Training Tour Guides using Improv with Margaret Hicks

How a former comedian uses improv to train tour guides.

How to train tour guides is one of the most frequently asked questions we receive in our postbag here at Tourpreneur.

So on this episode of Tourpreneur, a podcast for tour operators and tour professionals, we asked Margaret Hicks of tour guide training company The Tour Boost to share some tips on tour guide training with us.

One of our major goals here at Tourpreneur is to help tour operators connect, learn and grow together.

Let’s face it, there are lots of ‘gurus’ and ‘experts’ online offering training for tour operators. None of us can afford to waste cash on courses or coaching that is just not up to scratch.

At Tourpreneur we want to bring you advice, strategies, and tips from those experts who have walked the walk. Margaret certainly has. Take a look at her background:

  • A very experienced Tour Guide, leading tours for over 11 years.
  • She is a tour operator, her tour business Chicago Elevated is in its 7th year.
  • Before all of that, Margaret was a comedian and she brings over 15 years experience in improv.
  • She is a passionate traveler and has visited many countries and experienced many tours.

On Episode 12 of Tourpreneur, host Shane Whaley asks Margaret Hicks more about her tour guide training company The Tour Boost covering topics such as:

  • Three major tips that tour operators can implement today to improve our tour guide training.
  • What are some of the most common challenges tour operators face when it comes to training tour guides.
  • What are the essential skills every tour guide should possess?
  • Why tour guides should listen with their elbows.
  • Why her tour guide training focuses on soft skills such as crafting stories, storytelling, and soft-skills rather than tour content.
  • Why active listening is crucial for tour guides.
  • Why it is essential to work with every tour guides personality and not turn them into something they are not.
  • Why there is a fine line between educating and entertaining.
  • Tour Guides are theatre people without theatre training/background.
  • How should tour guides respond if they do not know the answer to a guest’s question?
  • What kind of tour operators and attractions call on help from The Tour Boost.
  • Why Shane prefers specialized/dedicated training rather than a ‘one size fits all’ solution.
  • How editing podcasts has helped Shane improve his active listening.
  • What makes a poor tour guide.
  • Self guided tours – are they a threat to tour guides?
  • And Much More!

Resources and websites mentioned on Episode 12 of the Tourpreneur Podcast with The Tour Boost.

Did you agree with today’s guest? Disagree? Got tips or experiences you want to share? You can now continue the conversation on our new TourPreneur Facebook Group.

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