When I conceived the idea for a unique tour company that became Small Car Big Time Tours, I rented a convertible MINI Cooper, and took out friends and family to see if they like the idea. They did. When I told concierges and other tour operators about my idea, they didn’t like it. Several said it would never work. “You need an SUV, or a van,” they said. No one wants to ride in a convertible. I didn’t listen to them, because I thought it was a good idea, friends thought it was a good idea, and if it was an idea only me and my friends thought it was a good idea I could sell the MINI and start something else.
Fortunately, they were wrong. Guests love the MINI Cooper tour. Here’s why:
1) You get to experience the city, instead of looking at it like viewing a television screen.
When you drive around in an SUV or Van, most of your experience is looking out a window. The guide could be telling you about architecture or scenery at it would be a mystery. And what can be seen may be on the other side of the vehicle. The only time you actually get to experience the city is when you stop and get out.
With the convertible MINI Cooper, every moment is a sight-seeing moment, and a chance for a photo op.
2) You can stop when and where you want.
With other tours, there is a schedule. The driver has a set route, and you’re taken to the sites at specific times, stay for as long as the driver allows, and then you’re off to the next site.
With the convertible MINI Tour, where you get out is up to you. Often guests opt not to get out at a site, because they can see everything they want, and even take photos, from the comfort of the MINI Cooper.
3) A convertible MINI Cooper is fun.
A van or SUV is transportation. No one gets excited about them. Most guests either own one, or ride in one regularly. So getting a tour in one is like getting a tour in the family car.
People who see you in the MINI often say, “That looks like fun.” They don’t say that when you ride in a van.
And a convertible is part of the of the California experience.
4) The Convertible MINI Cooper is unique.
Traveling is about having a new experience, so why see the city in the same old thing? A tour in a convertible MINI Cooper is novel. I’m the only convertible MINI Cooper registered as a commercial vehicle. In fact, the MINI Cooper is officially a limousine. When you get home you can brag about having a truly unique, only in San Francisco experience.
You’re in a special city. Why take an ordinary tour?