Start with Who and the Where
A great place to start your research is your regional tourism office. Most of these organizations do some type of research into their visitors and publish this information on their website. Take a look at this research and interpret it through your own lens. Who is visiting, how old are they, where are they coming from, and what are they interested in experiencing while they are here? Once you know who is visiting your area, you can have a better idea of the content that might be of interest to them.
Consider the charms of your specific location! You know the place better than most, are there epic ghost stories? Out of this world gastronomy? Fascinating history? Take a deep dive and see what is there.
Somewhere in the cross section between the who and the where lies your tour subject area. Pull out your venn diagram and figure out what it is!
OK… but now what?
Right, now that you have your concept, you need to dig a little deeper. Where will you go on your tour?
Naturally in your initial research, you came up with a few locations that fit your theme perfectly, that is why you adopted the tour theme in the first place. Your architecture tour obviously stops at your stunning City Hall, but what about that house museum around the corner, does it have any unique architectural aspects that might be worth highlighting on your tour?
One of the best places to start your research is Google Maps. Zoom in on the area in question and start to look for places that might fit your experience. You can even take it a step further and search in Google Maps for Places of Interest or Historical Landmarks and it will show you all of the locations that match in the selected geographical area. This is also a great way to begin to establish the physical route that will make the most sense.
Another great place to look for locations of interest is our old friend TripAdvisor. Take a look at your area’s top things to do and you’ll be delighted to discover some of your destinations' most popular attractions. This can easily build out your tour and be useful when it comes to marketing as your experience will include some of the top destinations in the area.
What better way to search out new locations for a tour than to get in your car, hop on your bike, or put your walking shoes on and use your own eyes to discover new locations for your tour. Doing a walkabout of your own backyard might bring to light a new point of interest that you had never noticed before or hadn’t considered as a stop that might be a perfect fit for your tour.
Regardless of how you go about selecting specific locations for your tour, the most important thing to remember is that if you, the guide, are excited about the stories you have to tell then your guests will remember you for years to come. Guests will sense your excitement for certain locations, and this palpable excitement will draw that in and makes for an excellent guide and tour.
Read the next in our tour creating series, how to write a tour guide script.