A good guru earns an average of 10 euros per traveler. Are you earning less and would you like to earn more? Then read well this post and discover more than 70 ways to receive more tips at the end of your guruwalk!

Travelers jumping in the air during a free walking tour in Madrid, Spain.

But before starting, I’d like to highlight that the number one factor that influences tips is knowledge!

If you just have to remember one thing, it would be the following: search, read and learn! If you know a lot, with details, you will bring a huge satisfaction to travelers and they will give you more money.

In addition, the transmission, or the way of sharing this knowledge, is also crucial! Finally,the attitude and the preparation also play an important role in the tip.

These 4 factors represent the 4 key categories which are developed in the next 72 techniques to get more tips. The most important ones are placed in a box.

Knowledge: the biggest impact on tips

If you know a lot, travelers will understand they are with an expert of the city and will value you even more. As a result, you’ll get the best tips.

1. The topic/people of your tour impacts the tips. Older people tend to give more than young people. So if you have a guruwalk focused on the interests of this category of people, like a tour on the palaces of your city, you will attract more people with money than if you do an alternative or street art tour. But anyway, you will always achieve high tips if you are passionate about what you explain.

Find information and stay updated

2. Sign up for a course. In every city they teach history courses, whether at the university, in private schools, or with online courses such as MOOCs. There you will have first hand information and also the way to share it later to your travelers.

3. Read a lot. Read websites and reference books. Wikipedia can give you an idea but you should always cross data in different sources to ensure the accuracy of the information.

4. Register in a newsletter. Are there reliable sites/blogs that publish historical and current news of your city? Sign up to their mailing list to receive every new article directly in your email box.

5. Attend conferences. Do a simple Google search to find conferences about the history of your city. Or participate in meetups.

public sitted listening to a conference.

6. Join in Facebook groups. Maybe there are history groups in your city. Join them. You will not only find information but also events, a way to ask questions etc.

7. Participate in other guided tours. Sign up for guided tours of your city. You will learn a lot, not only knowledge but also on how to transmit information. They will give you many ideas for your guruwalk.

8. Watch documentaries. But be careful, always choose a reliable source and not just one!

9. Take advantage of the low season to improve your experience. During the peak season, you have a lot of tours to run. So the time you could spend on improving your experience is very limited. That’s why you should take advantage of the low season, winter, to prepare the best experience possible that will bring you lots of tips.

Personal recommendations

Apart from the historical content of your tour, you are a local of the city and travelers will appreciate your personal recommendations before and after the tour, either for lunch or for activities to do. It brings value for them and will tip you better for that.

10. Prepare personal recommendations. As said before, people like to know what a local recommends. You can give these recommendations during the tour (ex: I like this bar/neighborhood to go out, for restaurants, etc.). Print a sheet you will give during the guruwalk (it can also be a laminated sheet with a QR code that travelers can scan to download it on their mobile phones), create your own map of the city or give one that already exists with good advices from locals such as USE-IT.

Image of the cover a map from USE-IT.

11. Find more recommendations. Travelers can ask for recommendations that are not of your interest: Eg: a good vegetarian restaurant, a great modern art gallery, … For these questions, you also have to be prepared.

12. Solve technical questions. At the beginning or at the end of your guruwalk, you will have technical questions like ‘where is the nearest bathroom, or a quick food to grab’ but also of activities that travelers want to do next. Search this information and learn timetables, locations and prices of the most important attractions of your city.

13. Find ways to save. Travelers who participate in a guruwalk are interested in tricks to save in your city, places where they will pay less and how to avoid tourist traps. It can be a free admission on a specific time in museums, a cheap but good restaurant, a card for tourists or transport,…

Preparation of the tour: the differences between the amateur and the professional

Structure your knowledge

14. Write down the key elements. There are elements that travelers expect to receive information about them during the visit.

15. Write down what surprised you. If you come across information that surprised you and that supports the key elements that you explain on your guruwalk, there is a high probability that it will be interesting for travelers as well.

16. Break the stereotypes. Travelers always have some stereotypes, vague things, about your city, its history and its culture. If you clarify them, demystify them, you will give a lot of value and travelers will reward you well because they now know ‘the truth’. It can be about a celebrity, an event, a dish, a custom, a monument, etc.
17. Focus on the value you bring to the traveler. These elements can be key historical facts but not only. Maybe they can be traditions, or very useful words for them to understand during their stay. They can be ways to save money. If you explain what travelers are most interested in, and if travelers understand it well, they will feel like an expert of the city and will share their knowledge with their friends.

18. Create your own summary. Write down the important things in a summary. It will be the bible of your guruwalk. There you will put key data such as dates, times, names, and events, together with interesting and funny anecdotes.

Woman writing on a laptop.

19. Create graphics. They will be very useful for you to have a global vision of the historical facts that you are going to explain.

