India has diversity in its culture, art and history. Stories of the past, architectures, and cultures still remain unexplored by many. If you are touring India, the best way to do so is with the help of the locals who know the place from its core, its history and its hidden gems.
If you are planning to begin your own business this new year and you think you are one of them with extensive knowledge about in-and-outs of your local area, then Heritage Walks might be one space you would want to consider. If you love traveling, like good food around the corner of the streets and have vast knowledge about your city, then this business idea is just for you.
Heritage walks are essentially built around experiential learning. There is wide scope for discovering new things in every city. All one needs to do is look around and explore.
In simple words, businesses in this space offers local and personalized guides through the cities where the tourists get to experience the small corners and hidden gems unknown to the crowd.
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Some notable walks in India are Delhi Heritage Walks, Midnight Calcutta Walks, Journeys Through India, Craft Walks in Kashmir and Street Art Walks.
While the business model differs for each business depending on their focus, generally users can book time slots for the walks available on their business websites. They can also call up on the booking numbers mentioned on the portals to book their visits. The walk session generally last for two to three hours.
Tourists registering for the walks need to pay fees which generally ranges anywhere between INR 500 to 3,000. The price model changes depending on the services provided during the walks. For example, Art Walks Mumbai charges INR 600 per head for 2.5 hours and is organized once a month. Simultaneously, The Bookworming Tour, Delhi and Mumbai charges INR 3,500 per head includes snacks and INR 800-1,000 per head as part of their group tour.
According to Journeys Through India’s Vibhu Kalra, second-generation entrepreneur, anybody looking to start a business in this space need to be good at communication and expand their knowledge about the city they wish to work in.
Fluent and Articulate: One should be fluent in both the local language and in English to be able to cater to tourists from both domestic and foreign lands. As the leader of the walks, you need to ensure that you are understood by your tourist groups else they might find it boring.
Geographical Knowledge: Those trying to build business in this space should know the geography of the city very well. You should be able to navigate the city and know most of the small lanes and galis to be able to give your tourists a deeper view into the city. Generally, tourists from other parts of the country or from foreign countries prefer eating local foods at local restaurants, purchase local clothing and accessories. You should know what are the lesser known places, pocket-friendly places, high-priced places, locally famous places to cater to the needs of the tourists.
Not always does one need to invest huge amount of money for starting their businesses. Starting a heritage walk business is one such space which requires very nominal investment in monetary terms.
You need to arrange for the following things for your walk business:
Building your website: You need to build an attractive website to attract customers. Your website should clearly mention what can the tourists expect from the walks and what will be your focus. Your website should also inform the users if food and snacking will be included within your session. It may cost you up to INR 5,000 to register and get your website developed. The costs might increase if you want a feature-rich website.
Marketing: You need to effectively market your company and your services via social media and Internet to increase your visibility. This need might cost you around INR 1,000.
Expand your knowledge: While walking through the historic lanes sounds like a wonderful opportunity, you need to be equipped with the historical knowledge about the place to improve the customer experience. Tourists participate in heritage walks with an expectation to know more about the historical stories of the place. So as the leader of the walk, you should be able to paint the history about the places shown to them. The cost involved to roam around city depends on the public transportation rates and the routes you choose to take.
Brushing up your communication skills: In this business, you need to communicate with your tourists and make them feel comfortable during the walks. So it’s important for you to be someone who is easier to connect with. In case you wish to hone your communication skills and want to opt for a course, it may cost you up to INR 10,000.
Carefully consider the kind of services you will be able to provide at the beginning and decide on your pricing model accordingly. High-priced services may discourage tourists from opting for such services.
If you are a fresher in this space, then you might be able to earn up to INR 2,000-3,000 per day. However for experienced walkers, this figure may go up to INR 15,000 per day.
Owning a heritage walking business will relieve you from working in a stiff 9-5 job. Walking around the historic lanes of your city and guiding tourists will make every day an adventure for you.
However, on the negative side, you may not receive good visibility initially. Tourists may find it difficult to believe in your services but all you need to do is to persevere and keep going strong.