The best tour scripts don’t feel as if they’ve been written by anyone at all, but the cruel irony to effortless sounding, entertaining scripts is that they take a lot of hard work to write and develop. Creating, improving and refining your script will be a lengthy process, and one which starts as you begin developing your tours, and evolves over time.
Below are our basic tips for developing a solid tour script that will keep attendees engaged and having fun.
Keep It Entertaining
The number one rule for a great script is to make sure to keep it entertaining. The last thing you want are tour attendees getting bored and distracted. On tours that involve activities (like food tastings) it can be easy to think that the script can take a back seat. However, most people going on tours are looking for a full-on experience, and that includes an entertaining guide.
So how do you keep it entertaining?
- Work in tasteful humor
- Keep things fun & playful
- Work in wittiness where appropriate
- Where possible work in facts that are particularly fascinating and/or not widely known
Have a Strong Introduction & Conclusion
Think of the start and end of your tour script as the book ends to your tour. You want to layout expectations for the day when you start and sum up the experience at the end.
This is the point at which your guide can set the tone for the tour, as well as layout any important rules for the day. It helps everyone get on the same page and ready to have fun. Furthermore, make sure to walk attendees through any guidebooks you have, how to use them and any other special calls-to-action, like how to share on social media from the tour.
Plus take this opportunity to help attendees get familiar with one another (especially if you give small-group tours). Pose an intro question to the group as an icebreaker and let everyone give introductions before getting on your way.
Try to remind your attendees what they accomplished for the day. We like to end our scripts by having everyone go through their favorite portion of the day. It’s a nice way to sum up the day, and remind people that they had a great time. Once again, be sure to call attention to any important items, or actions. For example, on food tours we remind them that they can return to the shops or vendors we visited throughout the day. Now is also the perfect time to remind attendees of any special discounts or referral programs.
Have Effective Transitions
You don’t want your guides abruptly changing topics throughout your tour for a few reasons; 1) It can be disorienting and difficult to follow, 2) It makes memorizing and giving presentations more difficult for your guides, and 3)
Effective transitions don’t only make topic changes more logical, they help your script carry a common thread throughout. It’ll help your attendees remember key facts, and help the tour make sense as it progresses. Transitions should be added into the script at major topic changes or when moving from one location to the next.
Keep It Grounded In Fact
Your script should aim to stick in the realm of factual commentary rather than opinion. Not only will this keep things neutral, but it also let your attending form their own conclusions about their experience.
Check Those Facts
Always check your facts to ensure accuracy. If any of your facts are more timely be sure re-check them sporadically to make sure numbers or stats haven’t changed.
Pithiness Is Your Friend
People’s attention spans dwindle pretty quickly in general, and as the tour goes on attendees will start to lose focus and concentration. To avoid losing them keep their attention span in mind when writing sections of commentary and presentations. For example if you’ve just finished a long historical story, cap it off with something pithy.
Have A Good Ratio Of Content
With a tour like food tours, where there’s a central activity at hand, we like to have a good ratio of information built around the activity. Keeping presentations varied makes them interesting, while still staying on point. You don’t want to end up veering too far off from the subject at hand.
We hate to tell you this, but your script is never really done. There will always be opportunities to add new information and make improvements or adjust based on how your guides are presenting your script. You’ll find as you begin your tour you’ll learn new tidbits from your guides, vendors and even your participants. We recommend on initial writing you go through extensive revisions and then re-visit the script at least once a season for maintenance.
If you’re a tour operator, what are your tips for the perfect script? Or if you’re a travel, we want to know what you find most engaging about the tours you take. Let us know in the comments or tweet us @foodtourpros!