International Tour Management Institute (ITMI)

The Premier Training Institute for Tour & Travel Professionals Since 1976

5 Qualities of Every Successful Tour Guide and Tour Director

ITMIComment

Despite their different backgrounds and personalities, tour guides and tour directors share a number of skills and traits. They are the elements that draw them to this exciting career path and keep them on it for the long haul.

The very best among them possess certain characteristics in abundance. They are what drive them to always improve and never settle for anything less than exceeding their guests’ expectations. Some come naturally. Others require hard work and an open mind.

Here are five qualities of every successful tour guide and tour director.  

Thirst for knowledge: The best tour guides and tour directors are perpetual students. It doesn't matter if they've visited a place one time or 1,000. They are eager to learn more about it so they can deepen others' appreciation of it as well as their own. Their curiosity is one of their greatest assets.

Ceaseless sensitivity and empathy: Great tour guides and tour directors have a keen awareness of their guests' perspectives. They strive to understand their points of view are willing to adjust their own strategy and style based on what they learn. Tours are dynamic, multi-faceted experiences, so successful management of them requires flexibility.

Genuine warmth: Chances are you're a people person if you choose to get into this business. You get along with many different types of personalities and are able to find common ground with just about anybody. What separates the best from everybody else is maintaining your positive attitude and your smile even during difficult times.

Endless excitement: There is a sense of childlike wonderment that all the most enjoyable tour guides and tour directors possess. The minute they step off the motorcoach, they are like a kid in a candy store. The sights, the sounds, the people - all are endlessly captivating and inspiring. It's a true passion for life and recognizing that every place has its own magic.

Tireless dedication: Tour guides and tour directors are a tough bunch. The toughest never balk at adversity. Their No. 1 priority is making sure their guests have a safe, fun time. No matter what challenges might arise - a flat tire, a medical emergency, or even a natural disaster - they are prepared to handle them calmly and professionally. Their guests' trust in them is not an honor they take lightly.