Building a Better Tour

How to Build a Successful Walking Tour Business

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October 4, 2021

How to Build a Successful Walking Tour Business

These days, tourists are looking for more from their travel experiences. From cultural exploration to sightseeing, they want something hands-on that dives deep into the hidden gems of their destination.

That’s where walking tours come in. A walking tour takes travelers on a guided exploration of their destination, showing them both the well-known spots and the lesser-known attractions while offering all the insider knowledge about the city.

But in a market where tourists have no shortage of offerings to choose from, it takes a lot to stand out. To earn your way to five star success, you need to build your tour the right way. Here are a few tips to generate buzz and establish your reputation as the best in town.

1. Find Your Niche — And Make It Unique

No matter the size of your city, there are probably already dozens if not hundreds of other tour experiences. To make an impact, you need to offer travelers something that they can’t get anywhere else.

That means first honing in on a niche that you want to explore. A great walking tour can take many different shapes — it can focus on the history of the city, explore the museums and street art, walk through the architectural wonders, or even investigate rumors of the paranormal.

Once you have a niche, then it’s time to deliver a unique experience that will delight your customers. This can look like:

  • Exploring places that go off the beaten path
  • Bringing a new perspective to the experience that tourists haven’t heard before
  • Going to hands-on attractions to keep your travelers busy
  • Using unique stories, games, and songs to keep the group engaged
  • Incorporating a humorous or dramatic tone throughout the tour

2. Do Your Research (Thoroughly)

With low operating costs and high demand, a walking business tour can be a great business opportunity. But that doesn’t mean you can jump into the market without being fully prepared.

First, you need to understand your potential customers and the market they're in. Ask yourself:

  • Who are they? (Age, gender, background, interests)
  • What problems do they have that my tour could solve?
  • What do they look for in a walking tour?
  • What can my tour offer them that my competition can’t?

Once you have a sense of the market — and where you fit in the picture — you need to be clear on the requirements for starting the business in the workplace. Do you need to meet certain health and safety requirements? What are your state or country’s regulations on operating a walking tour? Do you know how to get licensed and/or registered?

And finally, it’s time to take a look at the cost. The good news is that a walking tour business won’t cost much money upfront. And if you or people in your circle can handle the role of tour guide, you won’t need to hire people in the beginning either.

The main cost will likely go towards marketing your business. Especially in the beginning, you’ll need to put in some effort to get your name out there and start getting consistent bookings.

3. Fine Tune the Tour Guide Script

It should go without saying, but a great tour isn’t just about where you go to visit. It's about how the tour guide takes you through the experience.

Whether you’re handling the tour yourself or you’re hiring staff, you need to perfect your walking script. Being a tour guide is more of an art than a science, but it still takes proper planning and practice. You need to know how to fill the awkward silences, make conversation with your tour group, and break down chunks of information in an organized and entertaining way.

While preparation is important, don't stick too closely to the script. You want to sound experienced and prepared, but not rehearsed. If the script starts to get too stiff, you can always change up the wording. Dig into your own off-the-cuff expertise about the attractions instead of relying on your notes.

4. Set Up a Presence Online

Once the tour itself is ready to go, it’s time to market your new business. There are plenty of different marketing opportunities out there, but if you’re not marketing online, you could be missing out on a huge audience.

Today more than ever, travelers are turning to the Internet to do their research before a trip. Marketing and selling your tour online is the best way to grab their attention as they start to put together their trip itineraries.

Setting Up a Website

Having a solid tour website where customers can turn to learn more about what you offer is a critical first step. Your website is an opportunity to show off your brand’s voice, highlight positive reviews, and outline what makes your tour unique.

Starting Social Media Accounts

Posting content on social media can give you access to so many travelers who are already on those platforms — at no cost to you. Starting an account on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, Twitter, or more can help you reach those customers and attract them to your business.

Adding a Booking System

Once you’ve grabbed the attention of your target audience, you want to make sure they take the next step and book. This means setting up an online booking system to convert your social media and search engine exposure into actual clients.

Getting Your Walking Tour Off the Ground

Building a successful walking tour business is all about preparation. If you do your research, put together an unforgettable tour, and push all the right buttons to market your services, you can get your new business up and running. It might take time to rise to the top, but with the right strategies, you can make your mark as a reputable and highly rated attraction.

To maximize your marketing efforts and stay ahead in a competitive market, you need a seamless booking system to get new customers through the door. At Junglebee, our booking software makes it easy for customers to make their reservations right on your website. Want to know more about how it works? Contact us today to get started!

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