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Seb Anthony

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Site Tour


As a Training Officer with a large manufacturing company employing well over 1000 people, one of my tasks is to organise a number of site tours. The idea is to give these individuals an insight into the size of the business and an appreciation of our manufacturing processess. The people involved are Agents who sell our product throughout the UK, most of whom will have little knowlege of how we operate. I already carry out the time honoured departmental visits including meeting some key individuals. Does anybody have some innovative ideas I could use to enliven what is at the moment a fairly mundane site tour? Your thoughts would be much appreciated.

15 Responses

  1. Egg hunt

    Personally haven’t been in this situation so my response might be simplistic and totally impossible but:

    Given that Easter has just passed, why not try an egg hunt;

    Decide on a number of key places that the visitors must go to. Give them a starting point and and explanation that they have to find (with a guide) their way around the complex by answering questions (product/location specific) which gives them route to the next location. Make the questions cryptic, I do this for my kids as a poem. Each location has the clue to the next location, so the visitor has no idea where they are going. To re-enforce the learning about the locations, have a couple of questions on each that they must find out, from say the key people they must meet. Perhaps have a prize for the person/team that gets the most right.

    Hope this helps.


  2. Site Tour
    Have you tried producing a handout/flow chart of the production process with facts and figures, key points and maybe some humorous diagrams which could be given to your clients to accompany the tour or Audio/visual or interactive elements at strateagic points of the tour.

  3. Site tour
    Have you tried getting your trainees together for a short overview of the site in a plenary session. Then ask them to design a tour for themselves with key facts they need to obtain from each location.You then get the tour from the delegates and a guaranteed different result each item but one tailored to need

    Good luck


  4. virtual fun
    Hi Colin,

    You could add an interactive virtual preview, prior to the “real tour”. This could be projected onto a plasma screen for visual impact, and could involve short, lively segments of video, audio and animation giving “highlight” information and visuals of each significant sector, bringing out visitor (customer?) benefits as well as special features which might not be visible to the unprompted eye. This gives the tour guide the benefits of being able to adapt the (virtual) tour to specific interests, and of being able to watch and gauge audience reactions on each segment. For some visitors, it could short-circuit a lot of leg-work – for others it could provide a bright overview before the nitty-gritty viewing ..

  5. A mystery tour?

    I think you could learn a lot from the tours you find at castles, living museums, theatres and even ghost and poetry tours. One thing you can do is brief the people in the departments you visit to each tell their own story. How about having a factory ghost pop up from time to time?

    The main points that spring to mind are:

    They tell a story and engage the people and places along the tour as part of that story.

    There is always an air of mystery – often a ghost story.

    They have recurring characters who tell or even enact parts of the story.

    They take you on an emotional ride, not just a factual one. What emotions do you want to instill in your audience? Awe? Amazement? Curiosity? Surprise? Pleasure?

    I suggest you start with the emotions, then plan a route through the site that supports that emotional journey.

    If you look at the maps for amusement parks, they make the place look like fun – not just an aerial layout.

    Seriously, go to a local tourist attraction and take the tour – learning some lessons from them.

    Who knows – you might even have to start charging for entry!

    good luck


  6. incentives
    Hi, not my speciality, but as the majority of your tourists are sales people, I woudl probably offer some incentive. This may involve a quiz based on attractions visited during the tour, you might want the key personnel to deliver some specific facts that can be asked about later, or ensure that all features and ebenfits are spotted througout and the most accurate list of f&b’s gets the prize.
    Hope it helps

    Paul Fay

  7. How about a contest?
    Provide each ‘tourist’ with a Q&A sheet, attractively designed into which certain details of their observations have to be entered eg, how many English Electric generators were in the power plant? Have a prize … free company pen, helmet, tie, cup, bottle of bubbly etc and encourage them to write the clues down as they go. ‘How many tonnes per square metre does the crusher exert?’

