In the last 30 years, there has been increasing application of the Delphi technique to tourism research. However, mystification regarding Delphi characteristics and procedures is evident in the literature. Through critical examination, this paper seeks to demystify the Delphi and advance understanding of the technique, contribute to the evolution of methodological guidelines, and provide further guidance to tourism researchers. A generic Delphi procedure is introduced, a critical review of its advantages and potential problems is presented, and critical design decisions are identified. Expert panel design and management are emphasised through example and critical review. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.