Hi. I’m Kelsey Tonner.
My goal is to help you become one of the most engaging, inspired, and out-of-this-world tour leaders on the planet.
But not just you: All tour leaders. Everywhere.
Have you ever had a teacher that transformed your life? A coach or mentor who opened your eyes to amazing new possibilities? Or how about a good friend who shared a once in a lifetime experience?
That’s what I think a world-class tour leader should do: Change people’s lives, open their minds to new discoveries and give them memories of a lifetime.
That’s why I started the Be a Better Guide Project, to give you the tools, guidance and support you need to create extraordinary experiences for your guests.
We also help with almost every aspect of running a successful and sustainable tour business. When tourism is done right it not only opens hearts and minds, it also protects the environment, preserves cultural heritage, and promotes the economic growth of local communities.
Here’s what I believe:
I believe all tour leaders, everywhere, can learn and benefit from one another – no matter where we are on the globe. Whether you call yourself a guide, a tour director, experience host, tour business owner, or even just a passionate local looking to share, we are all in the business of making memories.
Together, let’s raise the bar on what it means to create extraordinary experiences for travellers. Let’s change lives and create unforgettable experiences – just like those inspirational teachers, kind-hearted coaches and generous friends did for us.
What is the Be a Better Guide Project?
Simply put, we help tour businesses all over the world create, sell and market their experiences – plus provide coaching on delivering extraordinary service. The Be a Better Guide Project brings the world’s top tour leaders and tourism businesses together to learn from one another, share best practices, and build an online community.
We create, film, edit and produce short training videos that are available for free online, as well as develop PDF resources for tour and activity operators. We host a podcast, conduct interviews with industry thought leaders, offer free online workshops and do everything we can to help tour businesses succeed.
What is the Be a Better Guide Academy?
Through our online academy we offer premium online training programs for tour businesses, teams and individual guides. In these paid programs, we offer complete, step-by-step systems to lead extraordinary tours and share in-depth instruction on delivering ‘knock your socks off’ service.
We offer lessons on almost every aspect of running a successful and sustainable tour business and share tactics used by the world’s most successful tour and activity operators. To learn about why hundreds of tour businesses from over 35 countries around the world have enrolled in our paid programs – click here!
To learn more about me, Kelsey Tonner, or to find out what happens at Be a Better Guide.com, you may continue reading below.
Otherwise, learn more about our specific programs and services by selecting one of the following links:
So who am I??
I was raised along the pounding surf and rugged coastlines of Nova Scotia, Canada. All throughout my life I have been involved in leadership training, including attending dozens of regional, provincial and national leadership conferences around Canada.
During University, I fell in love with summer camps, and ended up working for eight years at various camps around Canada, the US and Australia.
I wrote and directed childrens’ activities, created extensive leadership programs and guided young adults on canoe, rock climbing and hiking trips into the wilderness.
After that I discovered one of the largest active travel companies in the world: Backroads Tours. I was hired and worked year round as a global trip leader, new guide trainer and trip development expert.
But here is why this matters to you:
As I progressed through my career as a tour guide, I had the opportunity to work with some of the most incredible tour guides on the planet. I got to see first hand, how many of these high-performers operated and how they were able to be so consistently adored by our clients.
Through observation, constructive feedback and hard work, I broke down their success, and strove to emulate their methods and techniques.
Was I a successful tour guide??
Over the last couple of years as a guide I led over 35 week-long trips in over 15 countries around the world. With over 350 individual guest reviews, I received an average score of 9.8 out of 10. Through determination, perseverance and hard work, I myself have finally grown and developed into an exceptional tour guide!
I say this not to brag, but only to show how effective these methods and techniques can be in growing into a better guide. I did not start out as an exceptional guide – not by a long shot – but by using this step-by-step methodology, I grew and developed more than I ever thought possible!
What happens at Be a Better Guide.com?
1) We create short, fun and practical tour guide training videos! We release these short clips completely for free and even throw in some PDF resources and cheat sheets along the way. In addition, the whole community chimes in with answers and helps one another out. You’ll find these discussions here under Free Training Videos.
2) These training sessions are also converted and distributed via our Be a Better Guide Podcast. To subscribe using your favourite podcast app or simply have a listen, head over to Beabetterguide.com/podcast
3) I track down and speak with world-class tour guides, industry leaders and tour operators – to find out what makes them tick, what we can learn from their stories and any advice they might have for us. These videos will be here under Interviews.
4) For those who aren’t interested in video, we occasionally write thought-provoking articles in our Written blog. Occasionally is the key word… = ) If you are interested in helping with the Be a Better Guide Blog, we’d love the support! Contact us to set up a chat.
For any of these projects and via any of the Be a Better Guide social media channels, I want to hear from you! Please feel free to share your stories, your challenges and your best practices with the whole community. Plus, if you’ve got any ideas on how we can grow or improve the Be a Better Guide Project – I would love to hear from you!
Wow, anything else you plan on doing??
You betcha. We are constantly polling the Be a Better Guide community and developing new training programs all the time!
Also, because we should all do our part to make the world a better place, we aim to create a Be a Better Guide Foundation. By rallying the Be a Better Guide community together, we hope to foster and support world-class guides in developing countries. As of right now, 10% of every Be a Better Guide transaction is ear-marked for charity.
As the foundation evolves, I hope to empower impoverished communities to use tourism and guiding as a sustainable way to transform their lives.
Well, that’s pretty much it!
I am so happy that you found this community. I heartily welcome you, and all of your team, to the Be a Better Guide Project.
Sign up below to become a member. It’s completely free and we need your special contribution!
"I am approaching my thirty-year mark as a guide and every offseason I take a class or course of some sort to attempt to improve my skills as a guide - and Kelsey's has been the best of them all! Tons of content and lots of tips to improve my tours."
"As a first time tour guide, I really needed some help understanding the important elements of being the best that I could be. Kelsey's training provided me with tips and tricks that I had not considered and gave me confidence that I was on the right track."
“Kelsey’s online training has really helped underpin our own training and coaching sessions. If you are looking for simple, clear ideas and actions on how to improve your guiding ability then I highly recommend checking out Be a Better Guide."
“Lead Amazing Tours has given us a structured approach to learning our industry and kicking off our business planning. The program has helped keep things in perspective and given us all the confidence we need to kick off our tour business. Thanks, Kelsey, for such a user-friendly educational resource!"
"Kelsey has EASILY the best training videos and material for tour guides, anywhere. Any time a guide comes to me for advice I just point them straight to Be a Better Guide"
"Be a Better Guide is an amazing initiative and a powerful tool for achieving excellency within the tourism industry. We’re proud to collaborate with Kelsey : his wonderful energy is just contagious!"