More than 730,000 people have visited Coca‑Cola HBC Russia’s bottling plants over the last 20 years or so – that’s more than the population of a city like Seville. One of our expert plant tour guides, Alexandra Sakhapova, shares the secrets of her job.
There are plenty of myths around the company and its beverages: many people actually think that Coca‑Cola is unhealthy. I feel like a real mythbuster, as the main purpose of our tours is to give people factual information about our beverages, show visitors our production process, tell them about the high quality of our products, to boost brand loyalty.
A tour comes in several distinct parts. The first one takes place in our museum. I introduce visitors to the history of creation of our company and Coca‑Cola, our flagship beverage. After this, the most exciting part of the tour begins: visitors start the actual plant tour. While there, visitors can see, through their own eyes, how we make our products and find out more about the technology we use to make them — from multi-stage water filtration all the way to labelling and quality control. We do not hold anything back: we go into a fair amount of detail about the production process and our ingredients. During the plant tour visitors get to know that we produce our beverages in strict compliance with all the regulatory requirements and international standards.
Do you drink Coca‑Cola yourself? The most frequent question a tour guide gets to hear from visitors
Every tour guide follows a standard scenario, but the tour style may differ depending on the audience. Tours for schoolchildren are always interactive, and I try to add fun moments to the tour. For example, teens are always amazed when they hear that it takes just 4 seconds to fill a 2L Coca‑Cola bottle. When I’m talking to students, I give more details about production processes and career opportunities at our company. I also ask them some fun questions so they can show off their knowledge. For example, I can ask them whether they know the only two countries in the world where Coca‑Cola is not sold. (The tip - Cuba and North Korea).
“A tour guide is like an actor on stage, and spectators must believe him,” my manager told me when I was just learning to do my job. This is absolutely true, but I would add a very important twist here: a plant tour guide is a Coca‑Cola ambassador first of all, someone sincerely, genuinely sharing their joy, knowledge, and love for the brand with our visitors. And it is up to us to make sure our visitors are left with a great impression of our company. This is a big responsibility.
Being a tour guide is pretty hard work: we lead from two to five tours a day! Nearly 50,000 guests visited our nine plants in Russia last year alone. Anyone can sign up for a free plant tour on our website. We are always happy to see new visitors – come on over, and bring your friends, too!