HOW TO START YOUR VERY OWN GHOST TOUR

 Most haunted house in America can't be on every tour in the United States! But whats the Most haunted place in your American City or Town?

Haunted ghost tours give people a chance to participate in ongoing research into the paranormal.

 

 

The word on the internet is the world’s first ghost walk or haunted tour was first established in the city of York, England in 1973. Since then, many have sprung up throughout Great Britain, the United States and for the most part the entire world. In each case, one or two people lead a group of other people through the streets to haunted houses, haunted buildings, crime scenes and local cemeteries, pointing out local ghost stories and urban legends along the way. It’s as simple as that. Or is it?

 

If you're interested in starting your very own ghost or haunted history, cemetery, ghost or paranormal tour then please read further…


Beginning a haunted walking tour is easy, all you need is ghosts! Ghost stories and local urban legends of your city can easily be gathered from books and word of mouth stories. If you live in an historic town or city with a rich history of stories and events, you’re in a far better position than someone who doesn't!

Research your baby ghost steps before you begin to walk with the spirits. Every ghost tour certainly does. Many ghost tours have humble roots as plain historic city tours. Others started just as a one time thing have turned into full blown million dollar business.

To begin your research ask questions, visit your city’s historic areas, go to museums, hotels and places of interest and begin your own haunted paranormal fact gathering. The mistake a lot of first time tour guides face is setting themselves apart from other tours. Often ghost tours are started by ex- ghost tour walk guides that have worked for other haunted or non-haunted tour companies. Always it seems all they do is take a story or what they learned while working for an established tour company and don't change the information, following the same route and haunts of their former employers. Competition is fun, but set up a tour that is distinct and different. Look for new haunted locations, find new stories and set your company apart from the rest.


A great Haunted Ghost Tour should last around 1 -2 hours, and visit at least 8- 10 different haunted places, all with different ghost types and paranormal phenomena associated with each location. The better tours always mix real spooky stories with colorful tales of local history, famous people or strange haunted real life characters and folklore. And often guides tell what unexplained paranormal things have happened when others have taken your particular tour in the recent past, including stories of ghost sightings or encounters and ghost photos taken on the tour.


Many ghost tour operators visit the local history section of libraries and start building up a casebook of alleged hauntings, supernatural occurrences, strange customs and beliefs; focus your searches on unusual historical characters, locations of public murders, and mysteries, etc. Locals often tell great tales of demons, ghouls, witches… these are the best haunted stories to find and learn; few do the research to make them better, though. You don't have to stick to the book! Story telling is a personal thing!

the ghost are ready are you ?

I find that the better tour companies will suggest other tours you should take and where would-be ghost hunters might go to further investigate facts about hauntings described on the tour. In fact, at the end of the best haunted tour I ever went on, the guide suggested other historic tours and other ghost tours from other companies. Because of this I recommend them highly and frequently refer others their way. Professionalism is always a great selling point!

Don't be a cut-throat ghost tour guide: this should be everyone's motto. Too often the many over- crowded haunted tours in some cities will go out of their way to discredit other tours, using all kinds of misinformation in an attempt to discredit them. Often new haunted tour companies pop up because over-worked and under-paid tour guides decide that rather than work for someone else they can give their own private tours and earn more money. Personally I know of a few tour groups in large cities that make the guides sign a contract stating they will not start up a tour company or take the information they know to another tour company and or sell it or write it into a book.

Finding your own haunted market


Realistically, you’ll need to situate your walk in a place that attracts tourists, historic areas, cemeteries, battlefields or even near a local haunted building or hotel tour. One small company in Middle America offers a tour that brings the tourist to six of the oldest hotels in their town. This will give you a constant source of potential clients looking for a cheap, informative, and fun evening of entertainment. Halloween is also a great, seasonal time to start up a haunted tour. Some tours experience challenges with the weather in certain climates and only operate for a few months during the year. Many of the most successful tours say they began as an outgrowth of a local author’s haunted books or as a Halloween school or group fundraiser then became a solid fixture in their city in less then a year.

Also try to make yourhaunted ghost tour or walk unique. some tours actually bring ghost hunting equipment along and let those on the tour use it to see what they may find. Another great tour offers a real Seance along the way at a local restuarant. Another haunted tour takes you along on their private investigations.

Advertising your ghost tour

Radio stations in any given city love to give away free things to their listeners -- offer your tour as a port of their Halloween promotions, let the station give away two tickets to your haunted tour every hour during morning and afternoon drive time and all day on weekends. Sure, you’re giving away a free spot on your tours but word of mouth is the best way to get started and to get people talking or thinking about you, developing more interest in your tours. Offer to come in and appear on the radio station’s morning show program to tell a ghost story or two; or offer to bring in a psychic friend who can do phone readings to help expose your tours. Free publicity helps everyone.

Television Stations love filler stories about ghost tours too!

Also you should consider getting in touch with local ghost hunter groups, school teachers or the history or anthropology departments of local universities and other places such as hotels; tell them what you are doing and offer ways they might be able to participate in your tours. Hotel concierges are the best way to spread the word about your tours because they often refer tourists to the sights and great things to do in any city, and your tour should be part of it. Local restaurants and bars often are great places to start or end a tour; they are also usually open to providing a refreshment stop along the way, so negotiate, negotiate, negotiate!


A ghost walk is really cheap to set up, however, you’ll need to advertise the fact that it exists if you’re going to attract paying customers! Ideally, approach the owners of local haunted restaurants, bars, hotels, houses or businesses. Ask them if you can put up a chalkboard outside the place, and use it as the starting point of your walk. Also leave some leaflets, flyers and business cards. You can finish your walk with a visit back to the tavern, restaurant or hotel bar where you can round up with their ghost story and chat with your tour clients afterward as you prepare for your next tour group. Rule of thumb: always save the best for last. Allude to the fact that your starting point is haunted but tell what should be the best story of sightings, encounters and/or ghost photos being taken at your wrap-up location.


