Tour Guide Characteristics: What Tour Operators Should Look For When Hiring

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Please raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like giving up on hiring your next tour guide. When you onboard new hires, you’re hit with the realisation that they’re just not a good fit, killing any sense of confidence you had about finding the best person for the job. It’s daunting enough finding a new hire – never mind going through the onboarding process all over again when it doesn’t work out.

Well, there’s good news: selecting your next tour guide doesn’t have to be that hard. With the right set of criteria at your disposal, you could easily find the best tour guide for your business, all without the hassle that comes with having it not work out.

Tour operators, read this blog post so you’ll know exactly what to look for in your perfect tour guide.

Characteristic #1 – Acts Professionally

Punctual

A good tour guide needs to have a strong grasp of time. They shouldn’t make customers wait for them, and they should end the tour on time.

How punctual are they when it comes to their appointments with you during the interview process? This is a good indicator of how they will be when running your tours.

The speed with which they speak and move the tour along should also be just right – it can’t be too fast or too slow. You don’t want your customers to get bored or feel rushed through certain parts of the tour.

Organised

Besides dressing themselves well, this involves setting expectations prior to the tour – informing customers of location, time, and length of tour, what they need to bring, and any rules or special considerations (if your online booking system doesn’t automate this for you). Your tour guide needs to be able to run through the structure for each tour in advance.

Sensitive to group needs

Your perfect guide will be attentive and respectful to everyone in the group, making sure that everyone can see and hear well. Do they have a relaxed manner, speaking clearly and with confidence? Can they make sure that everyone is as safe and comfortable as possible?

Prepared for medical emergencies

Unexpected situations can crop up where medical assistance is needed. Every guide should know First Aid and carry the appropriate equipment. Can your candidate attend to the injured using this equipment?

Characteristic #2 – Is Knowledgeable

Accurate

Your guide must be able to recite facts from memory and be clear on delivering them. Facts have to be accurate – otherwise, they should be able to say they aren’t sure and get back to the customer asking.

Multilingual

At the very least, tour guides must have a conversational grasp of commonly encountered languages. This knowledge becomes extremely useful if someone has an emergency.

Knows audience

A good tour guide will take the initiative to learn about customers on the tour, then include universally relevant information to tailor the examples they use to make it more personal.

Characteristic #3 – Has The Right Personality

Engaging

Obviously, you don’t want people to become disinterested whilst on your tour. Your guide’s personality is a huge part of that. Can they make the tour more interactive? They should be able to invite questions and use demonstrations to help tourists to learn by themselves.

Make sure that they themselves are interested in the subject matter, because they need to be enthusiastic about what they’re saying.

Leadership skills

Since they’re managing a group of people, the ability to have a certain level of authority is crucial. Tour guides must be able to lead a group of people without being condescending, snobby, or aggressive.

Good sense of humour

Whilst they don’t have to be total comedians, tour guides need to be quick witted so they can throw in friendly jokes. Again, it’s not a stand-up routine, so they should also know when to be quiet. You can gauge this aspect of their personality when they interview for the job.

Seeks feedback

A key part of your tour should be collecting feedback and using it to make it better. Your tour guides should be open to change based on customer criticism – without taking it too personally.

For more useful tips for tour operators, be sure to subscribe to our blog. We’ll deliver them straight to your inbox:

Please raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like giving up on hiring your next tour guide. When you onboard new hires, you’re hit with the realisation that they’re just not a good fit, killing any sense of confidence you had about finding the best person for the job. It’s daunting enough finding a new hire – never mind going through the onboarding process all over again when it doesn’t work out.

Well, there’s good news: selecting your next tour guide doesn’t have to be that hard. With the right set of criteria at your disposal, you could easily find the best tour guide for your business, all without the hassle that comes with having it not work out.

Tour operators, read this blog post so you’ll know exactly what to look for in your perfect tour guide.

Characteristic #1 – Acts Professionally

Punctual

A good tour guide needs to have a strong grasp of time. They shouldn’t make customers wait for them, and they should end the tour on time.

How punctual are they when it comes to their appointments with you during the interview process? This is a good indicator of how they will be when running your tours.

The speed with which they speak and move the tour along should also be just right – it can’t be too fast or too slow. You don’t want your customers to get bored or feel rushed through certain parts of the tour.

Organised

Besides dressing themselves well, this involves setting expectations prior to the tour – informing customers of location, time, and length of tour, what they need to bring, and any rules or special considerations (if your online booking system doesn’t automate this for you). Your tour guide needs to be able to run through the structure for each tour in advance.

Sensitive to group needs

Your perfect guide will be attentive and respectful to everyone in the group, making sure that everyone can see and hear well. Do they have a relaxed manner, speaking clearly and with confidence? Can they make sure that everyone is as safe and comfortable as possible?

Prepared for medical emergencies

Unexpected situations can crop up where medical assistance is needed. Every guide should know First Aid and carry the appropriate equipment. Can your candidate attend to the injured using this equipment?

Characteristic #2 – Is Knowledgeable

Accurate

Your guide must be able to recite facts from memory and be clear on delivering them. Facts have to be accurate – otherwise, they should be able to say they aren’t sure and get back to the customer asking.

Multilingual

At the very least, tour guides must have a conversational grasp of commonly encountered languages. This knowledge becomes extremely useful if someone has an emergency.

Knows audience

A good tour guide will take the initiative to learn about customers on the tour, then include universally relevant information to tailor the examples they use to make it more personal.

Characteristic #3 – Has The Right Personality

Engaging

Obviously, you don’t want people to become disinterested whilst on your tour. Your guide’s personality is a huge part of that. Can they make the tour more interactive? They should be able to invite questions and use demonstrations to help tourists to learn by themselves.

Make sure that they themselves are interested in the subject matter, because they need to be enthusiastic about what they’re saying.

Leadership skills

Since they’re managing a group of people, the ability to have a certain level of authority is crucial. Tour guides must be able to lead a group of people without being condescending, snobby, or aggressive.

Good sense of humour

Whilst they don’t have to be total comedians, tour guides need to be quick witted so they can throw in friendly jokes. Again, it’s not a stand-up routine, so they should also know when to be quiet. You can gauge this aspect of their personality when they interview for the job.

Seeks feedback

A key part of your tour should be collecting feedback and using it to make it better. Your tour guides should be open to change based on customer criticism – without taking it too personally.

For more useful tips for tour operators, be sure to subscribe to our blog. We’ll deliver them straight to your inbox:

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