7 Skills That All Great Tour Guides Possess

Jessica Malnik
Jessica Malnik
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7 Skills That All Great Tour Guides Possess

When your business is growing, the thought of hiring, vetting, and managing tour guides can be daunting. 

In an earlier post, we wrote about the key qualities that exceptional tour guides possess.

Having a defined system and processes for what to look for can make the process of hiring tour guides a lot smoother. 

In this post, we’re sharing the skills you should look for when hiring and vetting tour guides, including:  

1. Strong communicators 

People book tours to have a fun experience and learn something new, not to attend a boring lecture.

An expert tour guide knows how to balance providing quality information with listening to the group. It’s about nurturing conversations and having two-way communication. 

Tour guides must be able to provide information in a way that everyone in the group can understand. They need to project their voices, speak clearly, and be willing to repeat information as needed. 

2. Empathetic 

Being able to engage different personality types and navigate group dynamics is an essential and often underrated skill.

A quality tour guide can read the group’s dynamics and find ways to connect them, so everyone has a great experience. 

They also understand how to ensure that everyone in the group feels heard without one person or subgroup dominating the experience or the tour guide’s attention. 

3. Fast learners 

Guests want quality information, including details that they can’t easily learn from a 30-second Google search. While they shouldn’t come across robotic or stuff, they should be passionate about the subject and spend time learning interesting details beyond basic facts.  

Better yet – They can share these facts through engaging stories that offer insights and draw people in, bringing the content to life. 

4. Quick on their feet 

Tour guides that can quickly assess the group’s interests and needs and tailor the tour to meet those expectations will be more successful than tour guides who stick to a script. 

They should be able to improvise when needed and respond readily to unexpected questions and situations no matter what happens.

5. Professional 

Are they punctual and reliable?

Will they represent your company in a good light?

Do they act with integrity? 

A tour guide isn’t just leading a group. They are also on the front lines of your company, and what they say and do are a direct representation of your brand? 

For example, if they show up to work 20 minutes late. This makes your brand look bad, especially if it forces someone else to do their job or it has guests waiting around.

The same goes for how they manage their schedule with guests. Does the experience they lead feel organized but not rushed? Can they improvise when needed? 

6. Problem solvers  

Things happen. Can the tour guide not only stay calm and think on their feet but do they take the initiative for solving the problem at hand? 

After all, they may not have the luxury to call a manager or consult a fellow guide at that moment. They need to address and solve unexpected issues independently while maintaining the trust and safety of the group.

7. A positive attitude 

You can teach a tour guide some interesting facts or have them memorize key talking points. 

However, it is nearly impossible to teach someone to have a great attitude or to take pride in their work. 

You want someone who will take initiative to do more than the bare minimum as well as go above and beyond for guests. 


In sum, great tour guides create memorable experiences for everyone on the tour or experience. They are knowledgeable, engaging, have a can-do attitude, and someone that others enjoy being around. 

Great tour guides enjoy what they are doing and are passionate about the topics they discuss.

Pro Tip: Not a customer but interested in checking out Xola? Explore all of the features including guide management. 

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Writer Jessica Malnik

Jessica Malnik

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