New York Authentic Tours specializes in hidden gem tours of NYC, and the company has been in business for more than 13 years, based right here in Canada in Cochrane, AB. A pandemic pivot opened up the company’s expertise beyond schools and other groups to the general travelling public, and put its product with travel advisors, who can earn 10% commission (or up to 12.5% thanks to a new incentive for tours booked for this summer). New York Authentic Tours’ co-founders Cindy Wesby and Andrea Lympany tell all in this edition of Take 5.
- Has New York Authentic Tours always worked with travel agents, and does it offer travel agent commission?
“We haven’t always worked with travel agents. Prior to the pandemic, we worked with local clients directly on customized group tours out of Calgary.
“We now offer 10% commission to travel agents booking our New York Authentic Tour, including all upgrades and add-ons. We currently have a special 12.5% commission offering for tours starting in June, July or August 2022. Each agency (or agent) has their own online booking platform where we keep track of their bookings, commission, reports, etc.”
- What sets New York Authentic Tours apart from its competitors, and can you share some hidden gems in the city that might pop up on an itinerary?
“This is truly a luxury tour, from our accommodation to our luxury coaches and limousines that we use for your daily activities.
“We also offer five nights in New York, as we believe you cannot truly experience what New York has to offer in less time. We also include many more experiences and tours than our competitors.
“We have carefully selected each of our licensed tour guides because they’re New Yorkers who live or have grown up in the neighbourhoods we bring you to. They have first-hand experience of the area and have personally witnessed the changes to their community. They love to share their candid stories and vast knowledge about the history and culture of their part of New York.
“We provide the opportunity to visit some of the neighbourhoods that tourists may not typically visit, yet still maintaining some independence and free time, with the advise and guidance of our Tour Directors.
“On our Bushwick Street Art Walking Tour, with a local artist, guests not only get to experience Bushwick with a local guide who grew up in the area, they also learn about the street art from an artist with an in-depth knowledge on the history, the street artists and their meanings behind the art.
“And our Walking Tour of El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) is with a local who grew up in this area, and includes an authentic Cuban meal. Guests will truly get to experience the real Spanish Harlem on this tour, along with its culture and art, and they’ll get to try some of the best authentic dishes as well.”
- Can itineraries be customized, and what can you tell us about group sizes, and private group tour options?
“We currently only offer the one tour itinerary, which is available for adults to join, from anywhere in the world. This is a small group tour, with maximum group size of 20. We are able to arrange a private tour with a minimum of 16 passengers.”
- What hotels does New York Authentic Tours use on its trips, and do you arrange airfare as well?
“We use The Westin New York at Times Square, a four-star luxury boutique hotel. We do not arrange airfare, so that our travel agents can benefit from the additional commission by providing this service to our passengers.”
- The pandemic was an extremely challenging time for all travel companies, and particularly any company selling U.S. travel to Canadians, what with the border being closed for so long. Are bookings coming roaring back, and what are you hearing from clients?
“Prior to the pandemic, we were an educational tour operator providing customized group tours from Calgary all over the world. We worked directly with local schools, dance performing groups and other organizations. Since the pandemic, we have pivoted our business and developed our New York Authentic Tour – as New York was always our most popular destination in the past. This is a new tour and we’re excited to share the experience with new clients.
“This is an endorsement we received from Eli Marcus, Executive Director of City Guide NY Magazine: ‘New York Authentic Tours offer a luxury six-day land only tour of New York City. By utilizing the best local tour guides, they have captured the ‘real’ New York at a fantastic value! Their years of experience bringing guests to New York City, the partnerships they have developed with locals, and their passion to show the hidden gems of ‘The Big Apple’ makes their tour the ultimate experience. Compared to other multi-day tours to New York City, this one has so much more to offer!’”
To find out more about New York Authentic Tours, see newyork-authentic.com.