The Importance of EQ When Providing Custom Tours

Custom Tours or Curated Tours are where a travel agency or a travel service provider puts together a vacation experience based on particular traveler desires. For example, instead of the usual Eiffel Tower experience of viewing the structure from the inside, a traveler may want to consider the landmark from a hot air balloon. Furthermore, they may want to make a stop at the Arc de Triumph right after. The travel agent’s job is to make such an experience possible.

Not only do custom tour providers need to have a high IQ to be able to absorb, compartmentalize, and deliver at the right time the necessary information to their clients, but they also have to have a high EQ (Emotional quotient or emotional intelligence). High EQ enables tour operators or contacts people to dazzle clients with a heavenly experience and be able to read between the lines when necessary.

What is EQ?

Emotional intelligence is the degree to which one can skillfully perceive, use, understand, and manage emotions within oneself and in others.

What Are the Four Components of EQ and How Do They Relate to Custom Tours?

According to EQ experts Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, EQ is divided into two categories (personal competencies and social competencies) with four main components. They are 1) Self-Awareness, 2) Self-Management, 3) Social Awareness, and 4) Relationship Management. People will naturally be good at a few of these and lag in others. 

Contact people operating in custom tours need to maximize all four of these. However, the process doesn’t need to be daunting. We will discuss each component and outline a few strategies to improve each one of them.


Self-awareness is one’s ability to understand themself accurately. This includes an understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses, what they enjoy, what motivates them, as well as what pushes their buttons and drains them.

Strategies to Improve Your Self-Awareness Skills

Turn your inner eye towards the effects your emotions have on you. What sequence of events usually occurs after every emotion? Is there a pattern?

Ask people that know you well for feedback about yourself. Is what they describe you as consistent with how you perceive yourself? Only approach people that you know will be honest and direct with you for this.

Observe yourself under stress and pressure. Make a habit of journaling about challenging situations. Was your response to the situation justified in hindsight?


This skill builds on the previous skill of self-awareness and is concerned with how you use the insights from your self-awareness skill to produce positive outcomes and be flexible. It is how you manage your personality to guide your day-to-day actions. Self-management relies to a large extent on not giving in to your primal urges, whether it be short-term gratification or engaging in a conflict, and instead pursuing long-term goals and maintaining peace. This may sometimes come in the form of putting your immediate needs aside.

Strategies to Improve Your Self-Management Skills

Breathe properly at all times. Breathing right provides you with the necessary oxygen that many people forget and do without in stressful situations. That way, the mind can make more appropriate decisions, and negative emotions are quickly eliminated.

Weigh your emotions against your logical reason. Are your emotions in a particular situation justified? What are some of the facts? What are some other less turbulent explanations for the situation?

Delay acting on an emotion until you’ve adequately assessed the situation. Sometimes it’s just wise to sleep on it and give yourself the chance to gather all the details first, or better yet, journal about it. You’ll be surprised what missing details will find their way to you and how your decision-making will drastically change away from the heat of the moment.

Social Awareness

Social awareness is the ability to accurately perceive the human dimension of a situation and correctly gauge human emotions as they occur. Understanding cultural undertones and between-the-lines gestures is an indicator of someone who is high in social awareness.

Strategies to Improve Your Social Awareness Skills

Observe people’s body language. People may try to hide their true emotions, but their bodies will usually give them away, learn to understand people’s body language accurately. Nick Sarev runs a YouTube channel where he breaks down celebrities’ body language from recorded footage. He also has an entire course on Skillshare where he covers everything you need to know about body language in under an hour.

Watch films to study EQ, not just social awareness. Hollywood has blessed us with a timeless archive of endless human interactions and their EQ ramifications. Not a single archetype is left out.

Ask questions to ensure you perceive things correctly. Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in your thoughts. To ensure you don’t fall into analysis paralysis, compare your understanding of a situation with reality by asking a straightforward question about the situation to the people around you. 

Relationship Management

Just as self-management builds on self-awareness, relationship management builds on social awareness. It is how one uses their social awareness skills to produce positive outcomes in situations and fosters wholesome relationships. To some introverted characters, relationship management may come in the form of understanding that some relationships require more of your time and using that awareness to nourish those relationships or excuse yourself from spending time with those people tactfully. 

Strategies to Improve Your Relationship Management Skills

Avoid sending mixed signals. Be aware of situations where people can misunderstand you, and communicate to them what you truly mean, or carefully construct your words from the outset so no such miscommunication occurs in the first place.

Face difficult conversations head-on and accept constructive criticism. When there is conflict within the horizon, there is no need to delay the inevitable. It is usually better to handle these situations early on before they escalate. Be ready to make amends or accept the outcome of the situation maturely. Learning from these experiences is the biggest treasure life can give you.

Express anger on cue. Contrary to popular belief, anger is not to be disowned and exiled from your palette of emotions. However, it is to be controlled and only expressed in the right moments purposefully. In these kinds of situations, make sure you are calm and level-headed first and then express your anger. Situations where this is applicable are where injustice has occurred or where someone crosses major boundaries.

EQ Goes Far Beyond Dazzling Custom Tour Clients

Providing custom tours may very well mean a client asking for something that some may see to be an impossible feat to achieve. For example, organizing an excursion in a place that may be known to be inaccessible.

A person with a high EQ will be more likely to influence the decision-makers to make an exception and grant their clients access. Whether it be through making some kind of exchange deal or being perceptive enough to understand where the concern lies for the venue’s manager, and finding a solution that satisfies both parties, high EQ is highly important in situations like these.

Gulf Reps and Custom Tours

Gulf Reps is the leading travel and tourism representation company in the Middle East, with over 60 years of regional and industry experience. Specializing in directing the Arab traveler segment to your region or destination, we have served clients on six continents, delivering transformative results to everyone from hoteliers to tourism boards. Our mix of world-class marketing expertise, PR specialists, unparalleled connections and relationships, plus our eclectic mix of marketing channels makes working with Gulf Reps the only sure way to drive Middle Eastern tourists to your destination.

To find out more about our services, you can call us at +971 (0)4 703 6333 or write to us at