle emotional and body language cues. This is doubly important if you have a lot of international guests.
Unlike teaching students in a classroom environment, people take guided tours to have a fun experience or learn something new in an entertaining way.
Tour guides who are naturally charismatic can quickly engage and build a genuine connection with participants to draw them into the tour. As a result, participants will feel more cared for and be more engaged throughout the experience.
Charismatic and charming people are warm, caring, and self-confident without being cocky. Some skills that help engage people are incorporating gestures, facial expressions, and voice inflections. They also help people feel like their questions and comments are being heard and valued.
Pro Tip: While some people are naturally charismatic, you can learn this skill. One strategy to strengthen this skill is to take public speaking classes to practice ways to engage people genuinely.
While being curious and charismatic can go a long way, an exceptional tour guide knows how to package information as stories.
As Dr. Brene Brown says, we’re wired for stories. It helps us connect with one another as well as impose order out of chaos.
Not to mention, an easy-to-follow narrative helps us retain information better.
This makes sense if you stop and think about it.
Let’s say you run an Italian food tour.
Would you rather hear about a bunch of seemingly unconnected facts about pasta?
Or, a story about how a famous person dined at the local restaurant that you are standing in right now, and the head chef named a now-famous pasta dish after them.
While the first example might help you win a Jeopardy tournament (RIP Alex Trebek), the story about the famous pasta dish is a lot more memorable and entertaining.
Passion and enthusiasm can go a long way.
Successful tour guides can maintain genuine enthusiasm and cheerfulness all the time.
This energy is contagious and can be the reason why that a guest loves an experience and decides to post about it online unprompted to 1000s of their followers.
Patience is a virtue.
Whether it is answering the same question over and over again or providing reassurance to a nervous guest, patience, and compassion can go a long way.
This creates an atmosphere that makes group participants feel safe and comfortable asking questions.
By screening for these qualities upfront, you increase the chances of bringing on amazing tour guides, which can improve the guest experience and lead to more bookings.
Pro Tip: Not a customer but interested in checking out Xola? Explore all of the features including guide management.