What Does A Tour Guide Do?
Tour guides basically introduce visitors to a particular place. They provide interesting information about museums, historical landmarks and public establishments to tourists, students and other visitors. Aside from providing significant dates about a landmark, tour guides also regale visitors with stories about it. They use their wit and charm to share anecdotes that make visitors smile and even enable them to learn a lesson or two. As such, tour guides often possess excellent communication and people skills. They know how to facilitate a lively discussion that will not bore visitors.
Tour guides who work in stationary establishments, such as historical places and museums often have to do multiple tours in a day. They typically address different groups of people. The challenge in this work lies in still presenting repetitive information to each group in an interesting and fresh manner. This often entails getting different bits and pieces of data and sharing different anecdotes to each group while still sharing the core information about a place with each tour.
Part of the job of tour guides is in tailoring their presentation to the age and interest of the visitors. For example, the tour given by a guide of a castle would be slightly more fact-based when delivered to adults compared to a tour of the same castle given to a younger population like high school students. The latter are more easily captivated by stories of war and romance that have taken place in the castle walls in the past years so the tour guide must have a repertoire of these under his belt.
Tour guides who are employed by a travel firm may be assigned to accompany and guide a group of guests in their tour of a particular region or locality. These types of tours often take several days or even weeks and it is expected of tour guides to provide extensive information about the place or locality. Because these kinds of tours have the tendency to be boring since tourists stay together with the same group for the duration of the journey, tour guides need to arm themselves with a lot of information, stories and anecdotes about the place where they are bringing their guests. They also need to have substantial knowledge about the establishments in the area so as to be able to answer questions that the tourists may pose.
Tour guides need to possess quick thinking skills that will allow them to continue stimulating a group during long trips. The ability to make people laugh and encourage them to share stories and jokes to others during the tour is a valuable skill that all tour guides must have. This comes in handy during lull moments that are bound to happen in any tour.
Because of the nature of their work, tour guides need to have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. They must be ready to meet all types of people and be able to handle a tour skillfully no matter what a particular group’s temperament is. For instance, there will be groups that will be so quiet that no amount of prompting will make them participate. The tour guide will then try to make the tour more interesting through other ways, such as by infusing more jokes and stories.
Tour guides have to be physically fit and healthy. Whether doing multiple tours or just one weeklong tour, they need to have the energy to walk, present the place and answer questions from visitors at the same time. They also need to be able to manage their time well. For those doing multiple tours, making sure that each tour is finished at a particular period ensures that they are able to lead more groups afterwards and earn more. For those who are leading private tours, good time management skills will enable them to finish a tour on time and satisfy visitors that all items that should be included in the itinerary are included in the tour.
Tour guides must be ready to understand the practices and beliefs of people from various cultures. In the course of their career, they will no doubt encounter various nationalities that may have questions and perhaps, even behavior, throughout the tour that will reflect their culture. Tour guides have to understand and respect these differing perspectives and not make any judgments.