Discounting travel products is a serious faux pas in the travel industry, according to Tauck’s Vice President of Global Sales, Steve Spivak.
Addressing local trade media at a lunch in Sydney yesterday, Spivak condemned discounting as it paints the industry as misleading and distrustful.
“Discounting undermines the integrity of the travel industry,” Spivak said.
“It destroys the livelihood of travel agents, and does nothing for the demand for travel.
“By discounting, it says we don’t know what we do or how to value what we do.
“At Tauck, we will never be about price, we will always be about value, and not discounting,” Spivak added.
Referencing a popular campaign done by Tauck previously, Spivak quoted, “The best never goes on sale”.
His advice for the industry and travel wholesalers was to take the time to price components of your product, and focus on what your customer and partners deserve.
“We don’t want guests asking, ‘Did I pay the right price for this tour’, or ‘Should I have booked earlier or later?'” Spivak said.
“That’s not what travel is about.”
But the lunch also came with some exciting updates from the company, in particular how they can continue to focus on their customer’s needs.
“The next three to five year plan is seeking to impact Tauck at 100,” Spivak said of the 92-year-old brand.
“We want to make sure we as relevant as ever, and meeting the customer’s needs. People want experiences, not stuff, because the fact is you can’t take that with you, so we want to help customers capture these moments.”
Three areas of focus for the next few years include eTauck, where the business focuses on “meeting the digital needs of consumers”.
“Our digital enhancements aren’t replacing the human touch, they’re supplementing and enhancing the human touch,” Spivak stressed.
“We’ll never switch to a GPS-tour where you have to go and find your own way.”
Another focus is its land touring, where they intend to expand customer’s choices, and focus on new trends for baby boomers such as health and wellness. Spivak also said Tauck is shrinking its tour group sizes and adding an extra tour guide to make for a more intimate experience.
For the coming year, Tauck is also ramping up its shore excursions, adding a second option in many locations to give its guests a choice of experiences to better match their interests.
And the third area of focus is in “bringing the DNA of river cruising” and transferring it to its small ship cruising offerings.
Tauck has announced plans to double its small ship cruising capacity within the next four years through strategic fleet expansion, deepened partnership programs and new itineraries
Ponant, the French-owned cruise line, will debut four new luxury expedition yachts in 2018 and 2019. As part of an expanded partnership, Tauck will leverage all four Ponant new builds starting with Le Lapérouse in summer 2018.
“Today, Tauck utilises five Ponant ships for 10 itineraries. By 2020, we’ll be sailing on nine Ponant ships further supporting our investment in growing the category,” said Tauck President, Jennifer Tombaugh.
Spivak also announced Tauck’s European river cruising plans for 2018, and the coming year will see the launch of two all-new cruise itineraries, the debut of two radically redesigned ships, and added enhancements to the shore excursions featured fleet-wide.
New for 2018 are itineraries on the Danube and Rhine – 14-day ‘Royal Danube, Berlin & Krakow’ and 11-day ‘Rhine Enchantment, Milan to Amsterdam’. Tauck has also merged two itineraries on the Rhone – ‘French Waterways’ and ‘A Taste of France’ – to form the 10-day ‘Savoring France: Paris, Lyon & Provence’ which includes two nights in Paris and a 7-night Rhone River cruise aboard the company’s ms Emerald riverboat.
“We do small ship cruising better than anyone else,” Spivak said.
“As we grow, demand grows, so we’re also splitting our small ship tours into two styles; cultural and expedition,” he added, citing this new change in tour styles as a direct response to what Tauck’s customers are seeking.
Spivak confirmed their customers want more choice, more intimate experiences, more in-depth excursions, more exclusivity, and more hands-on experiences, and he assured the media that’s exactly what Tauck is going to give them moving forward.