Historical Walking Tours: History & Hollywood Intertwined
Just a week before the Steven Spielberg film 'Lincoln' opens nationwide, the city of Richmond Virginia and the Richmond National Battlefield Park hosted a historical walking tour that retraced Abraham Lincoln's footsteps made in April 1865. We look at how a guided tour can intertwine prominent past events with popular culture to provide a history lesson and entertainment to increase ticket sales.
The darkest hour of American history was the Civil War. The nation was notoriously divided and most likely would not have survived if it was not for the leadership of the 16th president of the United States - Abraham Lincoln. When terrible war finally came to an end, Lincoln traveled across the Potomac river to the capitol of the defeated Confederacy.
U.S. President Abraham Lincoln arrived in the Confederate capital as it still smoldered. Fires set by Confederates as they abandoned the city the previous morning had raged out of control and consumed much of the waterfront area. The president emerged with a small escort from a U.S. Navy rowboat near 17th Street and proceeded through the city, attracting crowds of newly freed slaves in their first full day of emancipation. They followed him as he made his way to the Confederate White House and eventually to the Virginia Capitol. Lincoln’s walk through the city was a momentous symbol for observers across the country and around the world in what would be the final weeks of the American Civil War.
The city of Richmond takes great pride in maintaining its historic record and Civil War tourism is one of its major sources of revenue. The city's latest marquee event is a historical walking tour retracing Lincoln's footsteps during the moment described above. The tour was produced in partnership with the Richmond National Battlefield Park. The two organizations decision to have the tour just before the release of a major Hollywood film, one that is in the same historical context, should be inspiration for all guided tours looking to increase ticket sales.
History & Hollywood Intertwined
Coordinating the Lincoln walking tour to occur just ahead of the major motion picture portrayal of Lincoln is an excellent way to raise event awareness. The historical walking tour began on November 4th. The film, 'Lincoln', starring actor Daniel Day-Lewis and directed by Steven Spielberg, opens nationwide on November 16.
The CBS affiliate in Virginia noted that the walking tour "Uncovered many unknown details about the president's time in the city" after extensive research performed by the tour guide Park Ranger Mark Gorman. A guide's role in the overall patron experience cannot be understated. Walking tours, even haunted ones, are made much more memorable by their guides.
Of course many guided tours tap into notable events of the past, but few make such a sophisticated effort to intertwine history and Hollywood as the city of Richmond has done. With a little research, Richmond's approach can be applied to just about any guided tour and it need not be reliant on a popular movie either.
For example, if the walking tour takes patrons past the former residence of a great painter, the tour operator can coordinate with local galleries when there is a show in the same context. Historical walking tours of notable author's works can start at the local library and end at a bookstore - Edgar Allen Poe and the City of Baltimore immediately comes to mind.
Best of all, historical walking tours can ride on the coat tails of the big budget marketing made by the film studio or book publisher. Would be tour patrons, aware of an upcoming film or other high profile media, will be in the mood for something within the same genre.
Tools Tours Need
Tours are a very specialized kind of event, with specialized business needs.
ThunderTix offers the tools for those specialized needs with ticketing software built to help tour operators and guides sell more tickets. Here are some examples of our historical walking tour management features:
The ability to allow concierges and outside sales people to sell tickets with their own account credentials to track sales
Bulk upload and creation of Coupons with easy integration for daily deal websites like Living Social and Groupon. ThunderTix coupons for guided tours can be redeemed for dollar amounts or percentages of purchase prices, a very popular option for large groups.
Guided tours often occur several times a day, so ThunderTix includes the ability to easily duplicate events using the established schedule. Simply set a start and end date and the tour times including variations by day of week, and all events are created simultaneously with a single click.
Optional ability to include advertising on the tour tickets -- great for event tie-ins with other businesses and vendors. Or tours can add a coupon to tout one of their other tours.
Ticket inventory reducing prompts to buyers during the all important purchase consideration period. On-screen display, in colored text ("Hurry, only five seats left") let's the would-be patron know they shouldn't wait to purchase or they risk a sold out date date.