How to be a good tour guide;

Carmen & Marijin

For one to be a good tour guide, you should first understand the value of your job, and the meaning of your job as a tour guide. This will always help you serve the tourism industry

Tour guides have play a very big role on serving our tourism industry all over the world. They are considered the heroes of their respective guiding locations. A tour guide is known for having more information that is shared to clients. Therefore, a tour guide is known for having a lot of information being that they are responsible for guiding tourists, you cannot be called a tour guide without having information, the time you get up without any knowledge, then you are already a client as well.

Here are the tips on how to be a good tour guide.

1. Face the crowd well, not what you’re talking about. Tour guides normally get so wrapped up in their subject they actually forget to face the people they are talking to or guiding. One secret to avoid this is to “deputize” somebody in the crowd to interrupt you if they can’t hear you.

2. Be personal. No matter how much we love buildings, it’s a fact that people connect with people. So it’s good to have a few personal anecdotes ready, even if they’re just about past tours you’ve done. You’ll build a more personal connection to your group and create a memorable tour.

3. Tell a story (historical or contemporary). Make sure you have a few fun and compelling stories to tell about the buildings and sites you’re looking at. People are more likely to feel engaged when they are listening to a story, rather than a list of dates and names.

4. Get moving right away. Tours often get bogged down before they ever begin with tour guides doing the “big wind-up”―introductions, setting the theme, providing context, etc. Plan to scrap 90% of it.

5. Don’t worry about being perfect. People don’t expect you to be perfect. Set the stage for human imperfection by acknowledging that people who may know more than you should speak up and share their knowledge with the group. The more interactive the tour is, the better!

6. Get help to get organized. Try to get a volunteer to check people in so you can chat with tour goers. People give tours for many reasons, but a big one is to meet new people, and the time before the tour is a great chance to get to know your group.

7. End on time. (Or try very hard to.) Try like crazy to end on time. Nobody wants to feel like they are in tour jail. Tours on paper always seem too short and on the ground are always too long. Two hours is the absolute maximum. An hour to an hour and a half is better.

8. Limit your number of speakers. It’s hard to talk for just five minutes, so when you have multiple guides talking about different subject areas, it’s easy to lose track of time. Avoid it if you can, but, if you do have several different guides with you, designate one as the lead guide and the others as experts in a specific area.

9. Send a follow-up email. Follow up with an email―it can be as simple as a “thank you” note. If you can follow the tour with another contact, by email or otherwise, that’s another step towards creating a better link between the tour taker and your organization.

10. Avoid these traps:

  • “12 (or 20…) people on the tour is the max.” Rather, let the space and tour guide set the scene.
  • “You MUST plan everything out ahead of time.” In fact, a little spontaneity is good.
  • “Don’t do outdoor tours in the winter.” People will still come, even in the snow.
  • “Always have a backup plan in case it rains.” Don’t worry, people will come out in the rain, and it’s much easier than rescheduling.


What are the qualities of a good guide?  Based on my own experience, both as a guest on several tours and as a guide for over 20 years who has taken hundreds of guests around Italy, I’ve put together a list of the must-have traits of a good guide.

  • Patience
    Answering questions they’ve already answered multiple times will not bother a good guide. They will show both competence and enthusiasm, as if they are hearing that question for the first time.
  • Good with “Difficult People”
    Most times the problem is that “difficult people” don’t know they are difficult. Great guides know how to master the “beast” in the group. They deal with them and they keep the rest of the group safe from them.
  • Empathic – Can Feel the Room
    Their radar is always on to feel the room. They will put people at ease, reassuring them that they are in good hands and that they should try to have the best time possible.   
  • Good Sense of Humor
    A guide with a good sense of humor will increase the enjoyment of the tour and temper any tensions that may arise.
  • Energetic
    Long days, large groups, physical activity, and nearly daily crisis management require a great deal of energy, both mental and physical. Guides often have back-to-back tours and no days off.
  • Timely
    Punctuality is a must-have quality for tour guides. If a guide is not on time that makes for unhappy travelers and frustrated co-guides.
  • Organized
    If a tour guide is organized (and the tour is well-planned), the experience should feel seamless and effortless. Logistics should be nearly invisible to the eyes of the participants.

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