Tour Moment Breakdown: Creating moments in partnership with the local community

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Creating and incorporating positive Moments into your tour is the easiest way to control what your guests remember about the experience. Moments are often straightforward but impactful through intentional execution.

In this series, I break down moments that stick out to me from tours I’ve taken over the years, using four types of Moments defined by Dan & Chip Heath in their book The Power of Moments (a must-read for any guide should read).


The Travel Moment:

The Museum of the City of New York occasionally runs tours where their Curators take people through their neighbourhoods.

I was lucky to catch the tour of Mott Haven in the Bronx with a Curator who lived there.

The coolest part of the tour was the access, NYC has a lot of community gardens, but many of them are locked to those who don’t belong or live in the neighbourhood. Our guide happened to have the keys to several local community gardens, and it was incredible to explore them.

However, the moments that stuck out on this tour was every time we passed one of our guide’s neighbours.

We’d be walking down the street, and someone passing by would stop and greet our guide, who would then introduce us as ‘new to the neighbourhood’. It made us feel incredibly welcome and also like we were a part of the neighbourhood.

It happened so often that it became a joke that our guide was the ‘Mayor’ of the neighbourhood, they knew everyone! It made it feel unique and exclusive that we were touring with him (instead of another guide).

Simple, but affected.


Type of Moment:

1. Moment of Connection

That feeling of being included in the neighbourhood when the locals would chat with us.

2. Moment of Elevation: “Breaking the script”

A typical tour script is that you walk to a site, and the guide tells you its history. Then you walk to the following location and the next. In this case, being stopped and greeted by so many locals, the tour felt unique and flexible. As the topic would change depending on who we were talking to.

How to recreate this Moment on your tours:

Make your guests feel like a local.

Even if you aren’t from the neighbourhood, you very likely pass the same people on your tour. Whether it’s one of your vendors, or a crossing guard, or even the person at the newspaper, stand on the corner.

If you get to know them (or at least get in the habit of greeting them), you can then, at the least, greet them when you pass by with guests, making them feel like they’re lucky to be there with such an ‘insider’.

Read the first article in our Tour Moment Breakdown series, pouring “txotx”.

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