Tour Commentary: Many times, you must have experience of listening great leaders. When they speak, each and every word of their speech has some meaning and we can recall their message. We like to listen to them. May be due to their quality of knowledge, oratorship, style of speaking and command over language.

When there is coverage of some subject through voice or speaking mode and people listening feel captivated and impressed, it is an example of good commentary.  It is the basic job of a tour guide to research the place, develop story line, and rehearse it again and again. 

Being a tour guide see light and sound show. It is a good method to learn commentary made by a novice tour guide. Light and sound show gives you the best idea to develop commentary. Do not copy it. Try to come out with the best commentary in your style and idiosyncrasy, 

The Commentary is information exchange about the place, product, attraction, happenings, related stories, facts and figures etc. Commentary must have flow of information from tour guide to the audiences. Commentary must be in positive tone. Commentary must be in steps.

You must remember that commentary help people to understand and appreciate what they actually see. Many students seek adventure through tours. They can begin with the basic information and plan a tour and tour commentary. They can learn effective touring and tourist psychology, group dynamics and other practical challenges by the course of time.

Steps of Tour Tour Commentary

  1. Creating atmosphere
  2. Talking around the topic
  3. Core commentary
  4. Summarizing commentary
  5. End of commentary 

Also read Job of a Tour Guide

1. Creating atmosphere

Start your commentary with meeting and greeting with the tourist. Use light words. Try to engage them in talks with you. Try to catch attention of clients. Welcome them warmly. 

2. Talking around the topic

Talk about their country, your country, weather, political scenario, celebrities, something special about the place etc. 

In the beginning, we must introduce the tourist place. If your are starting from hotel, talk about the city, its population, economy, political scenario, celebrities, movies, handicraft, specialty of the place, food, fun points, festivals etc.

3. Core commentary 

After reaching at the monument, tour guide must show top visual priorities (TVPs) means important things catching attention of the tourists. Explain them each and every part of the destination. Tell them the background. For example: if you have taken tourists to Qutub Minar.

Tell them about the nearby places to the Qutub Minar. Why it was constructed? If you are at Humayun Tomb. Tell them about the people gathered during the time of construction, market place for them, and their life style. Core commentary means tell the tourists about structure of Qutub Minar. Architectural details of Qutub Minar. Unfinished toward and why it was constructed?

4. End of commentary

A tour guide must ask queries of group members before concluding the commentary. Some up commentary with the concluding note. At the end, sum up your note. Connect it with the present context. 

Important points to remember in commentary

There are a number of clues to improvise the commentary. Main points are:-

Also read Present status of Tour Guides

  • Promote your country

Never ever criticize your country during commentary making. Highlights achievements. 

  • Educational but not boring

Your commentary should be informative, captivating, not boring. It must create interest if group members. It should be able to bind all the group members. 

  • Informative but not overwhelming

Do not overwhelm during commentary making. Try to give more and more information. 

  • Good stories

Include good stories in your commentary. Stories must be from the local area.  Information should be delivered in manner that must be interesting to the guest Commentary must be presented in such a manner, so that, it must create interest among group members. There should be humor in the commentary. Do not be stressful while commentary making. Also, do not create stress among group members. 

  • Use simple words 

Use simple words while making commentary. Words of your language (not the language of tourist) must be pronounced properly and tell them meaning of local words. For example: what is Dwarpal (usually found in palaces/ temples)

Also read Role of a Tourist Guide

  • Get confirmation remark

When I was a child, my grandmother used to tell me stories of Panchatantra. I had to say ‘yes’ after each sentence. It was the acknowledgement that I am listening her. So, try to confirm that group members are able to understand what you are speaking. 

  • Give pause when required
    • Speak louder
    • Use both the hands 
    • Facial expressions

Elements of a Tour commentary 

A tour guide must prepare a commentary having following arts:-

  • Introduction
  • Presentation
  • Closing
  • Steps how to make commentary
  • Start with greeting or introduction
  • Sense of humor must be part of the information
  • Draft tour commentary related information
  • Present scripted commentary
  • Respond to queries raise by customer
  • Modify scripted commentary in response to unexpected events
  • Identify the commentary information that needs to be conveyed 
  • Keep proper tone while making commentary
  • Volume must be appropriate. If volume will be very high, you will not be able to continue for long time. If it is too low. People cannot listen you.  
  • Rate of speech must be appropriate roughly 125 words per minute. 

Also read Tour Guiding

Types of commentary 

  1. Scripted commentary
  2. Non-scripted information

A scripted commentary must have:-

  • Draft commentary
  • Trail/ practice the draft
  • Revise and refine the draft according to the group
  • Practice the simulated commentary
  • Present it 

How to prepare and present tour commentary to the tour group

A tour commentary refers to information provided by the Tour Guide to the tour group members as part of the tour.

  • Preparing tour commentary information.
  • Prepare draft script for commentary that needs to be conveyed to the tourists/ group members.  
  • Trial draft script 
  • Revise draft scripts
  • Learn ancillary information
  • When you are preparing a tour commentary information:
  • Realize that there is a scripted element plus an unscripted component to all commentaries.
  • Identify tour group, if possible, and their requirement, wants and preferences.
  • Prepare new commentaries for all custom/ private tours
  • Use established and approved scripts for the commentaries for regular/ schedule tours.
  • Activities involved in preparation of a scripted commentary:-
  • Research the tour
  • Check the advertising/ promises made
  • Know/ learn the route
  • Involve/ get input from others
  • Demonstrate the skills and knowledge necessary to guide tours

Also read Walking Tour

Activities involved in preparing a scripted commentary:-
  • Research the tour 
  • Check the advertising/ promises made
  • Know/ get input from others
  • Preparing tour commentary information 
  • Performance criteria for this elements are:-
  • Find out information to be conveyed through country. 
  • Research on the collected information. 
  • Classify it keeping in mind the type of clients you have in your group. 
  • Develop a theme for the commentary information to be conveyed to the clients. 
  • Kinds of tour guides
  • Freelancer
  • Freelancer tour guide is working for many companies. 
  • Staff tour guide is connected with a travel agency and gets remuneration for services.
  • Develop themes for commentary and information to be delivered to the guest through commentary
Theme must be finalized on the basis of 
  1. Identified requirements of customer and 
  2. Characteristic of the tour group

How to make a tour commentary

  • Start with the smile, meeting and greeting, introduction. 
  • Brief about the tour. 
  • Review inclusions and exclusions. 
  • Tell them about distances and time taken for the tour. 
  • What is expected from the tour? 
  • Take necessary precaution. 
  • Do not miss important points/ landmarks/ place on the way. 
  • Announce short breaks/ comfort stops on the way. 
  • Always do the head count to ensure that all are in the group? 
  • In commentary we will give introduction. It will include population, climate, history, important places, agriculture, economy, distance of major cities, eminent personalities.
  • Dynamics of commentary
  • Commentary should be interesting. 

Also read Tour Guiding in a museum

Do’s and do not’s during commentary making 

Being a tour guide, you must present commentary in rhythm. Do not pause unnecessarily. Give emphasis on proper pronunciation. Always, face towards the group. Keep yourself motivated and smiling. 

Never ever fight with Driver or support staff during commentary making. Do not allow other staff to give commentary. It will create bad impression on the group members. 

Sense of humor

A quality of being amusing someone is known as humor. It is very important in tourism industry. A tour guide must have ability to appreciate mood and state of mind. A tour guide hav9ing good sense of humor is mostly popular among the group members.  

Tour Commentary