City mobile quest-excursions. Own project
Cityspirit – meet a spirit of a city through mobile quest-excursions
The service immerses the independent travellers in the authenticity of historical cities in Russia using mobile quest-excursions inspired by local stories, at any time, without guides and groups of tourists.
Brief overview
August 2020 –
August 2021
Idea and business model
Service system and CJM
Excursion design
Lean branding
Website and content
Launching MVP
> 40
Primary research
Historical cities
in Russia
I was in Astrakhan (a popular tourist historical city) when I got travellers’ feedback about it – the city is cool, authentical, with beautiful architecture, but without interesting, structured information, and new and creative ideas and routes in it. The local tourism industry was archaic, basic and rigid.

There are more than 40 historical cities in Russia – interesting territory to scale. Moreover, internal tourism was booming. It inspired me to build my project.
The excursion and tour guides market in Russia is quite crowded: many tour agencies and different guides, excursions platforms, tour planning services. Most of them offer a classic format – order an individual or group excursion with a local guide.

I needed to find a different idea.
A curious and independent traveller
• To immerse in the authenticity of a city
• To get an unusual experience
I did some surveys and interviews to frame my client's archetype
“I love to engage with the authenticity of a new city by myself, without tour guides and ordinary excursions. I avoid popular attractions and look for interesting places and local stories.”
• To walk through unusual routes and places
• To get local stories
• To be independent of others
• There are no structured and interesting information about a city
• Walks without information are superficial
• Ordinary excursions are boring
• Don’t like to be a part of a group and follow the tour guide
A traveller can walk in a city by himself. Based on an unusual plot he follows a route, gets information about places, finds buildings and objects, answers questions and accomplishes tasks. Such excursion turns out into an interesting city-quest guided by a smartphone.
What if a traveller independently becomes a hero of a local story, which immerses him in the unique side of a city?
MVP business model
The business model for MVP was simple
Revenue stream
Immersive city quest-excursions guided by chatbot, independently
Quest-excursion purchase
Website, chatbot, email, phone, social media
Team and resources
Local historian, developer. Unique content.
Content creation, design, development, marketing, supportive services
Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
To launch MVP in one historical city. I chose Astrakhan because I know it well.
To test and refine the concept, the business model, a system and marketing.
To scale in other 40 historical cities of Russia.
Clients flow for MVP
Searching for information about a city
Interacting with ads or search results
Going to a website
Choosing and purchasing a quest-excursion
Getting a code on an email
Activating the code in a chatbot
Going for a walk guided by the chatbot
Evaluating and giving a feedback
Unique sides of the city
Together with Kate, we identified the unique sides of the city and directions for searching for information.
It wasn’t easy to find a good local historian for such a project. Fortunately, I met Kate!
Quest-excursion idea
Based on historical information, stories and local people, we created ideas for quest-excursions, chose places, and built scenarios.
We tested quests-excursions on ourselves and on other people.
We modified quest-excursions and moved them to the chatbot. We set up the launch of quest-excursions by an individual code, and run some tests.
Lean branding
The MVP needed a brand. To communicate the idea of the authenticity of a city I focused on an image of a unique spirit that captures and immerses in a city. I created the name Cityspirit and designed lean identity.
It was important to manage users’ journey till purchasing. That’s why I built a website for mobile and desktop to sell quest-excursions. I plugged the payment system, added Google, Yandex and Facebook analytics.
To present quest-excursions on the website and create ads, together with the photographer, we did photo and video shooting for each product.
To capture clients on early-stage who just looking for information about a city, together with the historian, we created a blog with answers to popular internet search requests.
To get honest feedback and publish it on the website, I asked people to try the service and complete each quest-excursion.
Launch MVP
After final tests, extra development and integration work, we launched MVP!
Then my focus moved to marketing and sales:
• Testing channels
• Improving comunication
• Managing social media
• Tuning ads
• Collecting clients’ feedback
“I liked it very much! I felt like a real eastern venturer. The historical part of the city opened up to me from a new angle. This unusual and amusing route truly represented the spirit of the city. I wish my friend and city guests could experience such Astrakhan.”
“It was interesting for us to accomplish tasks, to search for details on buildings and get stories of them. We began noticing more architectural elements after this walk. Thanks to the quest we met so many things, beauty and stories behind the facade which we could miss.”
First feedback
“We all liked the quest. First of all, it’s affordable, it gives independence in time and from a tour guide, and offers an interesting representation of historical material.”
“Idea is interesting. I like it, time passed fascinating and imperceptible ????. Would be great if you will refine it with more intriguing and interesting details.”
It’s just the beginning. During the first season, I continue gathering feedback, checking the system, evaluating marketing and sales. These data will help to understand the potentiality of this project and form a strategy.
Vitaly Fedosov
CEO, designer
Ekaterina Kolimazhnova
Local historian
1 year
Business design
Service design
Brand design
Travel design
Denis Terekhov
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