When it comes to providing an exceptional experience for guests, there are many things a tour guide should consider.
Aside from crafting funny stories, a long list of facts, and secret destination tips, tour guides should come prepared with everything they need to stay organized and provide an exceptional guest experience.
It can be overwhelming to decide which tour guide supplies will be helpful for your business. There are numerous tools and technologies available — how do you choose what works best for your business?
Not to worry. We’ll walk you through some of the top tour guide tools available and a few things you’ll want to consider when selecting them.
Why you should use tour guide tools
What are the benefits of using tour guide tools?
Well, they make your job easier for starters. There are many helpful supplies and technologies that will assist you every step of the way, from managing bookings to organizing your tour and beyond.
Having a select set of tour guide supplies will help you stay organized, keep your visitors safe, and ensure your tour runs smoothly while providing value to guests.
From first aid supplies to helpful apps, the tools you do (or don’t) have on hand can make or break your guests’ experience.
Our favourite tour guide essentials
Let’s get right into the essentials that every tour guide needs. Some tour guide supplies are universally beneficial. Your top priorities as a tour guide are to keep you and your guests organized and safe during the tour.
These three tour guide essentials help you do just that:
1. First Aid Kit
Whether you offer walking tours, rentals or activities, a first aid kit is a must-have for any tour guide. Depending on the experience you provide, this can range from a basic kit with just the essentials to a more robust kit with a variety of medical supplies.
It is always best to be prepared for anything that could happen during your tour. Your guests’ safety and comfort will be taken care of if you carry this important tour guide supply with you.
Pro tip: Add a contact card for your local emergency services to your kit for quick and easy access.
2. Voice Amplifier
It can be a strain to talk for long periods of time, especially when you’re projecting your voice to a larger crowd. Consider using a voice amplifier, such as a wireless microphone.
You can customize the volume based on the group size so your voice is at the perfect volume, every time.
A bonus? This tour guide essential makes your tour more accessible to a wider range of people, as they’ll be able to hear your more clearly.
3. Business Cards
Happy guests are going to want to share their experience with others and encourage them to participate in your tour.
Don’t miss out on word-of-mouth marketing. Carry business cards and share your Instagram or Facebook handle so your guests can easily share your information with others.
Take it to the next level by adding a QR code that links directly to your social media channels and website, where guests can conveniently leave a review instantaneously.
Must-have tour guide technology
Technology is an incredibly helpful tool for any tour guide and there is truly something for anyone.
Tour guide technology can range from the basics, such as navigation apps and cameras, to fully customizable options, like online bookings. Here are our top recommendations for tour guide technology:
Smart phones are arguably one of the most important tour guide tools. A mobile phone offers ease of communication, a camera, navigation device, check-in tool, and so much more. Virtually every app and organizational need are available at your fingertips with a smartphone.
2. Mobile Apps
With the numerous apps available to us, there are plenty of ways to use them to enhance your tour. Need to check the weather before you head out on your trek? A weather app makes this possible.
Navigating a new area of the city? Choose a map app. (Helpful tip: download offline maps so you can access them even without WiFi.)
Going camping in the wilderness? Break out a stargazing app and wow your guests. No matter what value you want to add to your tour, there is likely an app for it. Here’s a list of our recommended apps for tour guides and operators:
- Google Maps
- Google Translate
- Weather Network
3. Portable Bank Charger
Eliminate any fear of losing your most helpful tool with a portable phone charger. Having this handy item in your collection of tour guide supplies means you’re never left without your connection to bookings, maps, apps and anything else you (or a guest) might need.
Consider bringing along extra cables to offer to any guests who may be running low on battery — they’ll be impressed at your consideration of their needs. And, if your phone is charged it means you’re always camera-ready.
Many travellers agree that tour photos make the best souvenir and can bring back memories of their experience for years to come. Some tour operators will opt for a high-quality, mirrorless or DSLR camera depending on their photography skills.
Make your tour extra memorable by snapping photos and/or videos throughout the experience to share with your guests after their tour.
Don’t feel like you have to splurge on a professional camera, just focus on capturing well-framed images in great lighting that guests will get excited about. Images like these help to sell the experience to future guests and are a powerful tool when it comes to online bookings.
5. Booking tools
Between managing bookings, organizing your supplies, and running the tour itself, keeping organized when you’re running a tour business can be challenging.
Move away from pen and paper and availability back and forth with an online booking platform. This key tour guide tool offloads some of your administrative work, by taking care of booking details so you have more time to focus on what truly matters — your guests’ experience.
Tour guide tools for crafting the perfect tour
There are many qualities of a good tour guide, including stocking up on helpful tour guide tools, but the most important part of the experience is you.
Your customers want to connect and learn from you and your experience. Enhance your knowledge and experience with the following tour guide essentials:
When conducting a tour, you’re telling the story of the location that you are at. It is important to have a tour commentary introduction that instantly captures the interest of your guests and makes them excited about the experience they’re about to share with you.
A good script has the following qualities:
- Addresses important topics
- Bookends points of interest
- Addresses any questions
- Showcases your enthusiasm
- Leaves guests feeling inspired
Elevate your guests’ experience by increasing your expertise over time. There are many tour guide resources available that offer helpful insights on topics such as ‘tour leading essentials’ or up-and-coming tourism practices like ecotourism.
Keep learning and you’ll provide an invaluable experience to your guests.
Additional considerations when choosing your tour guide supplies
Before adding everything to your packing list, there are a few different aspects of your tour to consider.
Tours vary in many ways — from the length of time to the type of experience, to the target audience and more. As you choose your tour guide tools, consider the following:
How can you make your tour accessible to a wider range of guests? A voice amplifier or wireless microphone, for example, not only allows you to project your voice to a larger audience but will make your tour more accessible for guests who might struggle to hear you over background noise.
Another option is to include larger or more visually-centric printouts to make it easier for guests to follow your tour route.
Are you trekking through the jungle, walking through a bustling city, or paddling along lake waters?
The type of experience you’re offering drastically impacts which tools may or may not be helpful for both you and your guests. Account for changes in weather, solutions for navigating and hiccups that might derail your guiding experience with the tools you carry with you.
3. Small but thoughtful details
Go above and beyond by anticipating your guests’ needs and bringing along supplies to care for them. On a food tour? Consider carrying wet wipes and napkins for any potential messes.
Spending time in the sun? Bring along some extra sunscreen for those who may have left theirs at home. Small gestures go a long way and leave a lasting impression on your well-cared-for guests.
As a tour guide, your goal is to provide a truly unforgettable experience for your guests. Aside from your personality and expertise, these tour guide tools will help make your job easier while providing an exceptional experience for your guests.