Guide Training & Interpretation Plans
A group of people standing on top of a lush green hillside

Guide Training and Developing Interpretation and Commentary Plans

Guiding skills are not just part of the skill set of those that guide visitors in the New Zealand. Coach, cab, and shuttle drivers all talk with visitors about the area they travel through and share interesting and captivating stories as well as answer those 101 questions that tourists seek answers for. We can offer a wide range of “training and support” opportunities.

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What we can offer

First up, we offer a free initial consultation to uncover opportunities we can work with you on. These opportunities may include:

Interpretation Delivery Plan

Writing an interesting and informative Interpretation delivery plan or commentary, including stories, supportive information, what to do/say when etc.

Review Current Plan

Reviewing your present commentary or Guide Interpretation Plan, suggesting changes, and refreshing the plan with updated information and new stories.

Workshop to Develop Guiding Toolbox

A Guide workshop covering such areas as The Interpretation Plan, Themes, Story Telling and developing a "Guiding Toolbox".

In-depth Workshop

A more in-depth workshop addressing identified areas that may need attention such as Looking at the present Interpretation Plan (Commentary), Writing an Interpretation Plan, Group management, creating scenarios, Customer involvement techniques, A Trip Commentary Plan, Dealing with individual interests etc.

Guides and Drivers Induction Workshop

A workshop with new guides and drivers as part of their Induction programme. This would cover the existing plan in place, Do’s and don’ts for guides to be aware of, Story Telling etc. This would cover similar areas outlined above but have a real focus on developing confidence and evolving into a gold standard guide.

Mystery Shop Program

A program based on us having carried out a bespoke mystery shop experience which may identify specific areas that could do with some attention. Management may have identified a specific guide they feel would benefit from receiving some extra training or they may want us to experience a couple of different guide experiences and identify “general” areas that need some attention.


Help you develop brochures, Interpretation panels and information boards.

Specific Requirements

You may have a specific requirement associated with your guides, drivers etc. that you would like us to address.
Free Initial Consultation

Looking for some help?
Do contact us for a free initial consultation and to see if we can meet your needs.

Why choose Tourism IQ to help develop your Interpretation and Commentary plan and your guide’s skills?

Guiding is a passion of mine (John). I have had experience in nature, wine, education and tour guiding for over 20 years and still guide today when time and the opportunity allows.

My guiding experiences include…

  • Real Journey's Head Nature Guide.(Developing interpretation plans and trained the company nature guides, coach drivers, and skippers giving commentary.
  • Central Otago wine guiding for Appellation Central Wine Tours
  • Tour guiding for American groups traveling in the South Island
  • Guiding cruise ship groups on Ulva Island, Stewart Island
  • Guided day walks on the Routeburn and in the Queenstown, Wanaka region.
  • Nature guide on the overnight and multi-day cruises in Fiordland and Stewart Island
  • Nature guide in the Arthurs Pass region.
  • Nature Guide and guest lecturer on the cruise ship, Celebrity Solstice.
  • Evaluating and assisting guiding operations in my role as a tourism business advisor for Qualmark New Zealand.
  • I currently guide various American University groups on their Study Abroard Programme in New Zealand. Such experiences include a 3-week study trip around the South Island involving tourism and sustainability lectures as part of their Sustainability in Tourism and Getting to know New Zealand programme.

I have also been involved in training guides for various tourism companies, including Real Journeys, Fiordland Jet, Terra and Tide, Fiordland Discovery, Go Orange, Rotoroa Island, and Stewart Island Experience as well as running a guide training program at Queenstown Resort College.

John gained the following tourism and guiding qualifications:

  • National Certificates in Tourism and Travel Level 3 NZQA
  • Guiding (Excursions) Level 3 NZQA.

Visitors often choose experiences that help them learn about new environments they are in or traveling through. As a guide, John provides an interpretative experience through his stories and other techniques to ensure visitors gain understanding, appreciation, and awareness of the natural environment, people, culture, and history of New Zealand. Good guiding skills also incorporate people skills, as clients don't care what the guide knows until they know that the guide cares. John believes that long after the experience is over and visitors are back home, they may forget what was said or done, but they will never forget how they were made to feel.

For those tourists seeking an in-depth interpretative activity, John ensures that the guide's experience is based around a theme with stories, observations, and interactions leading to a heightened interest and appreciation for the environment they have been in. To deliver such an experience, a well thought-out Interpretation Plan along with the guide's ability to create situations where their guests connect with and develop an understanding of the people and environments they are in is required. John suggests that when looking at an Interpretation Plan, the key is to look at what is delivered and ask the question..."So what?" If there is no good answer coming forth, then why are you saying/delivering that point? John also reminds us that some elements may be considered private and sensitive, and it's essential to ensure that stories and content shared have been approved by the appropriate iwi.

Learn more about John

Our Process for supporting tourism businesses

We provide a first up free consultation to ensure we can meet your needs
Together we develop a plan covering content, time frame, costs, and desired outcomes
We then implement this plan
We provide regular updates and offer fine tuning opportunities
On completion of the service, we provide an associated report