Updated June 2022 – Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like giving up on hiring your next tour guide. When you on-board new hires, you’re hit with the realization that they’re just not a good fit, killing any sense of confidence you had about finding the best person for the job. It’s daunting enough finding a new hire – never mind going through the on-boarding process all over again when it doesn’t work out.

Well, there’s good news: selecting your next tour guide role doesn’t have to be that hard. With the right set of criteria of tour guide skills at your disposal, you could easily find the best tour guide for your business, all without the hassle that comes with having it not work out.

Wondering what personality traits do tour guides have that will reveal their future success or failure? To help you answer this, we’ve outlined 10 important qualities of a good tour guide. 

With these tour guide characteristics tips, you’ll know exactly what makes a good tour guide and have the proper tools in place to hire someone who will exceed customer expectations and customer satisfaction. 

1.  Enthusiasm

One of the most fundamental tour guide characteristics is enthusiasm.

Customers can tell if a tour guide doesn’t want to be there. Considering that nobody wants to feel like their presence is a nuisance, it is impossible to provide customers with a fun and engaging tour if it’s obvious that their guide would prefer to be at home.

On the other hand, enthusiasm is contagious. If a customer notices that their tour guide is as excited to be there as they are, they’ll feel a lot more satisfied with their overall experience. Enthusiasm fosters an authentic connection between the tour guide and customers. It’s also the backdrop of all of the other essential characteristics of a good tour guide. An enthusiastic tour guide will be not only willing but excited to grow their skills and engage with the customers.

2.  Organization and punctuality

Besides dressing themselves well, this involves setting expectations prior to the tourinforming customers of location, time, and length of tour, what they need to bring, and any rules or special considerations (if your online booking system doesn’t automate this for you). Your tour guide needs to have organisational skills to be able to run through the structure for each tour in advance.

Ultimately, one of the key characteristics of a good tour guide is effective time management skills and punctuality. They shouldn’t make customers wait for them, and they should end the tour on time.

How punctual are they when it comes to their appointments with you during the interview process? This is a good indicator of how they will be when running your tours.

The speed with which they speak and move the tour along should also be just right – it can’t be too fast or too slow. You don’t want your customers to get bored or feel rushed through certain parts of the tour.

3.  Prepared for anything

What makes a good tour guide

A good tour guide is adept at improvising, no matter whether it’s responding to hiccups in the tour’s timing, unexpected customer questions, or responding to crises. It’s key that your tour guides are capable of efficiently detecting and responding to any crisis, no matter how big or small. They should also have a comprehensive understanding of your company’s tour guide insurance policies and how this may relate to their work.

Unexpected situations can crop up where medical assistance is needed. Every guide should know First Aid and carry the appropriate equipment. Can your candidate attend to the injured using this equipment? If not, are they willing to attend First Aid training prior to starting?

4.  Can read the room

A good tour guide will take the initiative to learn about customers on the tour, then include universally relevant information to tailor the examples they use to make it more personal. They need to be aware of who they’re speaking to, the audience needs to see that your tour guide engages with all the attendees.

5.  An engaging storyteller

Obviously, you don’t want people to become disinterested whilst on your tour. Your guide’s personality is a huge part of that. Can they make the tour more interactive? They should be able to invite questions and use demonstrations to help tourists to learn by themselves. 

One of the most essential qualities of a good tour guide is a great customer service experience and the ability to hold good conversations. It’s also important that they have a passion for travel as this will keep the audience interested and engaged.

Make sure that they themselves are interested in the subject matter, because they need to be enthusiastic about what they’re saying.

6 .  Knows their stuff

Tour guide characteristics

Another one of the most important characteristics of a tour guide is their ability to retain information.

Your guide must be able to recite facts from memory and be clear in delivering them. Facts have to be accurate – otherwise, they should be able to say they aren’t sure and get back to the customer asking.

Of course, you can’t expect your tour guide to know everything from day one. But hiring a tour guide who demonstrates an enthusiasm for learning and has clearly researched your tour company prior to their job interview, is key to ensuring that your staff are committed to learning and understanding the tours they provide.

7. Multilingual

While it may not be a necessity, speaking multiple languages is an excellent and particularly useful quality of a good tour guide. A multilingual tour guide will dramatically broaden your target audience and help welcome people from varying backgrounds to your tour.

A tour guide doesn’t need to be fluent in dozens of languages for their lingual skills to be handy. All tour guides should at least have a conversational grasp of commonly encountered languages. This knowledge becomes extremely useful if someone has an emergency.

8.  Leadership and initiative

Since they’re managing a group of people, the ability to have a certain level of authority is crucial. Tour guides must be able to lead a group of people without being condescending, snobby, or aggressive. If something unexpected happens on the tour, a good tour guide will be able to take charge in an assertive manner to ensure that all customers receive the right directions.

9.  A good sense of humor

Characteristics of a tour guide

Whilst they don’t have to be total comedians, tour guides need to be quick witted so they can throw in friendly jokes or light banter with the customers. Again, it’s not a stand-up routine, so they should also know when to be quiet. You can gauge this aspect of their personality when they interview for the job.

10. Willingness to learn

 A key part of your tour should be collecting feedback and using it to make it better. Your tour guides should be open to change based on customer criticism – without taking it too personally.


Of course, the ideal tour guide will look differently for each tour operator company as some traits are necessary for certain activities but not others. However, there are certain qualities of a good tour guide that transcend time and place: enthusiasm, a willingness to learn, leadership skills, and punctuality.

Now that you’ve found what makes a good tour guide, it’s time to ensure that your newly hired tour guides are given the right tools they need to succeed.

Rezdy’s all-in-one online booking software simplifies the management of your tour company so you can ensure that your customers receive a satisfying experience. Curious to see how Rezdy can help your tour guides succeeds? Start a FREE 21-day trial or book a demo so you can experience first-hand the benefits of automated activity booking websites.

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