In this post, we give you the best tricks to give amazing explanations during your tour! All these tips are valid only if you take into account the type of travelers you have on your tour, since the more relevant the story, the more involved travelers will be!
Ready to listen to our best gurus’ recommendations? Let’s go!
Follow a common thread
A guided tour is like a movie. You are going to cover many topics but it’s important for travelers to be able to connect the stops of your tour easily. If you use information you already explained during the following stops, travelers will find it useful and will feel smarter. Things like “Do you remember the building designed by the architect Horta? Well, here we have another example of his work that I am going to explain… ”.
So think of the best way to organize the stops and content of your tour. Most of the time, tours are conducted chronologically. They start with the foundation of the city and end with its current situation. But on a food tour, it could be starting with breakfast and ending with dinner. It is always very important to communicate your structure at the beginning of the tour.
Focus on the message
What’s the main message you want to convey to travelers, what will the travelers remember in the end, the moral of the story, the essence, main idea, the lesson learned, … For example on my tour, when I talk about paella in Valencia, I really want travelers to understand that it’s not only a typical dish but an identity of its own for Valencians, with a tradition that has to be respected.
Once you have identified the key message, you can remove all the unnecessary details and make sure it doesn’t drag on too long.
Dramatization: strike an emotional side
Now that you identified the key message, think about the emotion you want to convey to travelers. You will see that it’s not necessary to say every time who the architect of this building was, its year of construction, or to list all the secondary characters in a story. Instead, try to contextualize as much as you can.
You want to reach the hearts of travelers, choosing the best stories but it’s also very important to know how to tell them! Add some drama, laugh,… Think of the Mexican “telenovelas”!
You only need 3 main ingredients for a dramatic story:
- A main character who will face …
- a conflict, a problem …
- with a spicy touch, something that is not expected, generating a lot of tension.
Keep in mind, the words you use and the way you explain with them matter. Make your travelers feel exceptional when they are having this experience with you.
For example, instead of saying: “This is a Gothic style castle and it was built in 1230 by Jaime I. It has a 13,000 m2 park that was designed by José Grande. It was where Carmela, one of his 5 daughters, died in 1233 at the age of 22. ” It’d be much better to say “This impressive Castle was built by Jaime I during the beginning of the reconquest of the area. It’s considered as a jewel of the Gothic style but it’s also where a tragic story took place. One day, his youngest daughter was strolling through the beautiful park when something awful happened …. ” Much better, no?
Each city also has its own lucky monument, such as throwing a coin in the Trevi fountain in Rome. It’s important to include it as it’s very emotional too.
Personification: live the explanation
To bring your explanations to life, instead of saying what a famous person did, put yourself in their shoes and speak in the first person as if you were him or her.
For example: Instead of saying “The people of Brussels were very angry and the French king wanted to be forgiven by giving a suit to the peeing boy statue”, a better way of saying it would be “The people of Brussels were very angry, so the French King took a decision and said something like “I’m really sorry for what happened. As a sign of my deepest apologies, please accept this small costume designed especially for the peeing boy statue”.
In this case, you bring the role of king to life. Use dialogues as much as you can, such as “He answered: …” or “She said: …”.
Personalization: include your personal touch
We recommend including personal stories to give a more human touch to your explanations. For example: “This place is very special to me too since this is where my grandparents met” or “I love this place and I highly recommend taking a picture with this angle. I tell you that because I did it and Facebook recently reminded me that was that picture that got most likes in 2017!”.
Use metaphors: take explanations out of context
Take explanations out of context by making references to things that all travelers know. For example: “This traditional celebration is very similar and just as important as Christmas to us.”
For example, a guru in Dubrovnik tells us: “In the old days, the type of earring a woman would wear had a meaning. It said if she was single, engaged, widowed, etc. it was like the Facebook of that time!” Another example, in Porto, a guide tells of a statue that she said represented the #metoo movement of that time or that the king took his Ryanair flight instead of saying that he traveled. In Athens, a guru explains: “Greek culture is like Latin culture, … des-pa-cito!” referring to the famous song.
We highly advise you to take a look at this post to learn how to surprise travelers throughout your tour and ensure that they are attentive to your amazing explanations.