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New Berlin Free Tour

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Bristol, United...
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New Berlin Free Tour

Just a continuation to the older expired thread: This tour was superb! It would be literally 'free' if you had the gall to walk away without tipping anything, but in the words of the guide 'you just pay what you think it's worth' - they work for tips as they will say but once at the beginning & leave it at that (no sob/hard luck stories). Our guide was a graduate of German/History (also Russian) so extremely knowledgeable, passionate & engaging at what he does.

Did the 'Free Tour' in which I probably learned (or absorbed!) more in 3.5 hours than I did in the same amount of years at school, covering the 'majors'; Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, etc. We then did the Sachsenhausen tour the next day, since it was going to be with the very same guide - not something I ever saw myself doing, touring a concentration camp, but I'm glad I did it; very profound & moving.

So, I would recommend them highly. I also recommend that people really do hand over what they think it's worth in real terms, rather than 2/ 3 euros 'cos it's supposed to be free anyway'; from my point of view, I don't think I would have done much better on a *paid* tour.

Denver, Colorado
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1. Re: New Berlin Free Tour

What was the name of the tour? Do they have a website?

Germany
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for Train Travel
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2. Re: New Berlin Free Tour

You can find various discussions about walking tours in Berlin. E.g.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187323-i135-k1268…

And keep in mind "There is no such thing as a free ...".

With the "free" tours the number of participants are counted at the begin and the guide has to pay a certain sum per head to the company (for advertising etc.). A figure for this sum once mentioned here in a discussion was Euro 5.

If a tour is good or not depends of course on the guide (and the weather). And here it should be no surprise that the fluctuation of guides is higher with the "free" companies. This is also a question if you want more "stories" or more "history".

When reading travel reports from Berlin I first always thought "OK - there is lot's of history and maybe they just got a few things wrong". But in the mean time I rather think there are a few guides out who tell their groups some fairy tales.

3. Re: New Berlin Free Tour

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Removed on: 22 January 2010, 05:56
berlin
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4. Re: New Berlin Free Tour

I agree with Bornheimgirl and Abalada, but there's more to that. You have just mentioned at the end of your report (which I am grateful for, even if I concur with the others!): " I also recommend that people really do hand over what they think it's worth in real terms, rather than 2/ 3 euros 'cos it's supposed to be free anyway'"

The point is - if you pay, say, EUR 10 for the tour, this is the price of a real tour with one of the professional tour companies, and over there, the guide does not have to pay the company per person, it goes another way round.

Bristol, United...
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5. Re: New Berlin Free Tour

But as was established in the other thread, if the guides had to hand over 5 euros per head to the company then they simply wouldn't be there....being that 5 euro seems to be what most give; I don't think these guides would want to work for nothing would they? The company only offers one 'free' tour, the other ones they put on are all 'paid' tours.

*I* enjoyed it & *I* would recommend them. I've done enough tours to know what constitutes a good guide & this was one. Whether I was just lucky enough to this guide who knows enough about German history not to have to resort to 'fairy tales', I cannot say. I paid him the price of a 'real' tour because that's precisely what I got.

http://www.newberlintours.com/nbt/

6. Re: New Berlin Free Tour

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Removed on: 22 January 2010, 05:57
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7. Re: New Berlin Free Tour

We at SANDEMANs NEW Berlin would like to take a moment to respond to these allegations. Our company is not having "legal problems" as Bornheimgirl is claiming. There are not "court cases against them for many various reasons". That is a complete fabrication, sensational lies. Making unfounded claims like this, without evidence to support it, is simply a way to slander the company.

Absolutely our guides help contribute towards the marketing expenses of the company. They are happy to help the company so that we can continue to run these tours, continue to keep tourists from getting ripped off. Someone has to pay for the flyers and maps that we distrubute, over 3 1/2 million free maps a year to tourists across Europe! Our guides are all freelances, and many do regular tours on their own without the company. They have found that working with SANDEMANs NEW Berlin is more profitable than working with other companies, which is why they continue to work with us!

The amount of contribution the guides make varies from guide to guide. There is no set figure, although 5 Euros is not accurate. Occasionally guides who work for the company overstate this amount to increase their tips, something the company does NOT permit so that the customer does not feel pressure. The amount a customer tips should be up to the customer without feeling any pressure. The amount on average is NEVER as much as 5 euros! We'd love to know which guide said that, since we don't allow that and would love to follow up with that guide. The amount is based on various factors, just like a salary would be for another company. We work on a different model than a traditional tour company, but that by no means makes the company "underhanded". I don't see other posters asking about how much money other tour companies pay their staff, why is that not expected of other companies? Posters would see that while tour guides with other companies make 10-15 Euros an hour, SANDEMANs guides average more than 20 Euros an hour, making SANDEMANs one of the top employers, if you're a good guide. If you're a bad guide, it makes more sense to go to one of the other companies that makes customers pay up front. During busy season on average a SANDEMANs guide working 20 hour weeks can earn 2,000 Euros a month!

As the largest city tour company across Europe, running more than 100 tours a day across Europe & Israel, it is in our best interest to provide quality tours, something our competitors (who are not operating in as many cities as us) don't have to worry about-- once you've paid them the money they don't worry about you coming back! We're concerned which giving you the best possible tour, so that you can see for yourself how great our guides are. That's why Lonely Planet wrote that that "...the best introduction to the city is a FREE Tour with NEW Berlin tours"

Bristol, United...
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8. Re: New Berlin Free Tour

Hello Bornheimgirl,

I'd rather you weren't, but clearly you are, making it personal; as an answer, yes - I would be quite happy for them to turn up in Bristol & give a 'free tour'. My initial intention was purely to come onto the Berlin forum & comment on a tour that is clearly very popular - judging by the numbers that turn up. I, myself, have worked on a tips-only basis in previous years & I certainly wasn't on the bread line, let's put it that way.

I neglected to mention the legal ethics of this company purely because I do not know them & it was really not my place to start badgering the guide into the whys & wherefores of his employment - suffice to say that this particular guide 'claimed' to have been with them for two years ... and also seemed quite devoted to his vocation, and it obviously keeps him afloat.

What I think what be more beneficial to tourists like myself, searching these boards for information on tours, is a very clear cut reason why we shouldn't use them - rather than hints & insinuations - and then we can make an informed decision accordingly. If you (or any other posters/DE's) have something definitive to say, regarding legality or otherwise, that we tourists should hear, then I think you should say it.

Frankfurt
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for Frankfurt
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9. Re: New Berlin Free Tour

Fine, I will ask to have my posts removed. You win.

Bristol, United...
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10. Re: New Berlin Free Tour

I wasn't aware it was a game, Bornheimgirl - no winners or losers from where I stand. I just simply ask that you, being the general term for all Berliners, keep us lesser informed people of where we stand. That was all.