Surely you know what a Free Tour is, but have you considered its origin? To do this we must return to 2003, and to the figure of Chris Sandeman.
Chris Sandeman was a young tour guide from the city of Berlin, who lost his job. He wanted to continue working as a guide, and desperate, decided to throw himself on the street with a poster where you could read “free tour based on tips.”
As often happens with innovative ideas, it did not work, people looked at him as crazy, and practically had no clients, so the second week he showed up at the hostels in the city to offer his services.
Why did he go to the hostels? Usually hotels seek to obtain commissions and give a contrasted service. On the other hand, hostels seek to generate a more complete experience to their guests without taking into account their own benefit. Sandeman gave a guided service to the hostel’s customers, and the hostels got good reviews from their clients by providing them with quality service.
He quickly realized two great advantages of his new service. In the first place, his clients were totally different to the ones that used to appear when he was a private guide. They were people who sought an independent, more economical and more informal experience. Second, their routes gained quality quickly, as his livelihood depended on the quality of the route. When he was an official guide, he performed his work routinely, but because of the free tour system he knew he had to offer the best possible service in order to earn more.
His surprise was enormous seeing how grateful his customers were, not just because they paid what they wanted to, but because they were given the opportunity to decide their own price. It gave the client such respect and power, and the customers knew that they were getting a great service, as they knew that the guide was doing his best.
It worked so well that in just 6 months he got 50% of the Berlin market. The private guides were promptly protesting that he was stealing the market, but Chris was prepared. He had gone to see his old colleagues, had made numbers and had realized that they had not lost customers, on the contrary, they had increased their numbers. The existence of the Free Tour system had not affected the traditional guide, but complemented it. It was a new market.
Nowadays, the Free Tour system is spread all over the world, and we, Heart of Sevilla, have collected the witness of this great idea from Chris Sandeman, and we firmly believe in giving the best service possible. We are from Seville, we love Seville, and we want every visitor to leave our city with the feeling of having discovered the heart of Seville. You can check our free tours here.