International Tour Management Institute (ITMI)

The Premier Training Institute for Tour & Travel Professionals Since 1976

5 Tour Guide Superpowers

Aaron OggComment

Tour Guides are not ordinary people.

Judging by outward appearances alone, they may seem like regular globetrotters. However, after you've joined one on a trip, you soon realize that they possess a unique set of talents that can only be characterized as out of this world.

No, they can't shoot webs out of their hands and they don't have x-ray vision. What they do have is the uncanny ability to create enjoyable experiences for the most diverse groups of guests imaginable.

Here are five superpowers that the most talented Tour Guides possess. 

Incomparable intuition: Tour Guides often must make split-second decisions. Usually they're not the life-and-death variety, but they can significantly impact enjoyment of a tour. For example, if a tour group has dinner reservations for 7:15p and the current route is jammed, creative navigation or some smooth talking with restaurant management might be required. Every situation presents its own challenges.

Impossible improvisation: Who other than a Tour Guide can salvage a botanical garden tour during a hail storm? Tour Guides are masters of developing Plans B through Q. When inclement weather arises, you can always count on a Tour Guide to find another beautiful experience to keep the group buzzing. How about taking a stroll through a fragrant greenhouse while listening to the precipitation gently tapping against the glass?

Powerful prognostication: Experienced Tour Guides have witnessed so many kinds of travel snags that sometimes it seems like they can see the future. They have a sixth sense for how much extra time it's going to take to tour an attraction when cruise ships are in port. Some can even predict when an unscheduled bathroom break is going to be needed. It's all thanks to a heightened sensitivity to the people and places around them.

Endless energy: When so much of your career is spent entertaining dozens of people, you tend to tap into reserves you'd never realized you had. Youth helps, but it's not the end-all. Tour Guides who know how to make time for themselves and who find opportunities recharge on the road tend to have considerable staying power. Yes, great Tour Guides give their group their very best, but not at the expense of their own health or sanity.

Mega memory: Years and facts are only a small part. Yes, great Tour Guides are knowledgeable about their regions and subjects of interest, but equally important is remembering guests and their stories. It can mean the world to a repeat vacationer if a Tour Guide remembers that her grandson just got accepted into an Ivy League school, or that her brother just beat stage-three cancer and is heading on a safari. The more Tour Guides remember about their guests, the more those guests will invest in the experience.