Cruise

Discounting “undermines” travel industry, Tauck says

Hannah Edensor

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.

 


SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

3 responses to “Discounting “undermines” travel industry, Tauck says”

  1. we still get calls/emails almost everyday saying when will the $999 fares to LAX from BNE, SYD or MEL for departures 26DEC to 5JAN be out.
    Haven’t been fares that low since 2007.
    Ads with lead in prices without date reference, waste everyones time.

  2. Thank you. I shall waffle for awhile. At last, a
    hint of common sense after so many years in the wilderness. Professional
    skilled consultants need to hit back, and hard to regain the kudos they once
    had. An agency was once grateful for the professional staff and now the push is
    that the consultant should be grateful to work for the brand of an agency. A
    brand or company name does not make a professional. Professionalism in our once
    fabulous industry has been undermined by principals and agency owners/directors
    alike. Regardless of what the attitude is of many owners and principals, it is
    experience and knowledge and people skills and an understanding of geography
    and product is a definite advantage. (Remember the educational/familiarisations?)
    What happened to those? These days only the privileged selected usually
    management have those, and they are mostly not even selling anything. What’s
    left over if anything is likely not even worth paying the taxes to participate.
    The attitude in this newer breed of consultant is that if it isn’t in the
    computer it doesn’t exist. What rubbish. Talk about dumb down. All professional
    consultants should be given autonomy and should use products to suite the
    client not products that fit into the company’s excess bottom line at every
    cost. There are always exceptions and one fit doesn’t fit all. Another thing is
    that consolidators should be brought back into the mix to even out the playing
    field. Each professional should have the same advantage. A skilled trained
    professional is no better if he/she works at one company over another or works
    for themselves as an independent, and more importantly if the consultant is
    independent the equal level of respect should be there without question.
    Multinationals and large organisations are taking the people out of the
    equation and putting bean counters and IT people in charge. That is absurd.
    That skill remains with the professional and can never be taken away.
    Individual Skilled Travel Consultants and advisors should have their
    independence and recognition restored. Spruiking products for the holy dollar
    is a cop out. The best quality and value
    for money should always win. Owners of
    agencies have allowed principals to place themselves as the client rather than
    the reverse; how did that happen? Consultants were once the clients (and valued
    ones at that) regardless of what company they worked with. Airlines attitudes
    towards consultants is downright insulting and dismissive and rarely is there
    the great service level that once was, it is the exact opposite – never tell an
    airline you are a consultant if you are flying or you will end up sitting in
    the hold or on the wing and you most certainly will miss out on a meal of
    choice. That is if you manage to get on the flight at all. How many people have been in line for check-in
    at the airport and heard “It’s the Travel Agents fault”? It isn’t any wonder that travel professional
    advisors are losing their “cool” or having nervous breakdowns.
    Shareholders and greed has taken over. Principals are poaching clients by
    approaching them directly after the consultant has worked hard to keep their
    custom. Travel agencies that heavily discount or even go into minus profit
    should be weeded out. It is just irresponsible. The same goes for wholesalers
    selling direct to the public and it should be illegal as it is in many other
    industries. A question, would a person having a house built for them be happy
    with an accountant or IT person advising the carpenter/builder, plumber,
    electrician and so forth what to do? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t like my
    surgeon to have an accountant or IT person telling the surgeon what to do
    either. Come on travel consultants take back your charge and your pride. Don’t
    get me wrong, there are rare companies out there that do respect their
    professional consultants with the respect they deserve, but very rare. Rare wholesalers,
    but airlines, I can’t think of one at this point in time. Oops where are my
    airfare ladders and what was that HIP again? The art of ticketing bring it on. Much more accurate and less time
    wasting that’s for sure. When rules were really rules and not a money grab and
    attempt to push Travel Agents out of business. Another throw away question, why are Travel Agents
    service fees the only service fees that are questioned. What is our hourly
    rate. Hmmmm. Get back to me. Happy
    Days !!

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