Tauck Tours Interview: Seeing The World Matters
Tauck tours, a family-owned group travel organization, has been leading group travel for over 90 years. We at Five Family Adventurers wanted to find out what made Tauck tick for this long in family travel. We reached out to Tauck Tours and spoke to the Director of Brand Management, Julia O’Brien, to ask her what makes Tauck so successful.
Because we are a family travel blog, we decided to focus more on the Tauck Bridges Family Tours segment of Tauck Tours. Tauck Bridges curates their trips to engage kids and adults of all ages on their bridges trips. They take care of every planning detail giving family time to be together and share the experience of travel.
What is your position with Tauck and how long have you been with Tauck?
I am the Director of brand management with Tauck Tours and have been with the company for 5 years. I have always been in brand management, but not necessarily with travel. I had family that went on a Tauck tour and loved it. I saw a job posting through my alma mater for Tauck, applied, got the job and moved my family to Connecticut.
What’s The Advantage of Working With A Guided Tour Over Going It Alone?
I want to answer this question in three parts:
First, people appreciate the convenience of everything handled for them, all the logistics and details. It allows families to be present in the moment.
Second, all expenses are included in one upfront price. There is an advantage to having everything paid for up front. It’s a piece of mind. No worries about adding to budget.
Third, built in friendships. People on the group trips always make friends with others on trip. Kids can make friends with other kids on the trip and many of these friendships last way after the trip ends.
What is the average size of your trips? Do you have a cap on how many people can go on a tour?
Our land tours are capped at 35 to 40 people and the size vary by tours. Our cap depends on the capacity of the hotels we use. River cruising can be more.
What challenges do you face as a tour operator with travel being so easy to design via the internet?
For Tauck there are more benefits going with us, as designing a trip with the internet tends to become information overload. Research is daunting, a burden, and time consuming. Most just don’t have the time or want to spend the time researching the perfect trip.
We spend over two years planning and designing a Tauck Bridges trip to ensure kids and adult alike will be delighted. We make sure your one-week trip will be a trip of a lifetime.
How do you compete with other group tour programs?
Tauck Bridges Tours celebrated 15 years, and Tauck guided group tours has more than 90 years experience. First, a Tauck Bridges trip is a more meaningful way to travel together, more families are seeking to find authentic experience. Experiences together that you can’t get on your own. Tauck Bridges has brought customers back by giving them an authentic experience.
Second, all of our Tauck Bridges trips are designed from ground up. They are designed to be for all ages. It’s not a trip with kids club, it is a trip that engages all. Everyone gets to experience the world together as a family.
Third, Tauck Bridges, and for that matter, Tauck Tours has the best-in-class guides. Our tour guides are passionate and are recruited specifically for Bridges. They have an average of ten years working with Tauck or in the industry. They are past teachers or researches. The tour directors are all inclusive.
What is your top selling Tauck Bridges program?
Our top selling Bridges program is Italia Bella –Rome to Venice.
Why do you think it is the top selling program?
The trip visits a combination of iconic cities that are on bucket list for many families. There is history, food, a visit to the Sistine chapel after hours, a ride on a vintage yacht, a pirate cruise around Venice, a visit to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. A lot of things travelers cannot do on their own.
What percentage of Tauck travelers are repeat customers on your programs?
Over half for Tauck tours, but for Bridges it is a bit less as some of the kid travelers age out. Our guest satisfaction scores are higher in Tauck Bridges Tours.
Do you tend to do more family travel or older independent travelers.
The Bulk of Tauck business is baby boomer generation, retirement age. They tend to be culture-curious and want the experience.
Why do inter-generational travel?
No greater gift than family members being able to share the experience. Travel is a way to connect with those who you love. It’s a shared enrichment. How do you bridge the generations? Through travel experiences.
What are the ingredients in a great family trip?
That there is fun for every age and generation. Expereiences and excursions are crafted for all. Getting kids involved in the planning experience. Getting kids engaged results in getting kids more excited in the trip. At Tauck we recently created a brochure just for kids. It’s important to have and aspect like wildlife, culture, and history that fosters learning outside of the classroom.
What destinations should beginner travelers consider for their first family trip?
The National Parks in the USA–Bryce, Zion, Yellowstone–are great adventures for beginners wanting to stay closer to home. Tauck allows travelers to learn from a horse whisperer or fly is a private charter plane over the parks. If beginner travelers want to venture a bit farther, then I would suggest a river cruise. The ease of unpacking just once and doing daily shore excursions is perfect for the beginner traveler. It’s a simplier way to travel.
Any idea for experienced travelers looking for their next family adventure?
I would recommend, Africa Tanzania or Galapagos for the more experienced and adventurers travelers. Tauck has partnership with BBC Earth natural history experts to bring in more experiences.
If you were to go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Egypt is high on the list. I would like to see the oldest of the 7 wonders of the world.