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Everything you need to know about running a successful tour guide business – from someone who’s nailing it

Read on to learn more about this thriving independent tour business, from the woman who started it all.

a city with a clock tower

Barbara Feige is a self-confessed history buff. But it’s so much more than historical knowledge that makes her Munich tours stand out from the crowd. As you’ll learn when reading our interview with Barbara below, this is someone who’s excavated every nook and cranny of what makes a guided tour genuinely enjoyable for all participants. 

Herz und Heimat Stadtführungen (that’s ‘Heart & Home City Tours’ to English-speakers) are tours that have been very artfully tailored towards their members' specific wants and needs, you see. Rather than simply taking a one-size-fits-all approach, Barbara recognises that different people have very different priorities when it comes to exploring the city she proudly calls home. 

Some fancy a leisurely stroll with a few interesting facts thrown in along the way. Others want historic rigour and to fit as many architectural sites in as possible. Some participants are, in fact, hens first, tourists second (Herz & Heimat’s bachelorette tours have proven very popular). Others are there to bond with work colleagues while soaking up all that Munich has to offer. Then there are those who’ve just hopped off a long-haul flight, and who need more sustenance (in the form of traditional Munich fayre) than exertion.

It’s no wonder Barbara and her team are busy. There’s much to organise when you care passionately about delivering exceptional, tailored experiences for such a diverse cross section of Munich’s visitors. From what we gather, they do it all with nothing but joy.

Read on to learn more about this thriving independent tour business, from the woman who started it all.

a person waving in front of a horse carriage

MEET BARBARA, FOUNDER OF HERZ & HEIMAT TOURS

✅ Key takeaways

👂Although your role is to impart knowledge, being a good listener is an invaluable skill to have as a tour guide. The more tailored you can make your tours to the wants and needs of your attendees, the more satisfied they’ll be with the experience. 

🎟️ Scannable tickets help keep admin to a minimum for both the tour guide and their guests – its gives you more time to focus on giving your attendees a great time!

✨A great tour should be about focusing on giving tourists a wonderful overall experience – not just a history lesson.

Ticket Tailor: Tell us a bit about you and the background of Herz & Heimat City Tours – what led you to set up your very own tour business in Munich?

Barbara: As a history buff who enjoys interacting with people, giving guided tours through my hometown turned out to be the perfect job for me. After working for other agencies for more than 10 years, I realised that there were several things I would like to improve and handle differently. That’s why I started Herz & Heimat City Tours. 

Ticket Tailor: How did things progress from those early days – what have been some of your biggest milestones and challenges along the way?

Barbara: The main challenge was to get people to know about Herz & Heimat City Tours and book a tour. Of course, I still remember the first tour I did ‘under my own flag’ – it was for a couple from northern Germany visiting their daughter, who was studying in Munich.

Some milestones can be pinpointed, like getting a bag with the Herz & Heimat logo on it or getting a spot for our flyers in the official tourist office. Other milestones only become milestones in retrospect, like realising that Herz & Heimat City Tours has grown into a profitable little business instead of a bold idea. 

Ticket Tailor: It sounds like you get a very diverse mix of people on your tours – tell us a bit about why your tours are so appealing to such a wide audience:

Barbara: Every tour is different and that is because of our guests and their interests. While some are very much into history or architecture, others prefer a relaxed stroll and are more into soaking up the atmosphere around them. My job is to get a feeling of the guests’ expectations at the beginning of the tour – fortunately, about 99% of the time I’m able to give the group what they are looking for.

a city with persony buildings and a large tower

Ticket Tailor: You have a vast range of tours listed on your website – some very niche! How do you go about designing your individual tours? Do any tours prove particularly popular?

Barbara: The variety of the tours we run comes from the huge variety of guests who book with us. What you have to take into account are things like: How much time do they have? Have they been to Munich before? Are they friends and family or is it a group of colleagues? If somebody just landed after a 12-hour flight, we usually don’t recommend a four-hour walking tour. That’s how we tailor each tour to the respective group.

As me and my colleagues are either born in Munich or have been living here for a very long time, we can also offer tours through parts of the city or its surroundings that go into more detail. These tours are especially popular with locals, who’ve also been living here for a long time but never bothered to really look into the history of their part of Munich. And that’s where we come in.

Ticket Tailor: Sounds fabulous! You also run tours dedicated to a whole host of celebrations, such as bachelorette parties. What made you decide to diversify your offering like this?

Barbara: Before we started explicitly offering tours for these special events, people would book a regular tour and quite often the last thing they would tell me was that ‘by the way’ it was a bachelorette party or that it was a delegation of their company’s bosses.

From that I learned that we had to show our guests that they can always trust us to create a fitting tour for their event. We have the experience to make your wedding anniversary a beautiful day, but we can also manage your 180-person company outing. Can we help you find a suitable restaurant to end your tour at? Would the bachelorette like to stop for a Prosecco during the tour? Should we go to Castle Nymphenburg, so that you can take a beautiful wedding picture? Do you need assistance getting rid of the mother-in-law?

Ticket Tailor: Ha! Sounds like you’ve got all bases covered. Now onto marketing – what have been the most successful channels for your business?

Barbara: Our two main channels are the internet and word-of-mouth recommendations. The biggest favour you can do us is to either leave a positive review on whatever website you found us on or tell your friends, family and colleagues that you had a really good time with us. Or both. 

a person holding a book and pointing to a building

Ticket Tailor: Do you have any words of advice for aspiring tour guides looking to set up their own business?

Barbara: The advice is the same that I still adhere to – it’s about giving your guests a good time, not a history lesson. Other than that, don’t be shy to advertise yourself and your business whenever and wherever possible, as customers need to be shown what you have to offer.

Ticket Tailor: Now let’s talk ticketing – why choose Ticket Tailor? Have there been any features that are particularly useful for your type of tours and events?

Barbara: I absolutely love the doorlist feature and the scannable tickets. It makes everything super quick and easy, which is especially useful in my job as I’d rather talk to my guests than fiddle around with counting people and trying to find out who’s still missing.

Tip: Learn more about these handy Ticket Tailor features:

Ticket Tailor: With so many tours and events on offer, are there any aspects of ticketing that are challenging? 

Barbara: The big learning I had was – the less I have to concern myself with ticketing issues, the better. Even more, though, ticketing must be easy to handle for our guests. You wouldn’t believe how nervous people are about whether their reservation worked and if they brought the right printout, or if they can join if they forgot their printout.

Ticket Tailor: How do you go about pricing your tour tickets – is it a very competitive landscape?

Barbara: As a small business, Herz & Heimat City Tours has the advantage of little costs for office rent or administration. That is something we are happy to pass on to our guests. We all know that we live in uncertain (and expensive) times, but we want to keep our tours affordable for everybody.
That being said, I also insist on paying the guides working for Herz & Heimat a fair and appropriate fee, as they are all highly qualified.

a group of trees and buildings

Ticket Tailor: Finally, what does the future hold for Herz & Heimat City Tours? 

Barbara: Thankfully, our guests give us the best ideas of what we can offer them in the future. Also, as a young business, we are currently acquiring more and more regular customers and starting to cooperate with international travel agencies, who keep visiting Munich on a regular basis. I’m glad to say that Herz & Heimat City Tours is healthy and growing.

Ticket Tailor: We’re glad to hear it! Thanks for taking the time to chat to us, Barbara. We’ll be sure to book a tour next time we’re in Munich!

Find out more about the amazing Herz & Heimat City Tours, and how Ticket Tailor can help you with seamless ticketing for guided tours.

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