Last year I visited Berlin for 3 days. Some of you would say not enough to explore the city. Couldn’t agree more. Though, short on time but full of desire to dig deep into the city history. So, I decided to take two free walking tours in Berlin. The best decision I ever made!
Some of the world's most memorable moments can happen only on foot. Imagine taking hiking trips along a glacier in the Alps. Exploring secret side streets in a tiny French village. Or, walking down a rain forest path to a Costa Rican waterfall. You can experience this only on a guided walking tours.
You can take in the sights, sounds, scents, and scenery first-hand. And, get a close-up look at a local landscape and culture.
The Benefits of Walking Tours to Your Customers
Not only that, it offers exercise, fresh air but even an intimate perspective on the city.
Tour operators can tailor walks to suit every interest and level of fitness.
You can organize a culinary tour that involves easy strolling through small Italian villages. Or you'd rather challenge your customers with a week of mountain hiking in the Alpes.
Finally, walking is also a great way to lower carbon footprint. Think of that! You can offer a sustainable eco-tour, which sounds great in customers’ minds. Eco tours are getting very popular due to a growing number of environmentally conscious travelers.
Define Your Target Customer
Start planning a tour with a clear target audience in your mind. If it's families, then it should be shorter, stroller-accessible and have a focus on a very engaging tour guide.
If it's a fitness walk, then it can be a longer route. For example, 4-5 kilometers with frequent stops to look at wildlife and discuss the river's ecosystem and plans for it. Don’t forget to prepare refreshments at the end of the tour.
All your decisions should flow from an idea of who would be on the walk and what they would want to learn.
Remember, providing a unique experience for your customers will help your tour business to grow faster. The satisfied customer will most likely spread a good word about your business to his friends and on social media platforms. Imagine the free promotion for you!
The Know-It-All Tour Guide
Build tours around great tour guides. We have already talked about tour guides and what tour guide traits best appeal to travelers.
A tour guide needs to have a deep respect for the city’s history. In-depth knowledge of the city that pulls visitors into the city’s history and culture from the first moment. Showing travelers a side of the city, or any destination, only a local tour guide with in-depth knowledge can have, is the best practice.
No matter how much we love buildings, the fact is that people connect with people. So it’s good for a tour guide to have a few personal anecdotes ready. The walking tours are not all about education, it's a social activity and a form of entertainment. Keep that in mind.
Pick the Tour Site
Define the route that follows a logic course. If it's a historical tour, try to arrange it chronologically. For a nature-related walk, follow the edge of a river or an escarpment and avoid roads as much as possible.
Here are the questions that could help you:
- How many streets will you cover in your tour?
- Are there enough points of interest along the route?
- Can you cover this tour the planned time (1-2 hours)?
- Where will the group meeting point?
- Are you offering refreshments?
What is the Best Group Meeting Time
Don’t start too early in the morning. You don’t want to miss travelers who partied late in the night. Or families with children who need more time to get ready. You don’t want to start late in the afternoon and interfere with their dinner plans either.
Tell customers the group meeting time is 15-20 minutes before the tour actually starts. This is especially important if you're organizing your walking tour around a meeting or you’re having out-of-towners come in.
Pick the Right Starting and Ending Point
A perfect starting point would be easily accessible, by car or public transportation. Pick a convenient, logical starting point. Consider amenities near the start, such as washrooms, and places to pick up last-minute snacks and drinks.Some of the best places for you starting point could be town main square, main train station or some important building everyone can find and recognize easily.
Walking tour needs a beginning, a middle and an impressive end.
You might want to end your walking tours at a historic site, or somewhere where there’s an amazing view. Wherever you choose to end it, there should be a good transportation connection, and both food and liquid. This means your customers will be able to take refreshments and chill for as long as they choose to.
Test your Tour
Now, you have everything set and you’re ready to announce your tour, invite people and go. Make sure to memorize all the places and stops on the tour. Then go out and walk your tour. But, before you do that, test your route with some family or friend first. Invite your friends and family to go with you and present them the tour. That way you will get an insight how would it look like with your first customers.
People walk more slowly in groups than they do alone. They like to talk along the way. And, they stop to take photos. You will have to push people along a bit. Do it in a nice and funny way to make your customers laugh and to keep the spirits up on your tour!
People will remember your tour by they felt on it, and, well, that depends on you. Read more about tour guide traits that appeal best to travelers.
Let Them Hear about Your Tour
We are living in the digital era. Word-of-mouth is very important. And, most travelers rely on rankings and reviews on the internet when choosing a tour or activity to go to.
Spread the word about your walking tours through social media. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, will help you raise awareness. Take photos of your tour and invite customers to share it on their social media. That way you will reach the greatest number of potential customers.
Learn more about how you can grow your social media fan base by collecting and sharing your customers’ authentic photos. Great way to let more people know about your amazing walking tours!
Online Services to Help You Promote Your Tour
Also, there are great online services to promote your tours and drive more fans to your website to make an online booking.
The Orioly online booking software enables you to add your social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter) on it. Then, you can schedule posts and tweets for future publication. You can include “Book now” button into your social posts.
List your tour on websites such as Tripadvisor, Yelp, or Gogobot. These are travel industry giants and you want to collect reviews about your tour through them.
This is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
The easiest way to show your customers you care is by sending a follow-up email. It can be as simple as a “thank you” note with photos from the tour you took of them. Building good reviews is important for your business.
In the end, whether you choose to start a food tour or a hiking tour, what matters is - this is a marathon, not a sprint. So, pace yourself accordingly and try to defer yourself from other tours in your area.
Hope this article will encourage you to start a walking tour! Feel free to invite us to it once you start it 🙂 Also if you have more questions or comments, contact us or share it right here.
Pass the article to your friends and share it on your social media channels!