Tauck is still riding a high from its highly successful year in 2013. And for a company that’s been offering tours for close to 90 years, hitting all-time highs at this stage in the game speaks volumes. We sit down with Vice President Jeremy Palmer to learn the secret of Tauck’s success, its new offerings for 2014 and what type of traveller is best suited for a Tauck tour.
1. How was business in 2013? Up, down, the same? What would you attribute this to?
We had a very, very strong year in 2013. It was an incredible success by any metric, but the most important ones we measure are our guest satisfaction levels, and they hit all-time highs.
I definitely attribute our success to the guiding principles we all follow that were first set down almost 90 years ago by Arthur Tauck, Sr. We craft memorable travel experiences that enhance our guests’ lives and exceed their expectations. We include all expenses and provide the highest level of service. We deliver strong value.
People’s tastes can change and destinations can go in-and-out of fashion, but our success is really rooted in the strong, shared sense of purpose that drives everything we do at Tauck.
2. What were some of your bestsellers last year?
River cruising continued to be incredibly popular, and we also saw great interest continue in our Tauck Bridges family trips. It was such a strong year that we were really up across the board, with Europe once again our most popular destination overall.
3. Is Tauck debuting any new tours in 2014?
Yes! We’re expanding our river cruising capacity this year with the launch of two new Tauck riverboats, the ms Inspire and ms Savor, and our fleet expansion is allowing us to add four new river cruises. Two of those new cruises are on the Seine; our first ever on that river.
We’re also debuting a number of special single-departure Tauck Events this year, including a Tauck Bridges ‘Walking With Dinosaurs’ family event exploring the world of the dinosaurs in and around Calgary, an incredible winter event in Yosemite, and a gala New Year’s celebration in Paris. Also on tap are two in-depth, multiple-departure events – our ‘World Cities’ explorations of Florence and London.
Finally, we’re also very excited about our new journey exploring Patagonia, and our new Tauck Bridges ‘Spain: Ole Ole Ole’ itinerary.
4. What type of traveller does Tauck cater to, and how is that reflected in the kind of itineraries you offer?
Our guests are inquisitive, knowledge-seeking world travellers, so we provide insider access to unique places and people to deliver the kinds of enriching, authentic experiences that our guests couldn’t possibly arrange on their own. For example, Tauck guests see the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel on a private after-hours tour, and not during the daytime crush with thousands of other visitors. And when our guests experience the famous Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi’an, China, they meet with the museum director who’s charged with their conservation and preservation.
At the same time, our guests also want to be extremely well cared for. They appreciate that we do all the planning, that we include every major expense in our pricing, and that we back every Tauck journey with superior service, expertise and value.
This year we’ll see the continued expansion and redefinition of what a “tour” can be. We’ve constantly re-invented the category throughout our 90-year history, and we continue to break the mold. For example, we’re launching a partnership this year with the nature documentary filmmakers at BBC Earth, and together we’re helping our guests to really experience the wonders of the natural world in new and exciting ways.
We’re also growing our portfolio of events, and the in-depth immersion they provide and their single-hotel-stay approach really defy the common “tour” definition. And of course our European river cruises also push the boundary of what a tour is. It’s an incredibly exciting time here at Tauck, and we’re looking forward to another great year making our guests’ travel dreams come true!