"Self-guided" typically refers to trips with little planning ahead of time, such as a city holiday or weekend getaway. Despite this, there are plenty of self-guided tours that are organized or that are organized by independent travelers who hire a tour guide on the way.
Providing self-guided walking tours is a clever way for tour and activity operators to attract independent tourists who are seeking a more private, yet unique tour experience. How can you ensure you are offering the best self-guided walking tour possible?
Get started on creating the best self-guided walking tour experience by reading on!
What is a Self-Guided Tour?
Simply put, this is a trip where you plan your itinerary without the help of a formal tour guide or tour operator. There are no set activities or times to be at certain places - tourists can explore on their own time and in whatever way they like.
One of the main advantages of a self-guided walking tour for tourists is that it allows more flexibility. Therefore, they are ideally suited to most people who want to explore the world at their own pace, without following a strict schedule.
That said, there are also a few key considerations when it comes to self-guided excursions. When tourists don't have much experience in travel planning, this can be time-consuming and challenging.
Overall, a self-guided trip is a worthwhile option for tourists who want a more customized experience (and more freedom) and don't mind putting in a bit of work to plan their trip.
Curating New Travel Tastes with Self-Guided Tour Technology
With the COVID era came changes in guidelines that have caused many tour business operators to find alternative ways of leveraging their skills and resources. These presented fresh ideas for people who wanted a more flexible way to plan their travel, at the same time, opened up fresh ideas for every tour operator in the B2C industry.
"There are at least 30 companies around the world that provide self-guided experiences, and many work with operators to help them create and offer their own tours."- MOBILE SELF-GUIDED TOURS REPORT (2020 EDITION) by Arival
Guests can now take a self-guided walking tour through websites or scan the QR code with their phone to find more details about specific routes. This improved technology for tourism is convenient for those who want an immersive travel experience at any one location with their own schedule.
It is becoming more popular for people to offer virtual tours and experiences on the internet, as well as rent out equipment such as bikes, Segways, kayaks, etc.
The use of self-guided trip apps is another area that is becoming increasingly popular among both tourists and operators. Tourists and locals alike can use these downloadable mobile applications to explore key information about a city (or location) without the need for a guide.
Self-Guided Tour vs. Independent Travel
As you will be alone on a self-guided tour, you can consider it a 'travel alone tour'. Although you will travel independently, you will not be able to do so entirely for the whole trip. A self-guided tour follows a pre-planned itinerary. In many ways, they are similar to guided tours, but without the group or guide.
Plus, they're often attached to a specific location or timeframe, so you know you'll be able to see and do all the things you want to with less pressure. So, for tourists who are looking for a little bit of structure and more freedom without sacrificing your independence, self-guided audio tours might be just what they're looking for.
A New Market Opens
Traveling with young children or guests who have mobility limitations can be challenging. A more extensive tour might not suit their convenience, depending on the pace and activities involved.
Not only that! Traveling with a large group or a large crowd might not relax some people who travel for self-intimacy. Therefore, self-guided tours might better suit them.
With self-guided tours, you can open up a fresh market for tourists from all around the world.
Why should a tour operator invest in offering a self-guided experience?
A self-guided audio tour, a self-guided walking tour, or a combination of the two have the advantage of not requiring a minimum number of guests. Providing many of the same benefits as live tours, audio tours allow you to travel in style without worrying about proximity to fellow travelers, timing, social distancing guidelines, last-minute cancellations, or pace.
Travelers are increasingly looking for flexibility, and self-guided audio tours are one way to achieve this. With no set meeting point or timeframe, you can sell more products.
Neither cancellations nor changes in the guest count are at your mercy. Can you imagine what it would mean to be able to connect with your guests without the restriction of being in person? The possibilities are endless.
By walking the area, you can get an idea of what to include. Make your audio guides entertaining and informative for guests by keeping them relaxed and unhurried.
Self-guided tours cannot replace in-person guides, but how can they compete? Guests can enjoy audio tours in an entertaining, relaxed environment, perhaps even inspiring future guests to consider an in-person tour.
Here are some tips to help you begin designing your self-guided trips.
How to Create a Self-Guided Tour Experience
1. Research, research, research
When it comes to creating a self-guided trip, the most significant step is research. You need to make sure that you know everything there is to know about the area you're touring. From the history and culture to the attractions and points of interest, this is all included. This information will help you create an itinerary that is both informative and entertaining for your guests.
2. Choose your tour type
When it comes to self-guided trips, there are all sorts of different options for guests to choose from. Some people might prefer to explore on foot, while others may want to combine walking with other modes of transportation, like biking or kayaking. Choose the type of tour that best fits your guests' interests and abilities, and make sure it is accessible to everyone.
From adventure-packed adventures to relaxing breaks, here are travelers' favorite ways to enjoy themselves on a budget.
Self-guided walking tour
A self-guided walking tour is excellent for people who want to enjoy nature without having to follow detailed instructions from a guidebook. They're especially handy if you don't mind not knowing where you're traveling.
Self-guided walking tours are also a convenient way to see a brand-new city and its hidden gems or a country on your terms. You're free to explore at your own pace, and you can choose what you want to see and do in your free time. Plus, self-guided walking tours are often more affordable than escorted trips.
