Stephen Oddo
Stephen Oddo shares the story of his tour business – Walks.

In this candid and in-depth episode of Tourpreneur, the podcast for tour operators, I chat with Stephen Oddo of Walks. Steve grew up in a travel agency, with his family background in travel on both his mom and dad’s side. Growing up, Steve experienced many kinds of “big” travel guided tours. 

Stephen Oddo’s idea of creating Walks stemmed from his experience as a child.

“We saw an opportunity to create smaller group walking tours and there weren’t many companies certainly not in Italy focusing on small group tours.”

Stephen Oddo, CEO Walks

What makes Walks different from other walking tours?

Walks used this niche to differentiate themselves when they launched the company and continue to separate themselves away from the big cookie-cutter tours to this day. “We thought the guides could bring the tour to life and make each tour an experience that was so much more memorable.”

The importance of hiring top tour guides and paying them well!

Stephen Oddo is also much more intentional about hiring top guides. He works with them, pays them well, and developed a relationship over time that was mutually beneficial. With several hundred tour guides leading the way, Walks offer a variety of tours, including day trips, cooking classes, and different thematic products they develop, which is what makes them different from other tour companies.

“Our focus is much more on the individual guides, the product, diversity of product, and differentiation.”

Stephen Oddo, walks

On why Walks created a global conference for their employees

You’ll hear about how Steve created a Walks conference for his global employees, the success of the Walks Conference and how the conference brought together his employees, generated new ideas for his company, and brought everyone closer together.

Listen in to find out how Walk handles group tour sizes, how they built their own in-house software (which, by the way, Steve doesn’t recommend) and how Steve manages his Walks network of over 1000 people!


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Links and Resources Mentioned on this Episode of Tourpreneur – a podcast for tour operators.

Links Mentioned in this Episode and additional information about Stephen Oddo and Walks.

Walks Tour Company

The Walks Philosophy

Walks Tour Company on Twitter

Walks Tour Company on Instagram

Stephen Oddo

GFTA – Global Food Tourism Association.


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Shane Whaley is the Producer and Host of the Tourpreneur Podcast. He is also the curator in chief for the Tourpreneur Daily Brief. Shane has worked in the travel industry for almost twenty years.