Attracting & welcoming walkers
Walking is one of the most popular outdoor pursuits. Many tourism businesses benefit from them, so it makes sense to think about how to attract and welcome them.
"Walkers" is a very broad term... There are ramblers, scramblers, hikers, people who prefer guided walks... the list goes on.
Identify which type of walkers would be interested in staying with you and target that group. Think about:
- Hard core long distance walkers
- Social walkers
- Sightseeing walkers
- Walking to justify a cake or a pint
- Too old to do something more thrilling, switching from another activity
- Just had to get outside, away from…
Think about some of the reasons they may have for coming to walk in your area:
- Love outdoors & countryside
- Healthy living
- New challenge
- Learning & seeing – nature, culture, heritage
How can you cater for those markets? What do you need to add to your website or social media to show you can cater for them?
Key needs could include:
- Recommendations on things to do
- Information on transport links, access to walks and how to get around
- Lots of information before they arrive
- Warm and empathetic hospitality
- Information about the grading and walks available in the area
- Some historical stories or points of interest
- Local events – both general/social and walking specific
- Information about specific facilities for walkers
Ways to exceed expectations
- Remember that walkers may not be able to fit in with your meal times. Try and be flexible. Early or packed breakfast available (from 7.00am) (continental acceptable) if notified the night before.
- A packed lunch (an extra charge may be made)
- Use your local knowledge to pass on to visitors and send them to places you think are great too.
- A homemade cake served at the right moment can win people over and make their stay memorable.
- Keep a shelf of walking books and magazines to get people inspired
- Offer a drying facility for wet clothing and footwear.
- Boot scrapes at main doors or access to facilities with water supply for cleaning boots and outdoor clothing
- You may find a first aid kit useful. Annual figures for walking-specific injuries, compiled by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, include: 1,300 accidents caused by stiles, 2,600 accidents caused by barbed wire, 21,000 on or around fences and fence posts and 1,700 occurring at gates.