You’re doing your best to do a wonderful tour, showing your passion, explaining in a nice way,… but despite all these efforts, travelers don’t seem very interested. What’s happening? Maybe it’s because you don’t involve them in your speech! And the easiest way to do it, is by asking them questions!
Furthermore, travelers feel so happy when they find the right answer and it’s exactly what you are looking for! Don’t forget to say thank you to travelers for participating or even giving them a high five.
Types of questions you can ask travelers:
- Riddles. For example: “Look at this building, can anyone tell me what it’s used for?
- Based on the travelers’ own experience. It can be used as an introduction to the topic you are going to develop. For example: “Does anyone know who is the current Belgian King?” or “Why, do you think, people decided to start a city here?”
- Quiz. For example in Valencia, we have a guru doing a quiz asking all the ingredients of the traditional paella. In Brussels, when I was a guide, I used to do a quiz with printed pictures of the most famous Belgian people, to see if travelers know who they were. Also, if you have a small speaker, you can even do a quiz of the most famous songs from your city or country, to see if travelers recognize them. These quizzes are interesting at the last stops of the tour, when travelers are already a little tired.
- Searching for something. These are small games. “This column is 1000 years old, but there is a part which is only 100 years old, can you spot it?” or “Look at this facade, there is a goose hidden somewhere, does anyone see it?”
- Based on what you said. This is very useful to see if travelers have paid attention. For example: “Here we are at Jaime I Square, does anyone remember who he is?” Although you don’t provide new information, it allows you to connect with what you explained and it shows travelers that they learned something useful they can already use.
- Comparing with travelers. For example, if you talk about a tradition, you can ask if there’s a similar tradition in the countries of the travelers, like “Who also celebrates that in their country? Please raise your hand.” You can also ask some travelers to tell you how it’s celebrated in their country, but make that this does not last too long so you don’t lose focus. Moreover, we recommend it when other travelers show they are interested (you can see it if they ask something too).
- To animate the group. At the beginning of the tour, you can say with lots of enthusiasm “Hellooo!! Welcome to my tour! How are you doooooing?!” Raising your arms. Or “Are you ready to have fun?!” It works well with large groups. A guide in Valencia also asks how the group is doing at the end of each stop. Throughout the tour, people say “Goooood” but when they say it before the last stop, the guide says: “Nooooo! You should be sad, the tour is almost over” with an ironic upset tone. It gives his travelers a good laugh.
It’s important that your questions are easy to answer. In case it’s a more difficult question, you can always give some clues until they find it. Also use phrases like “Does anyone know …?” or “Maybe someone knows about …?” This way, it doesn’t look so bad if nobody knows how to answer.
If you see that people don’t feel comfortable to answer, you can encourage them, for example:
- Giving a little gift. You know, people love to win something. You can give a candy when someone answers well (and this works for everybody, even old people!), but it can be other things like a bracelet or another type of cheap souvenir. We even have a guru who offers seeds of a famous tree of his city related to a legend. And of course that doesn’t cost you anything.
- Using humor. For instance, in Florence, a guide says: “If you don’t know how to answer that question, I’m leaving.” In Valencia, a guide uses the concept of the Eurovision Song Contest to encourage travelers to answer. When a traveler answers well, he says like in the contest “12 points FOR” and then the country where the person comes from, etc. and then says at the end of the tour which country won the most points.
- Warning travelers. For example, using humor: “Now we are going to see the island of love, and be careful that I will ask someone why it’s called that!
Now that you know how to ask the right questions, there are many other ways to create an interactive tour! You can discover them all in this post.