Your local tourist board will be happy to display leaflets advertising the walk and if they have a web site you can ask them if you might have a line or two on it. You could also stick up a leaflet for a small weekly fee in local newspapers.

Things you need to do

You might also need a license from your local city or town authority in order to run your ghost walk or you may have to become an accredited tour guide in your area first. Check with your local authority in advance, or ask for some friendly advice from your local tourist board.

Always get permission to include a location on your tour. If you’re going to lead a dozen people or more around your town, make sure you’ve got advance permission if you’re intending to take them to the local churches, cemeteries, hotels restaurants and most important private homes; also remember, some city authorities will place limits on group size.

How much do I charge?


Typically, $10-15 per person, and a special group rate for parties over 6 persons. If you try charging more, you’ll find yourself competing unfavorably with other local attractions and events. Some tours give senior citizen discounts, and children free, though in most cases many tours ask that children always be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Your tour by all means should not be a cheap “baby-sitter” or be responsible for someone's children whom you do not know. Many tours state that children under thirteen years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Most tours discourage parents from dropping off their kids to take the tour alone and others offer a toned-down “kid’s only” tour available for birthdays or during the Halloween season. Remember, some children are easily scared and if you are going to offer something catering to children, it should be more fun than ghoulish.

Ghost tour start-up musts

Always have a good pair of walking shoes, remember a one to two-hour ghost walk involves a lot of walking, and if you plan to do more then one tour a day you will need them. Most great tours are usually no longer then 1 mile in actual traveling distance.

A very good memory and the ability to tell a good story are important.


It’s highly unlikely that a real ghost is going to pop up every time to keep your customers happy; therefore you’re always going to be the main source of entertainment. And remember to encourage photos as ghosts will often show up in photographs when your guests go home and have the film developed. One ghost tour I know of offers disposable cameras for sale to their guests telling them quite frankly that many people capture ghosts on film on their tours, and if they don't have a camera here's a chance to buy one.

The more entertaining you are, the more likely that your customers will recommend the walk to others: many tour companies have their guides dress in appropriately frightful or “gothic” clothing to maintain the dark and mysterious atmosphere essential to good ghost storytelling. Some dress in all black or adopt the characterization of certain personages discussed on the tour; others have gone so far as to dress in mortuary assistant’s aprons and gloves and show up driving a hearse. IN New Orleans many guides adopt the vampire persona associated with Anne Rice and her vampire novels; in Salem witches’ garb is popular for tour guides. All these “gags” go a long way in creating a memory for your customers. PLAY WITH THE PATRONS! You only have one chance to make it unforgettable!

Remember a great haunted tour guide who can pluck tales, facts and figures out of thin air is far more impressive than someone who only knows the things they’ve read out of a tour or city guide. It is OK to stray from the “script” as customers can usually tell a “canned” speech from good improvisation.

A keen and solid knowledge of local history is great; some cities and local colleges offer tour guide classes while others make it mandatory that you pass a written or verbal test. In many small American towns, however, nothing so formal is required. One young lady inherited a large, run-down mansion on the East Coast. She could not afford the expensive up-keep of the old house, so she and her friend decided to give the house a haunted story of its own. After some research and planning, The Haunted Mansion Guided Tours was born. This initial idea worked and from it these women developed a haunted gift shop, then a restaurant, then a few tours in nearby cities, and they now operate one of the best and largest haunted tour groups in the country.

Keeping it real


Many ghost walks employ the odd “cheesy trick” to keep the atmosphere “spooky” and some tours are conducted only at night. But day-time haunted cemetery tours and daylight ghost tours attract a lot of people who are more interested in the history aspect of the town they are visiting or who just don't want to get that scared. You can't get away with night time tricks during the day - such as having someone hide behind tomb or in an alley waiting to jump out and holler “BOO,” but there’s a lot to be said for daytime tours. Don’t overlook this aspect as an added moneymaker.

A word about tipping: Generally, it is good to encourage tips for your tour guides; the amount should be at the discretion of your customers. It’s always good to mention before each group gets started that it is OK to tip the guide if they’ve done a really good job. Some tour groups frown on the practice. The call is yours.

Complaints: As the saying goes, you can’t please everyone all the time, and sometimes this is true in the haunted tour business as well. Many people take haunted tours expecting a kind of non-stop, fun-house event and are disappointed when they find that this is difficult to produce in a simple walking tour. Unfortunately, negative feedback is one way of gauging the successful work of your tour guides; too many complaints about a particular guide help you to focus on who needs improvement or where changes need to be made. Always receive complaints as graciously as compliments and have a plan in mind to defuse the complainer: offer some kind of compensation such as free tours on a return trip or even dinner at a local popular restaurant on the tour company. Successful handling of unhappy patrons is as important to your return business as any other aspect of advertising – sometimes more so!

Ghost tours have came a long way and everyone has their own ideas about what makes or breaks a great haunted tour. Although it is a source of income and investment it is always important to remember to HAVE FUN and ENJOY YOURSELF. If you are not happy with your product, your patrons won’t be. It’s your satisfaction that makes the haunted tour you offer a memorable event worth taking again and again! Good Luck!

Ghost Tour Start Up Must Knows Coming Soon:

Managing Your Ghost Tour Business
Creating A Successful Ghost Tour Business Plan
Financing Your Small Business Ghost Tour
Marketing Your Small Business Ghost Tour
Selling Your Ghost Tour Products

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