How to be a good tour guide
Over last two and half years we have had a privilege of working with more than 300 tour guides and experience providers. We have attended countless number of tours and have learned couple of things that distinguish an amazing tour guide from the crowd. So, what does it mean to be a tour guide that guests will never forget about?
It is not only about knowledge
Being a tour guide does not necessarily mean being a historian 100%, but rather includes elements of being an entertainer. You definitely shall know the history and stories of the city you are representing; however, you should also be able to deliver it in an engaging and entertaining way. Remember the guests are here to have fun and explore, not being lectured.
Know what you are talking about
As already mentioned it is essential to know the history and the stories of the city you are representing in any tour you do. You may also be going beyond a general history tour and focusing on a specific interest, such as ghost and paranormal tour, running tour, art tour, architecture tour, a music tour and etc. In this case, make sure you hold deeper understanding and knowledge about the topic and have necessary credentials. If you are doing an art tour make sure you have a broader knowledge of art in general and you can relate it back to the history, city and culture.
Be prepared and spontaneous
Not all tours will go smoothly, be prepared. If you are doing an activity based tour, make sure to take a first aid pack with you and essential maintenance tools just in case. Always have a headache pill with you and a bottle of water in case your guests feel a bit down. If your guests show up late, if there are sudden changes in the tour route be prepared to adapt.
Have all necessary licenses
Depending on the city, you may require a license to be a tour guide. If you are planning on becoming a driver guide make sure you have the correct license as well. For any kind of activity make sure you have licenses and necessary insurance covers, which are more prominent for high-risk activities such as cycling tour, mountain hiking and etc.
As every entertainer of the public, you need to have your style and tweak. However, it shall not be forced, thus be natural and comfortable as you are. The guests’ feedback will help you to find your path over time.
You are a professional and you should act within the interests of your business. You should make sure your cancellation policies; invoice terms and other principals are set and on the place. This will save you from potential inconsistencies and your services will be much more valuable. However, you will need to have room for flexibility. If a customer got sick, got into an accident, have got cancelled flight or had to cancel/postpone the tour for uncontrollable reasons, be understanding. They are already having a tough day and stressing a guest further will not help the situation. Try to find a way which does not harm you but also works for the guest.
Never stop improving
Remember the history is being written as you live and your city is changing constantly. Make sure you get your information and knowledge up to date while building your stories. It is also important to get more information about the world events and history where you can relate the information you give to the guest. Developing yourself is not only the matter of knowledge. Attend networking events and connect with other guides. You may need to redirect your guests to other guides and likewise get customers from other guides. Make sure you stay ahead of the industry news, be aware of upcoming big events in the city to plan the demand and promotions.
Learn the marketing
You may love guiding and telling you stories, however, you need to find customers to tell your stories to. You can use Social Media Channels, talk directly to hotels and TMCs in your city. Fortunately, there are many platforms distributing your tours and experiences through different channels for your in return for transaction cuts (generally between 15–25% per booking). Some big platforms are TripAdvisor Viator, Airbnb Experiences, Local Experts Expedia, GetYourGuide and Klook. If you are looking to reach higher-end guests and according travel businesses, we would love to talk to you about GetGuided. Drop us a line at email@example.com and let us connect you with the large database of our partners and buyers.