Software for walking tour operators – Revving up for the new season

Software for walking tour operators - Revving up for the new season

Another busy walking tour season is about to begin and operators all over the country are revving-up for the rush. Here is a look at different techniques you can use to stand out from the crowd and tips on software for walking tour operators.

Celebrity Excitement

The month of May inspires people to get outside and enjoy the long-awaited pleasant Spring weather. After being cooped-up in the house for so long, there is a rush to participate in activities, one of the most popular being walking tours. That spike in attendance, right at the beginning of the season, means tour operators are revving up for the rush and finding new ways to stand out from the crowd.

In California, Diane Welch is getting attention for her walking tour by offering up celebrity excitement. Welch, an author by trade, hosted a special "Golden Era of Hollywood" tour for locals of the Santa Fe Ranch community. The tour highlights the homes from the days gone by in the 1920s and 30s. Welch speaks with authority while conducting tour since she is currently writing the autobiography of Lilian J. Rice, a famous architect of the era.

“I knew that I wanted to offer the walking tours as the spring approached. With the longer days it is delightful to stroll through the village, then relax with a presentation and hors d’oeuvres in the historic Inn at Rancho Santa Fe."

One of the stops on the tour is the former home of Bing Crosby (pictured above), who took time away from his life as a movie star to live and ranch in the California suburb. Crosby's home isn't the only star-struck stop. The past homes of millionaire Howard Hughes and Douglas Fairbanks are also tour highlights.

Welch conducts the tour as a non-profit and suggests a $30 donation be made during the reservation process. The charitable donations received are pledged to the Rancho Santa Fe Senior Center. Even though this inaugural tour was an invitation only event via an auction, successive tours will be open to the public and demand will be high. "Walking tour of the village as a silent auction item for a fundraiser for the senior center, and the winning bid was $300. I realized that these walks could be an ongoing gift to them."

High Tech Approach

Celebrity appeal is a great way to make your tour stand out in a competitive market. And another way is to tap into people's love of high technology. Taken to an extreme, the New Bedford Whaling Museum has expanded their walking tours to include a smartphone app. One may think this takes the tour operator out of the equation, but that is not the case since the high-tech walking tour is just one small aspect of the museum's roster of activities.

Starting this week, to coincide with the new season of tours, the foundation has launch a GPS-powered walking tour allowing visitors to take a self-guided tour of New Bedford’s shoreside industries, both past and present.

Users of the app will have the opportunity to learn about the men and women who contributed to New Bedford’s dominance of 19th century whaling through historic photographs, paintings and illustrations, and stories of triumph, tragedy, sacrifice, and perseverance. A GPS-enabled triggering system allows users to access information automatically or manually. Let this walking tour app be your guide to the city that Herman Melville described as “perhaps the greatest place to live in, in all New England.”

Available for iPhone and Android phones, the apps creates a memorable experience, while at the same time, driving new business to the traditional walking tours being conducted nearby. The traditional walking tours still make use of a live tour guide and require advanced reservations costing between $6 - $14 per person.

Note that the tours reach different age demographics, tech savvy teens and old school traditionalist, alike. That is an important consideration for tour operators looking to stand out from the crowd. Going to extremes like offering self-guided, smartphone based excursions is part of a larger strategy. Know that there is rich customer data to be had from the use of smartphone apps. The rich data sets may actually end-up bringing in future business, since it can be added to marketing mailing throughout the season.

All In The Family

Taking the complete opposite approach, the notably no-tech walking tour being conducted by one family is poised to be just as busy all season long.

The quaint township of Virginville Pennsylvania is home to the Dreibelbis Farm Historical Society. The society's website says it is dedicated to "protecting the farm from development, preserve the historical resources of the site, enhance the ecological value of wetlands and endangered species habitats on the site and make the resources of the farm available to the public."

This week, it kicks-off its new walking tour season with a "Wetlands and Wildflower Walk" tour conducted by a professor emeritus from nearby Kutztown University. A review of the tour from 2012 hints at kind of experience a reservation will provide.

While the tour of the home and other buildings on the farm gave an intimate look into life on the homestead, re-enactments of candle making, spinning and weaving, wood working, making butter and even making your own ink for a feather quill pen gave attendees a feel for the work that needed to be done.

The family heritage  foundation that operators the tour is part of the Dreibelbis family trust.

Walking tours serve the public's interests while also underwriting the operational costs of the 240 acre farmland. Similar to the celebrity walking tour in California, the Dreibelbis "Wetlands and Wildflower" walking tour has a suggested donation amount that contributes to the non-profit's continued operation.

ThunderTix Software for Walking Tour Operators

If your tour is a non-profit, or if its a hard working for-profit endeavor, you need to make sure you stand-out from the crowd and tap into the rush associated with the new season.

ThunderTix's guided tour management software makes it easy to handle the new season's rush with features like the ability to set recurring tour times. Walking tours and sightseeing trips are often scheduled to occur multiple times a day, everyday, throughout the entire year , creating a daunting amount of data entry. Our tour management lets you set a tour date and time then easily populate for every day of the year – all at once – no need to enter the same date and time over and over.

We also support polite prompts for  accepting donations online during the reservation process, which allow for contributions of any amount. You inherit our years of experience in ticketing for non-profit events when you sign-up for our tour management system.

Are you revving up for the new season and interested in our tour reservation system? Just fill out the contact form below and we'll have a sales rep contact you same day.