Tour Guides – What Skills Set Them Apart?

Tour guide can be a dream job, because it lets you travel and share your passion and knowledge of a city, a site or a culture. However, it’s a seasonal job, often paid per assignment. How can you retain your clientele and employers?

A tour guide is a professional, generally independent, who assists a group of tourists throughout their trip. He takes charge of organization, activities and smooth running of the tour.

Strengthening your basic skills

Tour guides who have a strong mastery of key skills and fundamental knowledge of the profession are obviously likely to be more successful than their less trained colleagues whose basic aptitudes are exploited less and have lower value. The essential tasks range from planning a trip to writing the trip’s report and include building a relationship of trust with travellers and consulting local media.

Counting on 4 key abilities

Among these basic skills are 4 essential abilities. They are, “the ability to organize events, the historical and geographical knowledge of a place, group coaching and logistics management,” says Daniel Roch, who has been a certified tour guide for over 30 years and a member of the board of the Corporation des guides accompagnateurs du Québec (CGAQ).

Harnessing your personal skills

The guides who stand out the most are those who take advantage of their qualities as activity leader, communicator and facilitator. According to Daniel Roch, “a very good guide does not simply recite information that a traveller could find himself with a few clicks on the internet.” He believes the important thing is to identify and go in the direction of the group’s major interests. The idea is to build on tourists’ knowledge, who are increasingly informed, and to use this knowledge wisely.

Constantly improving

“A good guide is an attentive observer of travellers’ daily tourist experiences, different for each trip,” the experienced guide testifies. Redoing a tourist route for the nth time does not exclude adjusting to clients’ evolving requests and approaches, keeping up to date with technological knowledge and its use of social media. The CGAQ offers several training courses to its 400 active members. “Among its 1,400 guides in Quebec, some have knowledge that they don’t share, for fear of being overtaken or replaced. However, cooperation and healthy competition are useful to all. The CGAQ encourages its members to exchange their discoveries and interesting information,” explains Daniel Roch.

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