You’re in the tourism business, so you should take people to the highlights of your city. The Eiffel Tower in Paris. The Opera House in Sydney. That’s what they’re in town to see, right? Not always!
Many tourists are seeking out “anti-tours”, and many tour operators are embracing this change. It may sound crazy for a tour operator to be “anti-tour”, but think about it as another style of tour. You already know the anti-tour customers anyways: those few people who are always asking to see the “real” city, wanting to know where you go out to lunch, what activities a local would do…that’s someone looking for an anti-tour. They reason that most Londoners aren’t spending their free time hanging out at Westminster Abbey. These tourists are, of course, right. Their options were limited in the past, but today, many tour operators are taking advantage of their customers’ eagerness to get away from the typical hot spots.
They’ve been to Niagara Falls before — they’ve seen the rushing water and eaten at the chain restaurant in their hotel lobby. Now they want to go to Buffalo, NY to see where wings were invented and get a taste of the Rust Belt. And they need a local to show them how to do that. That’s where you, as a local, come in.
How can a tour operator embrace an anti-tour? Simple. Remember: it’s just another tour.
Remember when we told you how to Instagram-ify your tours? Many of those lessons apply here too. Look for the unusual places on your tours or in the parts of town where you live. Think about how they tie together. There are tourists who want to see literally anything outside of the norm, whether it be a quaint cafe, a dusty old bookshop, or a unique mural. Have a lot of abandoned buildings? Take people around, and tell them the history of those buildings and future plans for them. Have an old warehouse that’s been turned into an artist residence? Take your guests there, and play up the transition from industry to art. Have a major street full of overpriced tourist bars? Take customers across town, and promise you won’t get within 2 miles (or kilometers) of that street.
After you think of some places you can go (or things you can do!), consider how you can incorporate that into your current business. You can add a stop or two to existing tours to give people a taste of both worlds. Or you can create a new tour! Anyone going to Krakow wants to see Wawel Castle and the fire-breathing dragon. Once you sell them your Wawel tour, show them the anti-tours that you lead to other parts of the city and upsell them (or vice versa). Most tourists will do a combination of “normal” tours and anti-tours. After all, the touristy spots are touristy for a reason. They already trust you with one tour; getting them to add on another type of tour is easier than finding a totally new client.
With a little ingenuity, you’ll have your own anti-tour up and running in no time.
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