Tour Director Coaching & Certification Training

Learn Skills, Gain Confidence, Build Connections, and Receive the Credentials to Get Hired and Start your Dream Travel Career!
If you are ready to take your tour guiding skills to the next level and get hired to lead groups to multiple destinations, you are in the right place!

While a Tour Guide is an expert in one particular area, a Tour Director is in charge of a group of people throughout a multi-day experience and is a master of many trades. A Tour Director wears many hats and has quite a few skills to perfect. That is exactly what this training experience is all about!

A Tour Director is a representative of a Tour Company who provides the guest with the experience of a lifetime. Great Tour Directors make the job look effortless and easy, however, it is anything but that at the beginning.  

This world-class training program will prepare you to give tours ANYWHERE in the world, whether you’ve been there or not. 

By taking this training you will learn:

  • What to expect from a Tour Operator when you get hired.
  • ​How to sign a contract with a Tour Operator properly.
  • ​How to plan both engaging commentary and filler material.
  • How to effectively meet guests at a Welcome Desk and Welcome Event.
  • ​How to quickly and easily remember guest’s names.
  • ​How to prepare for your pre trip briefing.
  • ​The latest travel procedures and COVID protocols to keep everyone safe.
  • ​How to review timing charts and turn-by-turn routing directions for commentary. 
  • ​How to use Google and other websites and apps as tools to plan your tours.
  • How to find and manage restrooms, photos, and other important stops on tour.
  • ​How to use a Tour Operator "Technical" to plan the details of your tour.
  • ​How to get 5-Star reviews on your tour guest evaluations and get rehired.
  • How to locate hospitals, pharmacies, ATMs, and grocery stores where you are. 
  • ​When to use the right "Filler Material" to keep your guests entertained to buy you time.
  • ​How much to talk and when keep quiet on a long road trip.
  • How to work with your drivers and vendors and what to do if there are problems.
  • ​How to properly confirm reservations for hotels, attractions, and transportation.
  • ​How to plan a welcome event and run a welcome desk when guests check-in.
  • ​The typical questions guests ask before, during, and at the end of your tours.
  • ​What technology you are expected to know and use on tour.
  • ​How to utilize Google maps and customized Google My Maps to impress guests.
  • How to handle guest complaints and deal with angry guests or vendors.
  • ​The right strategies to keep track of guests and their luggage from city to city.
  • How to help guests feel safe and comfortable on tour with new people.
  • ​How to properly handle guests who are always late or uncooperative.
  • What to do if someone gets lost, sick, injured, or passes away on tour.
  • ​The things you should never do on tour that will get you fired.
  • How to safely evacuate a motorcoach in case of an emergency or breakdown. ​
  • ​Why seat rotations are important and how to do them correctly.
  • ​How to utilize personal listening devices effectively on tour to help guests hear.
  • ​How to work professionally with step-on guides and other local and national guides.
  • How to safely and effectively use the microphone on a moving vehicle.
  • ​The proper etiquette, attire and expectations from tour guests and employers.
  • ​How to sell optional experiences without being pushy and salesy.
  • ​How to coordinate multi-bus moves with other Tour Directors and drivers.
  • ​How to properly communicate with Tour Operators while on tour.
  • ​How to handle special dietary and dining needs when options are limited.
  • ​How to smoothly manage the hotel check-in process for a bus full of guests.
  • ​How to account for money, submit invoices, and get paid by your tour company.
  • ​How to handle mistakes with grace and still deliver excellent guest experiences.
  • ​How to use the right tools to better understand and work with guests on tour.
  • ​​What to do in case of a natural disaster, accident or civil unrest during a tour.
  • ​How to meet up with your tour groups at the airport or hotel.
  • And much much more!!!
    Thanks to ITMI, my dream travel career is a reality! 

    Meenoy Kemball, ITMI Graduate 2019

    “The day I read about ITMI and their travel director program, I felt a clear recognition and calling zing through my being. 

    ITMI was the last bit I needed ... to continue on this ever-changing road to becoming a successful Travel Leader. 

    Since graduating, I've landed travel jobs with 2 of the top tour companies!

    How does this training program work?

    There are three parts to the Tour Director Coaching and Certification Program lead by two Master Instructors.

    PART 1


    You will receive access to the online portal where we will introduce essential concepts through lessons, training videos, interviews, articles, assignments and more to build the foundation of your training. 

