Whereas they were only available in a few cities until recently, free walking tours are now spreading rapidly across all continents and cities where there is tourism. To understand this success, we will look at the reasons that make working as a free walking tour guide so popular and profitable.
1. A large market that is constantly growing
The democratization of travel has seen a new demand grow for free walking tours by travelers who do not usually consider booking a guided tour.
That’s why many tour guides combine free walking tours with other paid-in-advance excursions that have separate costs (food, transport, …) and in this way they are able to cover more parts of the tourist market.
2. Free to join = power of attraction
On a free walking tour, travelers are free to join without paying anything in advance and give what seems right at the end. This is very appealing and allows you to attract large groups of travelers, who usually pay the same as for a traditional visit. That’s why it’s so profitable to work as a free walking tour guide.
In addition, many tour leaders are able to harness this power of attraction and the quality of their free walking tour to have a privileged contact with travelers and then get them involved in their other paid excursions.
3. An entertaining experience
Taking a free walking tour is a guarantee for an entertaining experience and it’s one of the main reasons for its success. Since nothing has to be paid in advance, free walking tour guides need to strive to create an interesting and fun experience in order to ensure a good payment.
Myths about free walking tours:
- Free walking tours are free of charge. The word “free” can be understood as “free of charge”, but in this context it must be considered in the sense of “freedom”: freedom for travelers to pay what they please. At GuruWalk, we never advertise tours as “free of charge” and we explain that free walking tours require a decent payment like any job.
- Guides receive tips or donations. Even if there are still many guides advertising free walking tours this way, we don’t do it at GuruWalk. It seems to us that it under-values the professional work of the guide. A free walking tour is like any guided tour, so instead of using “tips” or “donations”, guides should rather talk about “payment”.
- The free walking tour guides are amateurs. On a free walking tour, the traveler pays at the end, so if the guide is bad, he or she will only receive little money and will surely not continue doing tours. In addition, at GuruWalk, we take into account all the reviews left by travelers and always support the tour guides to improve their experiences.
- Free walking tour guides evade taxes. Free walking tour guides have to comply with local regulations, both with the legal permissions and taxes. They declare what they earn and pay the corresponding taxes.
Evolution of free walking tours
A few years ago, free walking tours were focused only as a first approach to the city in a couple of hours. Nowadays, the concept is evolving with an ever-widening offer of available languages and topics: food tours, street art tours, by bicycle, … which results in a very complete option of experiences for travelers.
Be a guide on GuruWalk
If, like us, you believe that working as a free walking tour guide is the future of the guiding sector, join our community of more than 2000 tour guides around the world. You can find more information from us here.