Structure your route

20. Find a common thread. Your guruwalk can not only be teaching the places of interest in your city, without any kind of order. Travelers are looking for a thread to follow among the stops of your tour. It can be based on the theme of your tour, in chronological order or another type of structure. Without any structure, travelers may find themselves confused and it could end up in fewer tips. Do not hesitate to explain the plan of your tour when you start the tour.

21. Focus on about 10 stops. Travelers do not want to walk too much, but they do not want to stay in the same place for too long. You have to find the right balance to have the best tips. We recommend about 10 stops where you can take time to explain.

22. Solve a key element at each stop. At each stop, you can explain many things, but you must have a central element, which is a monument, a story, a meal, … the main reason you stopped here and not in another place. You must make sure that this element is clear to everyone and not lost in all the other secondary elements given.

23. Develop the same element during your journey. Depending on the theme of your tour, it could be interesting to always make references to a person, an event, a story, a family, a time, where you will give more and more details as you do the guruwalk. (Ex: if I make a medieval tour of Valencia, I can develop the central character of that time who is King Jaime the first, in different stops). In this way, the traveler will have a deeper knowledge of the subject. But make sure it’s not boring!

24. Make a break only if it’s worth it. It’s not always a good idea to make a break. If your guruwalk lasts 2 hours, it’s not necessary. If you decide to do one, it should be short (maximum 10 minutes) and you shouldn’t stop at a store or a restaurant, because travelers can feel trapped. But if you do a long tour, like 3 hours, and you stop in a big place that is worth it as a market, or just to go to the toilet. It can be a good option.

25. Adapt the tour to the group speed. According to the group of travelers you have, you are going to make a tour faster or slower. In the case that people walk slowly, you should know what stop you could skip or what shortcut to take without impacting the quality of your guruwalk. In the same way, if the group walks fast, prepare an extra stop. So you will be sure to finish at the scheduled time and travelers will thank you with a good tip.

26. Think of stops where people can sit. Walking more than 2 hours can be exhausting, especially for children or seniors. Think about finding stops, especially at the end, where people can sit for a moment while you explain and thus be more comfortable. Places with benches, stairs, a small wall etc.

27. Adapt the route according to the weather. Is it going to rain? Think of stops you can do where people can hear you without worrying about the weather. Is it too warm or cold? Think of cooler or warmer places to stop explaining. Why not doing a stop at a café during winter to warm up for a while, or a less crowded place on peak season?

A couple protecting themselves from the wind in a winter storm with an umbrella.

28. Start with something surprising or curious. The first minutes are essential to convince travelers and to give a positive opinion of your guruwalk. In this way, you’ll have a group hooked from the beginning and that will give you more at the end.

29. End with style and emotion. The last few minutes are crucial for a good tip. That’s the moment when you have to come with a speech that touches the emotions of travelers, like the closing of a good movie. In addition, this last stop must be one of the most beautiful, which could be for its impressive monument, for its spectacular view, amazing legend, etc.

30. Choose the best schedules. You’ll usually have more bookings from Thursday to Sunday, because that’s when you’ll have most travelers. And more bookings, means more tips. Regarding the starting time, the best ones are 10:30 and 16:00. People usually give a little more in the morning as they still have a lot of energy and attention to pay for the tour. Moreover, they got up earlier and then they are usually more interested in learning with your guruwalk. Forget doing tours at lunchtime or just after, people will not always be very attentive. Eventually, there are some differences according to the language. For example, Spaniards are usually more numerous on afternoon tours, while the English tours attract more travelers in the morning. Also check bus and flight arrivals.

31. Create your script. Depending on the places of interest in your city and your own summary, find a way to have a clear structure and start writing a script, as they do in Hollywood. You should see your tour as a play: all words count to convey emotions and touch the hearts of travelers. Then you have to repeat it to look natural and always improve it.

32. Repeat your script. There is no secret, the repetition will allow you a much more fluid and natural speech. At first, start repeating alone and then with friends who will give you a valuable opinion. Eventually, repeat and review the script for each new guruwalk you’re doing.

Transmission: touch emotions and bring value

Travelers who tip the most are the ones who understood well what you explained, because you brought them value and touched their heart (their emotions). Therefore, knowing how to transmit information is also crucial in your guruwalk!

33. Always look at the travelers. Even if you’re explaining something, you should always be facing travelers. You can’t turn your back to look at the monument because otherwise people will not hear your voice well. You shouldn’t look at the sky neither. To get attention, eye contact is very important.

A guide in Athens explaining to a group of travelers during a guruwalk.
34. Explain in a simple way. Travelers have very weak knowledge about your city and can see history as something complicated or boring since it is not about their own country or city. But if you can explain it in a simple way, as you would with your grandmother or with children, they will thank you with a very good tip.

