These tour guide tips come from a Dan Austin, a tour company operator who has over 20 years in the business. He clearly lays out what skills, abilities, and characteristics are important to him."A great guide can make a successful trip just as quickly as an average or sub-par guide can ruin one," says Austin, co-founder and Director of Austin-Lehman Adventures (ALA), an active tour company based in Billings, Montana.
Here are the top traits ALA looks for in selecting tour guides:
1. Focused with laser-like precision on making sure that guests feel like a V.I.P.
2. Naturally intuitive and has the innate ability to foretell what a guest is thinking or wanting.
3. Spontaneous and can seamlessly deal with the unexpected, both pleasant and potentially disastrous. This means having a Plan B ready in case of such things as sudden weather changes, lodging snafus, and road delays.
4. Passionate and eager to share his / her knowledge about an unfamiliar destination.
5. Multi-tasks, switching from chauffeur, coach, and doctor, to teacher, culinary wizard, athlete, mechanic, social worker, and psychologist, all in a heartbeat.
6. Has sense of humor and can loosen everyone up to break out of their shell, helping to create strong bonds between absolute strangers.
The quality of a vacation can be enhanced or soured by a tour guide. Austin equates a tour guide as a "guardian angel looking out for you."
ALA takes pride in its extensive staff and guide training programs and boasts one of the most generous (1:6) guide to guest ratios in the business.