Free City Tours in Europe. Too good to be true, right? I also had the same reaction when I first heard about Sandeman’s New Europe Tours. I was in London when I first heard about Sandemans. In all the major hostels and budget hotels they were advertising about free walking tours in London. It also got my attention. I tried to inquire about, because when something is too good to be true, then it is probably a scam. I did my little research on the net and found out more about Sandeman’s free walking tours.
After being satisfied with the information I got on the net and from hotel staff, I decided to go on the walking tour next morning. To my surprise it was one of the best experiences I’ve had. The guide was absolutely friendly and very knowledgeable and he showed us all the major tourist attractions in London. The tour lasted for about 2 hours. I enjoyed every moment of it and payed absolutely nothing for the tour except for the voluntary tip to the guide for their excellent guidance and services.
Recently I went to Paris and there also I took Sandeman’s free walking tour. As expected, the walking tour was fantastic, I had a great time.
Now the main question, why does Sandeman’s provide FREE walking tours when there are other companies charging huge amounts for city tours. Actually their business model is simple yet interesting. Sandeman’s hires freelance tourist guides and pays them nothing. Instead they make a living on the tips they receive from tourists taking the tour. On average a tourist gives $5-10 to the guides and there are more than 50 tourists at a time. So you can calculate and know that the tourist guides are making a handsome income just based on the tip money. How does Sandeman’s benefit from it? The guides are instructed to promote other tours of Sandeman’s which are not free. This way the free walking tour is actually a trailer of their excellent services. This way people get to know about the company and are more likely to take their other tours as well.