35. Do the tour only with a native language level. If you don’t have a good level of the language of your guruwalk, travelers will not understand you well and you will have fewer tips.

36. Make it fun. It doesn’t always mean using humor, it can be by your way of explaining things, using word games, creating interaction and games,… The important thing is to allow a better assimilation of the story, which gives better tips.

37. Use the narration. Telling a story is the best way to convey something because it opens the imagination of travelers who feel part of the story.

38. Do it with drawings. A drawing is worth a thousand words. Do not hesitate to use it to explain something that could be more complicated to understand (eg: make a map explaining the origin of the Berlin wall or a map of an important battle).

39. Speak louder. You don’t have to shout, but it is important that travelers can hear you well. The bigger your group, the louder your voice should be. If they do not hear you well, you’ll receive few tips.  

A women with a megaphone speaking loudly.

40. Speak to the group only during stops. When you walk, your group becomes less dense so it’s harder to hear you and travelers are not always attentive. That’s why it’s not optimal to explain something while you’re walking. You can talk with travelers when you walk to answer questions or get to know them better, but never to explain anything essential to the whole group.

41. Use travelers’ questions to show your talent. During your tour, you should leave the opportunity to travelers to ask questions. Your way of answering them is a sample of your knowledge and if you do it right you can have better tips. If there are questions they always ask you, prepare the best possible answers and they’ll have a great impact! In addition, you can encourage travelers to ask you questions, for example explaining something new or a concept without going into detail. For sure someone is going to ask you about it!

42. Use anecdotes. History can be boring, but it can get more funny by telling anecdotes that help a better assimilation and that shows a more intimate or personal side of a historical fact.

43. Explain in the present time. It’s difficult to transmit history to foreigners as it’s something that happened a long time ago and in another city or country to theirs. But if you give a new angle and explain history in the present tense, as if it had just happened, it’d be much more interesting for them because they are living the story. Ex: explain a battle and put yourself in the shoes of the main characters.

44. Create curiosity for the next stop. At the end of a stop, launch an introductory phrase of the next stop that increases the curiosity of the travelers. It could be something like: “Now let’s see my favorite monument, or the best view of the city, or we are going to learn why it’s called this way…”.

45. Use materials to bring your explanations to life. It could be with large plasticized photographs when you talk about a person, a monument,… You could also use a characteristic element of your city that people could see or touch (ex: small part of berlin wall).

A guide showing something to travelers during a free walking tour in Barcelona, Spain.

46. Give something. Imagine you give small presents during a tour where people have not yet paid anything? Travelers will be very surprised and grateful, and therefore, give you more tips. You don’t have to spend much, but for example a meal, a typical cheap sweet that you can share, or a small thing (eg: magnet, mug,…). Moreover, it’s even better if they see that you paid for that gift in front of them. It has more impact. Otherwise, you can also offer a map or a list with your recommendations during your tour. It’s a very appreciated detail.

A tour guide offering a bit of a typical greek bread during a free walking tour in Athens, Greece, with GuruWalk.

47. Sign up for a course to speak better in public. It can be a theater course, a MOOC, watching related videos on YouTube. There are thousands of tips that you can use on the internet to transmit better and with more emotion.

Create interaction

48. Create stagings with travelers. To convey something that could be boring, nothing better than creating stagings with travelers. You can ask the group for 2 volunteers and explain a part of your guruwalk as if it was a mini play. It’s something funny and it allows more closeness and interaction with the group, which generates better tips as well.

49. Invite people to participate. If there is a typical technique, custom, game of your city, or something special you can teach in your guruwalk, let people participate.

50. Create games. It allows travelers to be more active with a guruwalk, more interactive. Everyone likes to play, guess etc … and it’s an excellent way to transmit knowledge. Ex: Try to recognize famous people in your city by showing pictures,…

51. Ask questions to travelers. Why do you think this monument is called like that? What is that? How is it used? Who knows what is the most important day/event? Etc. This way, travelers are more active. Always thank the traveler who has had the courage to speak, doing a ‘high-five’, giving a candy, or points (’10 points for the girl’) (and in the end you give something to the person who has participated the most, for example), to create an environment that encourages people to participate.

Attitude: professional and personal

Before the tour

Many travelers already know how much more or less they’re going to give at the end of the tour. That is why it is very important to have the best possible attitude before the tour.

52. Confirm the tour. Once the booking is made, it’s important to send a personal and enthusiastic message confirming the tour as soon as possible.

53. Make recommendations for the tour. Will it rain? It is very cold? Is there a lot of traffic? Is it hard to find you? Write to your travelers to come with an umbrella, and a good jacket, etc. External conditions impact the experience of your tour and then the tips.

54. Send personal recommendations. You can ask what are the interests of the traveler (food, architecture, typical things, …) and send your own recommendations so they can prepare their stay in the best possible way. It’s one more way to show your knowledge.