Read on to know more about how to create a self guided walking tour experience with the help of digital tools and technology,
Self-guided cycling holiday
For travelers looking for an escape from everyday routine, nothing beats a holiday where you cycle on your own schedule through scenic scenery. You don't need to worry much about finding somewhere to stay overnight.
Self-guided cultural tour
Taking a self-guided cultural trip suits travelers' taste buds who thirst for a truly unique and immersive experience. With self-guided cultural tours, guests can travel at their own pace, get insider tips from local experts, and stay in some of the finest hotels in town.
Do you think you have the same kind of tours to offer in your travel niche? Why not curate them into "self-guided tours" and reach independent travelers internationally and in your local area?
3. Get clear on your ideal audience
When it comes to designing a self-guided trip, it's helpful to think about who your ideal guest is. Knowing your target audience will help you create a tour that is both informative and entertaining for them. Do some research and figure out what interests your guests the most. Once you know this, you can begin including attractions and points of interest that are most relevant to them.
4. Create a customized tour map
Creating a customized tour map is a simple way to help guests follow your tour. Include all the information your guests will need, like attraction names, addresses, and hours of operation.
You can also give helpful tips, like where to find parking or what time the attraction closes. If there are any attractions that your guests should not miss, be sure to include them on your map as well.
5. Determine your recording method and location
The improved technology in smartphones has made it much easier for operators to create audio tours on their own. When deciding on a recording option, go with the one that will be easiest to get started with. Also, remember to give yourself some time to read your script aloud and make the necessary adjustments.
Choose the right end format
See things from your guest's perspective. They may ask, "can I download your audio tour from the App Store, or will you send it by email?"
Choosing the right end format will limit your recording options. Plus, you can get started on the cheap and then improve your audio tour as time goes on.
Polishing with Audio Enhancement Technology
Once you have your recording method figured out and your script is written, it's time to hit the studio! If you're using a smartphone or digital recorder to capture audio, consider using editing software like Audacity or GarageBand to polish up your tour. This will make sure everything sounds right.
6. Launch your self-guided tour and adjust as needed
Once your self-guided tour is ready, it's time to launch it! Start by creating a landing page on your website that explains what the tour is and what guests can expect. This page can also include a video or audio preview of your tour.
Promote your upcoming audio tours
Once you've created your landing page, it's time to start promoting your tour. Use social media, email marketing, and targeted ads to get the word out about your upcoming tour.
Don't forget to also update your website's navigation bar with a link to your upcoming self-guided tour. As you promote your tour, be sure to listen to feedback from guests and make adjustments as needed.
Here are 5 ways on how to sell tours smarter than your competition.
7. Decide on your price point
When it comes to pricing a self-guided tour, there are a few things to consider.
- Type of experience: Is it a general overview of a city or country, or is it more tailored to a specific interest?
- Value for money: Typically, a self-guided tour includes an audio recording with accompanying text, as well as the use of Google maps or Apple maps for directions. However, you may choose to include other extras like local expert tour guides and discounts on attractions and transportation.
- Win-win solution: Don't forget to factor in the cost of production and delivery when setting your price. As you test the market and get feedback from guests, be prepared to make adjustments to your price point as needed.
Travel technology you need to know
Make it easy, use QR codes
For your self-guided trips to be successful, potential travelers should easily be able to access your audio tours with a few clicks or by scanning a QR code - much like many restaurant menus are displayed today.
Reach more via hosting platforms
There are a variety of platforms for hosting audio, including free versions that offer the greatest reach, such as Apple Podcasts or embedding directly from YouTube.
Track progress with Analytics
Track your tour's success and make the necessary adjustments. As you release your self-guided tour, keep track of how well it's performing.
Use analytics to see and focus on what content is most popular, where guests are tuning in from, and what needs improvement. Make changes to your tour as needed to ensure that it's the most pleasant possible experience for your guests.
Should Tour Operators Try Self-Guided Tours?
Tour operators are always looking for creative ways to provide unique experiences for their clients. Self-guided trips are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer travelers the opportunity to explore at their own pace and tailor the experience to their interests. But are self-guided trips a smart fit for tour and activity operators?
There are several potential advantages to offering self-directed tours. For example, they can be a viable option for travelers who want to explore a destination but don't want the hassle of planning everything themselves.
Additionally, self-guided tours can be more cost-effective than traditional tours, as they require less staff and resources. However, there are also some challenges that tour operators need to be aware of.
Self-guided tours can be difficult to market and sell, as potential customers may not be familiar with the concept. Additionally, it can be challenging to ensure that travelers have a positive experience on a self-led tour, as there is no tour guide to provide assistance or answer questions.
When it comes to creating a self-guided tour, there are a few key things to keep in mind:
- Keep your recording method and format simple to make it easy for guests to access your tour.
- Make sure to preview your tour and make adjustments as needed.
- Factor in the cost of production and delivery when pricing your tour.
- Use social media, email marketing, and targeted ads to promote your tour.
- Use analytics to track the success of your tour and make the necessary adjustments.
Overall, self-guided tours can be a worthwhile option for tour and activity operators who are looking to offer something different for their clients. However, some challenges need to be considered before offering this type of tour.