    This is an invaluable resource and tool for you to use before, during, and after your in-person training experience.

    PART 2


    Four weeks before your In-Person Field Training, we will begin live online classes. During these 3 scheduled classes, you will be working together with your instructors and peers to plan commentary and logistics of the Field Training experience. You will also have a post class on the intricacies of international tours and get started with our career launch pad during another online session.

    PART 3


     This is a hands-on immersive learning experience simulating a real-life tour. You will be training on a motorcoach and throughout various destinations along the way on an over-the-road trip where you will put all the knowledge you've learned into practice with the help of your ITMI instructors.

    California Coast

     Field Training Tour


    Next Tour Director Certification Training Starts...

    00 Years 00 Months 00 Weeks 00 Days 00 Hours 00 Minutes 00 Seconds

    Aug. 30th 
    Online Self-Study Starts

    Sept. 8th, 13th, 22nd
    Live Online Classes

    Sept. 27th - Oct.1st
     In-Person Field Training

    Oct. 6th 
    Career Launchpad Opens

    Oct. 13th
    Optional International Class


    Contact us at TRAVEL@ITMISF.COM with any questions.
    Limited spots available!

    What is Included in this Certification Training Program:

    • Lifetime Access to the Online Training Portal with over 80 lessons, videos, tools, check lists
    • 3 live Online Classes with Master Instructors to prepare for the in-person field training
    • ​1 Post Online Class-Career Launchpad & 1 Post International Class
    • 4 hotel nights, welcome reception, some meals, and attraction fees
    • 5 days instructor-led hands-on tour simulation, including a 5-day field training workshop on a motorcoach
    • World-class team of instructors with 100+ years of combined professional tour experience
    • ​Official ITMI Tour Director Certification to help open doors to many career opportunities
    • ​Group of lifelong friends and colleagues to support your career success

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How is this training different from the Tour Guide Certification or other programs?
    This is a unique immersive training experience where you will learn and practice on a real-life simulation tour. This will be a hands-on learning experience that will prepare you for almost any situation you will encounter on tour and give you the confidence to lead group tours to multiple destinations anywhere.

    Am I required to attend all the online classes?
    Because every class builds on the next to prepare you for the in-person field training, we strongly recommend that you make it to every class.

    What are the dates and times for the online training classes?
    The 5 classes will be held over Zoom from 4:00pm - 5:00pm Pacific / 7:00pm - 8:00pm Eastern(3pre and 2post). Specific dates will be announced once you are accepted and enrolled in the program.

    When does the actual Field Training start?
    We will begin Day 1 with a full day local city tour and motorcoach safety training. Followed by a by a welcome briefing and reception training.

    When will the field training finish?
    The training will conclude on Day 5. Our tour ends with a drop at the Los Angeles airport (LAX) at approximately 5:00-5:30 pm (traffic dependent). Please do not make any domestic flight arrangements prior to 7:00 pm.

    Does the field training include airfare?
    No, you are responsible for arriving to San Francisco and departing Los Angeles for the training.

    Will I need to pay for my hotels?
    The lodging for the Field Training includes 4 hotel nights (San Francisco, Monterey, Solvang). If you would like to stay extra nights in Los Angeles or arrive early in San Francisco, lodging will be on your own. 

    Can I arrive early or stay after the training?
    If you wish to spend additional nights at the beginning or end of your training tour, please email for assistance. A pre and post night package will be offered at an additional cost, which will provide additional training opportunities.

    What if I want my own hotel room?
    All pricing has been calculated on a double occupancy basis, if you wish to have your own room, a single supplement will apply and is available as hotel space permits. You may email if interested.

    What transportation is provided?
    You will travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles and train aboard a professional motorcoach to ensure your safety and comfort for an enjoyable ride.

    What is the appropriate dress attire?
    Business casual attire is required. Shorts, tee shirts will not be acceptable.

    How will luggage be handled?
    We ask that you keep to a reasonable weight of 44 – 50 pounds. Max 1 baggage and 1 carry-on. You will be responsible to have your luggage to the motor-coach 30 minutes prior to departure, unless porterage service is included with a designated pick-up time.