    Interaction is the key to reducing routine as is a bit of fun.

  8. Work with actors
    Agreeing with Peter Freeth’s idea that the tour should involve telling stories – I’d suggest you talk to a theatre company or drama based trainers who could put together some surprising and creative experiences which would make the information and images memorable – also giving your agents a story of their own to tell when selling your products. If you need to talk to somebody you could contact us (if based in the north) on ( or your local Arts & Business office (

  9. Site Tours
    Agree with Robin Henry. If those taking part need to find out specific information and this can only be gained by watching carefully or asking the right kind of questions – it should liven it up for everyone. Competition is good or just an answer sheet to take round with them – as long as it does not create a H&S problem!

  10. Ford charges for tours
    For entertainment value, can’t beat Ford’s new Rouge plant in Detroit. They show a short video of the history of the factory (the original Ford plant was on the same site), and the design of the new one (includes a roof-top lawn). Then you are treated like a car in a 360-degree theater, complete with welding flashes and the smell of ozone, getting sprayed with “paint” (water finely sprayed into the theater), and heated up like baking on the paint. THEN you go on the factory tour, with a professional guide. There are kiosks around the production floor that describe the production phases you can witness there. THE ONLY APPLICATION I CAN SEE DIRECTLY FOR YOU WOULD BE TO FOLLOW THE PRODUCTION FROM RAW MATERIALS TO FINAL PRODUCT. You can learn more about the Ford Rouge tour at their website;

  11. Treasure Hunt!
    Along similar lines to all the suggestions already made – a treasure hunt ending somewhere rewarding like a bar/pub/cafe for lunch etc with free drink or similar incentive for those first back. Nice to get people to collect things along the way too – such as promotional materials etc

  12. Tips for site tours
    Have the visitors ‘be’ a piece of material. The first person they meet is the person recieving the material at its entry point to the site. He goes through the process of how they are received, stored and introduced the next production phase. Each part of the operational procees is explained in the same way. Get your operators and office staff to do the tour – they’ll love it and of course they know all about the process. Good for their development too.

  13. Site Tours
    Gosh you struck a cord Colin with all your many useful replies!
    Mine echoes years of site tours as MD for sales folk like yours (and most memorably school parties whose teachers regularly were overheard to say: ‘If you don’t behave yourselves, you’ll end up working here’!)
    My solution to all?
    Tell them first enough to help them understand the basic technical/operational difficulties. What makes you special? What are the challenges in the market place? Offer some case histories? Ask how they would solve them? Then show them the resource you have to overcome them and your solutions?
    Sales agents want to know they have chosen the best supplier, and then what causes you problems they can help avoid. Focus on these, not a ‘Cook’s Tour’??
    I personally wouldn’t want a quiz but hard, proven facts and information to support my sales efforts. More off line if you wish!

    You could combine it with an adapted induction process. Draw a concentric rings target. In the centre, place the new member of staff. in the next ring out, list the people/depts that this person will be working with directly and needs to develop a relationship with. Then in the next ring out, list the people/depts who would be helpful to know, not necessarily immediately, but over time. Then in the outer ring the staff/people/services they need to be aware of, but not necessarily in direct contact with. Then, set them some questions or even small projects that invite them to discover and bring back information that shows they have made contact and started a dialogue. The work they have to do is greater for the inner rings than the outer ones. The timing should reflect this, so that they come up with inner ring answers in the first week. Second ring answers in the first month and outer ring answers in the first 3 months. You can adjust this to suit. I am aware that this is much more work, however, it can be more effective and efficient in the long run. How many of us have felt that after a couple of weeks we still do not really know the value of who are contacts are inside a large organisation?

    Roger Pattison

  15. Site tours
    If you get bored with it, so will the visitors. Make it interesting by stopping at key points and ineracting with workers/supervisors (pre-warned!).Gives many different angles on the tour and is empowering for the staff to be part of it instead of inside the goldfish bowl.


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