Increase walking tour ticket sales with WalkScore
Did you know there is an established quality measurement for walking tours? Originally published for the real estate industry, a so-called "walk score" can be used by tour guides in many different ways. Thinking Outside the Box(office) looks at how it could be possible to increase walking tour ticket sales with WalkScore.
What Is WalkScore?
There is a an old expression that the three most important things in real estate business are “location, location, location.” The importance of where a home is located was the original inspiration for software maker FrontSeat to create a way to measure a neighborhood. The measurement, called a “walking score”, includes information like traffic, pollution, noise and relation to schools and shopping. FrontSeat made this data easily accessible to real estate professionals and the public free of charge as a service on their website.
WalkScore quickly gained popularity and was integrated into the sales practices of several large real estate companies. WalkScore's success was the reason it was spun off into a standalone product by FrontSeat, according to the CEO :
I’m so happy that after a dose of care and nurturing, Walk Score has now left the Front Seat nest and is a separate company with an independent board, enlarged investor group, and $2 million in the bank.
Walk Score is attracting about 700,000 visitors a month to its Web site, and it is showing about four million scores each day on behalf of clients. The company plans to use the cash infusion to invest in improving the Walk Score algorithm, as well as enhancing the new apartment and rental search service.
A quick look at the WalkScore website shows that it has expanded its original audience of just real estate agents and home buyers to include urban planners, architects, school boards and many more. Judging by the number of people using the WalkScore data, there is a genuine thirst for knowledge when it comes to the experience walking around a neighborhood.
A Non-Real Estate Example
An example of how WalkScore is being used by institutions other than real estate is the City of Decatur Georgia and its helpful website. Decatur cites WalkScore data as part of information for the self-guided walking tours it has organized which are multi-use and not solely for the purposes of tourism. Neighborhood quality is important to residents buying a home and those relocating to the area. One of the best ways to gauge a neighborhood’s quality is with walking tours.
In 2011, the non-profit WalkScore named the City of Decatur the most walkable city in Georgia [...] The self-guided tours are designed to promote walking as a safe, convenient exercise and to familiarize participants with local restaurants and shops as well as municipal and historical points of interest. They vary in length and level of intensity: Level 1: "Stretch Your Legs"; Level 2: "Quicken Your Pulse"; and Level 3: "Challenge Yourself."
The city has placed signs along the routes with points of interest as well as tech savvy QR codes that provide even more information on a block-by-block basis. Being self-guided, the Decatur neighborhood walking tours may not offer the professionally curated experience of a ticketed tour, but municipalities are not in the business of entertainment.
Decatur takes great pride in its WalkScore, as do other cities, but it isn't just municipalities who can benefit from the service, walking tour guides can too.
Increase Walking Tour Ticket Sales with WalkScore
Walking tours (historical, haunted, etc.) make money from the value provided to the participant. A rich set of stopping points along the route is important, but seldom static. Tour operators often change the tour route to make a more memorable experience or to adapt to seasonal conditions. Should a walking tour operator wish to alter an established route, the information provided in the WalkScore data can be a valuable resource.
For example, a walking tour may find that at certain times of the day, traffic is very heavy, making it less efficient to conduct the tour because of long waits at pedestrian cross walks. A quick review of WalkScore data may show a neighborhood with less traffic or one that has forbidden cars altogether.
It may be possible to increase walking tour ticket sales in other ways:
One of the new professional grade tools provided is the ability to draw a route on a map and have a WalkScore generated for it. Currently this feature is very popular with real estate agents, who work in a notoriously competitive environment. By pre-planning the route they use to show prospective home buyers what a neighborhood is like, agents know ahead of time which will be the most scenic or informative. Tour operators can do the same thing. Pre-visualizing a new route may show it is rated with a higher WalkScore because of old growth trees for shade in the Summer heat.
In the same boastful way the City of Decatur cites its WalkScore, a tour operator can proclaim it has the highest score among competitors. "Rated with a WalkScore of 99!" may be just what a family visiting a town needs to see when choosing what activity to spend their time and money on. Also available as a part of the WalkScore service is the ability to create an account and promote a walking tour. Doing so may help a tour's placement in Google search results.
WalkScore offers the means for the public to rate and comment on a walking tour. A well worded comment can be the basis of an entire on-going conversation providing valuable feedback to the tour operator without expensive third-party polling or questionnaires If the walking tour was a special event for a holiday, the user ratings can be re-purposed as advertising for next year.
The hard working tour operator can use the above as a baseline to start from, measure the results, then fine tune the WalkScore service to suit their needs. There are many other non-real estate examples on the WalkScore website should you need even more information.
Having a quality measurement is just one aspect of a successful walking tour, cost effective ticketing software is another. ThunderTix has the tools for a busy tour manager to sell tickets online, easily update the daily schedule and adapt to demand for holidays. Many popular tours use ThunderTix as their ticketing software of choice and we'd love to be yours too.
Why do we blog this? As a leading provider of ticketing software for venues and events, ThunderTix is privy to new and alternative ways to produce events that you may not be aware of. We like to call this "thinking outside the box office." When we see an emerging trend or successful execution on a new idea, we relish the opportunity to share it with hard working venue owners and event promoters.