    What gratuities will I be responsible for?
    Gratuities for porters and included meals have been included with your training. It is customary in our industry to leave gratuities for housekeeping, local guides, and drivers (at your discretion). There is no need to tip your ITMI Instructors for your training.

    What if I need to cancel?
    Once you have confirmed your attendance for this training trip, reservations will be made with all suppliers. Any cancellations made 31 days or more prior to start date of the trip, will be subject to a $350 per person penalty. All cancellations made within 30 days of departure are non-refundable and non-transferable. Travel insurance is STRONGLY recommended to help protect your investment in this trip (check travel insurance terms for coverage).

    Do I need travel insurance?
    Unexpected situations can come up when you travel. To protect your health and safety we strongly recommend purchasing trip insurance. ( ) ITMI is not in the insurance business so must rely on an insurance company (administrator) and a separate underwriter(s).

    Will I need to sign any documents to attend the field training?
    All students traveling will have to sign two important agreements. By signing the "Travel Well Pledge", you assume personal responsibility for your own health, to help protect the well-being of fellow travelers, the ITMI Team, our supplier partners and the places we visit. By signing the Waiver of Liability, you assume all risks in the unlikely event you are exposed to, or infected by, COVID-19.

    Will you provide any COVID testing for the field training?
    To ensure your safety and comfort a pre / post COVID test will be required at no cost to you. You must confirm a negative test within 5-days of the departure and end of your trip. ITMI has partnered with Inspired Diagnostics, who will be sending test kits to your home with instructions on how to do the test and a postage-paid envelope to return to them for testing. Results will be available usually between 24-48 hours. Additional information will be sent to you in a separate email.

    What rules or guidelines will I be expected to follow?
    We have worked diligently to craft your tour experience in accordance with local laws and guidelines for health and safety including social distancing, face (mask) coverings, capacity controls and COVID-19 testing. Each member of the ITMI team has been trained in enhanced protocols and safety guidelines and will participate in a personal health screening before engaging with guests / passengers. Our commitment to is ensure everyone feels welcomed, cared for and safe. Note that guidelines and protocols are constantly changing and it is the responsibility of the traveler/student to keep updated on any changes both at home and the locations visited on this tour.

    Your "ITMI Advantage"

    As an ITMI graduate, you have the "ITMI Advantage" with your education and training. Because ITMI has been partnering with Tour Companies for more than 40 years, we know what skills and experiences these companies are looking for when hiring tour leaders. With this knowledge, we continue to update our training and curriculum so that our graduates become the most sought after candidates in the industry.

    Mary Ellen Pauli

    Senior Director of Course Leaders

    WorldStrides is the largest Educational Student Travel company in the United States. 
    In this audio clip, Mary Ellen shares why she hires ITMI graduates.

    More than 1,000 travel Companies have Hired ITMI Graduates to Lead their Tours

    95% OF ITMI Graduates get hired by Travel companies!

    Over the last 43 years, ITMI has been building trusted relationships with hundreds of tour companies around the world.
    Of the 8,000+ ITMI graduates worldwide, many have gone on to become hiring managers for top tour companies and now hire ITMI grads. In addition, countless other ITMI graduates have started and operated their own successful tour companies looking to hire ITMI graduates.

    Meet Scott

    "Today was my last day in the office at my current job and I have been reflecting on the events of the last four months. It has been a bit hectic having one foot in my “old life” while trying to prepare for my “new life”, and yet it has been very exciting and rewarding too. 

     I recently attended the two-day tour company training/interview. It was so very easy to tell which folks were ITMI graduates and which were not. I don’t say that in a boastful or “we’re better than you are” kind of way, but rather as an acknowledgment of all that you taught us.

    The ITMI folks simply came to the table with a better tool set and a better understanding of what was expected of them. That is a testament to each and every one of our instructors. Several members of our class were there and we were all talking about how well the training class had set us up for success. You truly practiced what you preached—you turned us on then turned us loose. And you have continued to guide us in countless ways.

    You really taught, lead, and empowered us in so many ways. We still have so much to learn and yet, we have such a wonderful foundation on which to anchor that learning. A very heartfelt and sincere thank you to each and everyone who helped teach me and my fellow classmates. It is so very much appreciated."

    Scott Smiley, ITMI Graduate 2019

    Landed jobs with both WorldStrides and EF Explore America

    Meet ITMI graduates who are living their dream travel career...

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