Attending tour guide training courses during the travel shut down is a good way to improve your guiding skills, learn new abilities and become more competitive to get your dream job when travel resumes.
To help you in your learning journey, this article brings you some of the most popular tour guide training courses on the internet. However, there are a few things you should consider before making your choice.
Nikki Padilla, an experienced tour guide and educator, gives some tips about how to choose the right tour guide training course.
“My two cents about courses and accreditations are always for the guide to think about what they’re looking to get out of it.
Firstly are they a tour director or tour guide (some programs cater to one better than the other)?
Secondly, are they just starting out and looking to upskill quickly? Or are they looking to improve their soft skills (the most important for tour guide), or do they need more destination/topic-specific knowledge? Or, super important at the moment considering the changing landscape of the industry, do they want to gain more business acumen so they can rely less on other companies and put their own tours out there?
Any course is going to do one of those better than the others and some of them aren’t cheap, so I think it’s really important for guides to get away from the idea that they need a certification in general, and more about where they need to grow.”
If your main goal is getting a recognized certification, the tip is to check the website of national standard setting bodies for accredited courses.
Knowing that, feel free to explore the options that we have brought to you.
The project was founded in 2015 by Kelsey Tonner, since then, many tour guides and tour operators have attended their trainings in order to improve knowledge and skills.
Being a tour guide himself, Kelsey knows exactly what is necessary for a regular guide to become an outstanding tour leader. That gets clear when you check the material available on their website and read the description of the courses.
Be a Better Guide offers courses ranging from storytelling for tour leaders to creating a virtual tour business. Some of them have sample classes, which allows you to check the quality of the material before enrolling.
There are currently 4 courses available in the Be a Better Guide website:
Virtual Tour Business: A complete guide to rapidly launch and sell online tours and experiences. The course is divided into 6 modules with over 8 hours of practical instruction. By the end of the training, you will be able to create, market and sell a virtual product.
Lead Amazing Tours: A four-part video series about the secrets of amazing tour leaders, the most common mistakes made by tour guides, tools and systems for leading amazing tours, and how to become an extraordinary tour guide.
7-Figure Tour Business: You will learn how to systematically grow sales, scale operations and drive profits to seven figures and beyond. Get practical advice from a successful tour operator on how to plan and build a winner tour company.
Extraordinary Storytelling for Tour Leaders: This course is a step-by-step system to tell engaging stories, earn better reviews, and be more memorable. You will learn strategies and techniques to craft memorable and entertaining stories.
Get to know Kelsey on his presentation video for the Be a Better Guide website.
TripSchool is a training company and business incubator for tour guides, tour directors and operators. The initiative was launched in 2017 by Mitch Back and Alan Armijo, industry veterans with broad experience in mentoring travel professionals and training guide teams.
More than a learning center, TripSchool is a community of creative trainers, entrepreneurs, guides, and industry leaders who have come together to help individuals and businesses succeed in this industry.
They offer online and in-person training. On their website, you can find different courses from beginners to experienced guides. These are the online courses that tour guides can enroll in right now:
Tour Guide & Experience Host Training: That is a course meant for industry newcomers who want to become a tour guide or local expert host. The training is divided into 14 modules with 40+ hours of video content. After finishing the classes, you will know how to design a travel experience, lead a tour, and, most important, how to find your first job!
Foundations of Tour Directing: If your goal is to become a tour director, this is the right course for you. After going through its 15 modules, you will be ready to plan an itinerary, prepare a tour and provide outstanding experiences for your guests.
Start a Tour Company: Join a community of different travel entrepreneurs in this small-group business incubator program. The core program has 30+ hours of online classes divided into 3 modules. Learn how to build a tour operator business, design and sell a tour product.
Video Mastery: Develop your professional editing skills to create compelling, quality video stories and tours. This is a participatory, collaborative, workshop-based learning limited to 15 people.
Check out TripSchool presentation video.
This traditional learning school is around for more than 40 years and has graduated more than 8,000 tour guides and travel leaders! It was founded by Ted Bravos and Bill Newton, travel industry pioneers and thought leaders.
ITMI was born to give tour guides and tour directors the necessary knowledge to lead tour groups domestically and around the world.
The school offers several training opportunities for travel professionals. We have listed some of the most relevant for tour guides. Check their website to find other courses that may be interesting for you.
Tour Certification Training Program: This 8-week world-class training experience is a complete program if you want to become a tour guide or director. The certification has three stages.
Technology Master Class: This 15 hours course covers which technology is worth learning and how it can help you in every stage of your profession. That includes how to find and land tour job opportunities, how to use technology to plan a tour, how to create media content, among other abilities.
Travel Leader Fundamentals: Course meant for the ones starting in the tourism industry. You will learn the fundamentals of travel and tourism, besides the necessary knowledge to make good decisions about your new career.
Tour Entrepreneur: Multi-Day Domestic & Int’l Tours: This is a 4 modules course that teaches everything you need to plan, build, prince and sell multi-day itineraries.
Check out their presentation video for the tour director and guide training experience.
In addition to the initiatives presented above, the internet is full of other relevant material to complement your studies. Check out the ones below:
World foodtravel academy: Online food travel learning platform designed for tourist guides and tour operators who want to prove their qualifications, grow their businesses and make more sales.
EastguidesWest: They offer a variety of online tour guide training courses which include, how to price a tour, how to design a tour, what to include in a city tour, and much more.
Good Tourism Institute: Learn how to run a sustainable travel business from the strategy to the supply chain management. So far this course is under development, but you should keep track of it to register as soon it is released.
Be Paid To Travel: Learning platform that offers certifications for tour guides and tour directors.
GuideWeek 2021: This is a three days virtual conference for virtual education, recruitment, and networking focused on empowering local guides around the world. You can register now and it will happen on May 10, 11 and 14.
There are great tour guide training courses and materials available on the internet, each one with a different approach. Knowing your professional goals and budget is the first step to find the ideal program for your career.
Another good source of knowledge is our newsletter. Subscribe to it and receive the latest travel news and valuable resources to help you grow your travel business.
Don’t forget to check Orioly blog for other insightful articles like this one.
on April 29, 2021
Receive the latest news and resources in your inbox
Learn how to optimize your Google Ads campaigns to drive more quality traffic to your website, saving money and getting better results.by Felipe Fonseca on May 11, 2022
Discover why Destination Visitor Guides are still relevant and get content ideas to create a compelling visitor guide to attract visitors.by Felipe Fonseca on May 5, 2022