A new company offering ‘hop on, hop off’ walking tours in the UK and globally is looking to work with travel agents.
Vox City Walks, part of the Vox Group, is launching its first London walks at the end of this month, and in Oxford and Liverpool this summer.
It currently offers 20 cities, including Rome, Florence and Venice, which were the first to go live in September last year. By the end of this year it plans to have 60 cities globally, including more UK locations.
The walks are accompanied by local freelance guides and operate under separate franchises: Meantime Travel in London; City Sightseeing Oxford; and Experience North in Liverpool.
The walks, which can be booked online and pay commission to agents, can be sold as an add-on activity to city breaks.
The walks offer clients the chance to join and leave a sightseeing walk led by a guide at various joining points, much like a ‘hop on, hop off’ bus service.
Information on the walks, guides, joining locations and a map tracking where the guide is at any one time are all accessed via an app on the customer’s smart phone.
Clients can purchase a pass for 24, 48 or 72 hours, which also includes self-guided walks accessed via customers’ smart phones and is activated when the QR code on the app is scanned by the guide at the start of the walk.
Vox Group chief marketing officer and chief executive Meantime Travel John Boulding, former chief executive of Insight Vacations, said: “Out of Covid, we had the time to focus on this strand of hybrid sightseeing, using live guides on tour circuits, mixed with self-guiding. The flexibility of these walks are their secret ingredient.”
The company is currently in talks with travel agent consortia. “We are actively trying to work with the trade,” said Boulding, who added: “If an agent is taking a hotel, flight or inclusive tour booking, this is a way to add value to the booking and earn commission. It slots in well for agents who are tailormaking a trip.”
A London 24 hour pass costs £25; 48 hours is £27 and 72 hours is £30, which includes access to local guided walks for the duration of the time and seven self-guided tours.
The company is also looking for more franchise partners as it looks to expand to further cities and destinations.