When starting the tour

55. Be punctual. Travelers have little time in the city, so it’s better if they don’t wait for you or other travelers who arrive late. You’ll always have travelers who arrive late, so try to make the first stop a little longer at the meeting point.

56. Sympathize with travelers. Before the tour, take the opportunity to talk with travelers who are already present. Ask them where are they from, when did they arrive, how long are they staying, what their city looks like etc, without being intrusive. It’s more likely to have a higher tip if you create a personal relationship with the traveler. When walking between stops, talk with travelers as well. If you remember the names of some of them, do not hesitate to say it when you talk to them. Here is a post that helps you remember the names of the walkers.

Travelers laughing on a free walking tour in Barcelona with GuruWalk.

57. Introduce yourself. If you have a booking for 5 people, there are 4 people who may not have seen your profile and don’t know you. Explain a bit who you are, where do you come from, why do you do guruwalks, what do you like about it and above all why are you the right person they can trust for this experience (diploma, years of experience, work on the topic of the tour, awards, books published,…). It shouldn’t be too long neither because otherwise you can seem a bit egocentric.

58. Invite travelers to introduce themselves. If you have the time, it’s a good idea to create relationships with the group. It can be something very simple like your name and your country or something more crazy depending on the theme of your tour (ex: for a food tour: your name and your favorite food).

59. Explain what a guruwalk is. You have to explain to the travelers before starting that the tour is not free of charge but rather free to give what they want. Travelers are the ones to decide how much to give, what they consider more appropriate. This way you’ll avoid any confusion. We wrote a complete post about the tipping system with examples that you can adapt directly for your tour!

60. Do not suggest a price. It’s better not to give price indications, because this way you don’t limit travelers who thought about giving more. Moreover, if you insist a lot on that, people will feel uncomfortable and give less. You can suggest the price if someone asks you, or if you have a very unusual guruwalk and the price is hard to define.

61. Explain the structure and duration of the tour. People don’t always know what you’re going to show during your tour and how long it will take. If this information is missing, it can create false expectations.

During the guruwalk

62. Let people ask questions. You have to say clearly at the beginning of the tour that travelers can ask you all the questions they want. In addition, it is advisable to ask at the end of each stop if there are any questions to solve.

63. Have your own style. There is no better one than another, but travelers like it when you highlight your personality on your tour. You can use irony, jokes, tell about yourself, put on a costume, … etc. Do you like to sing? Why not inviting travelers to sing with you? You can also tell funny things that have happened to you during past guruwalks.

64. Analyze the reactions of travelers during your guruwalk. Are they looking at you? Listening? Do you seem happy? Are they smiling? By analyzing their reactions, you can identify the most empty or boring moments of the tour and find ways to improve it.

65. Take a group picture. The crazier, the better. Don’t hesitate to check out this post to know the secrets of the best pictures. Then you can send them to travelers and you can put them in your profile on the platform. Seeing that other travelers have had a good time impacts the following bookings and so the tips.

Group picture during a free tour in Sofia, Bulgaria.

66. Keep a secret or a surprise for the end. A way to encourage people to follow the group and not to get lost or leave the group before (which means less tips) is to say that you are going to tell a secret that only the people of your city know at the end of the tour. But beware, if you say it this way, you have to make sure you have an amazing thing to tell, because that’s what travelers will expect! It can also be a surprise, like offering a typical sweet of your city.

At the end of the guruwalk

67. Explain how important it is for you to have the review of your walkers. If you want to make sure you’ll always get 5-stars reviews, don’t miss this detailed post. If you have lots of good reviews, your profile will send a trustful message to future travelers who will be more likely to book your tour.

68. Always receive tips in hands. When someone gives a good tip, they want to make you sure you know it comes from her/him. Therefore, you should never leave a backpack alone to collect tips, but instead receiving it in your hand directly.

69. Keep a large bill in your hand. When the walkers begin to prepare their tips, try to get a large bill as first tip, for example from a group, and keep it in your hand. The other travelers will see it and think about giving you a little more.

70. You have to be the last one leaving. Many travelers will ask you about a place to eat, what to do next, etc. They have already paid you but it influences the opinion that they will leave you.

71. Answer the opinion left in GuruWalk. It gives more confidence to a traveler to book your guruwalk if they see that you have answered in the best way to the opinions left in your profile.

Positive review on a tour of GuruWalk answered by the guide.
72. Ask for honest feedback. Ask 3 things by message to the travelers after the tour: the things that they liked the most, the less and what could be done to improve the experience. You can receive difficult answers to hear, but that’s sometimes the only way to improve and thus, earn more.

And what about you? What are the most important recommendations in your opinion? Is there something you do that is not here? Thank you for helping our community to grow even more!