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July 02, 2012

TAUCK and Travel the World: An Australian Success Story

This year, Tauck and Travel the World celebrate a successful business partnership spanning 25 years. After a quarter of a century collaborating to create unforgettable journeys across five continents for discerning Australian travellers, the hard work and innovations driven by the two organizations in tandem have paid off. They have marked the occasion with a number of exciting initiatives: from the appointment of a new ambassador for the region, Ita Buttrose, to the development of bespoke brochure for the Australian market, through to a key business driver for 2013 tours, "Time on Tauck".

Andrew Millmore, Managing Director of Travel the World, says of the partnership: "We are immensely proud of our association with Tauck. Together, our two family-owned companies have forged a powerful business in Australia, won awards together and earned the loyalty of a sophisticated group of Australian travellers who have discovered the 'Tauck difference'.  We have developed opportunities such as European river cruising and small ship cruising which continue to fuel unprecedented growth for both our businesses. Australia is now the largest non-domestic market in the world for Tauck."

Tauck's history in Australia

Back in 1987, a man called Tony Millmore, who had a family travel business in Australia, contacted Arthur C Tauck Jr. about being Tauck's agency in Australia. He loved Tauck and felt it offered the best travel experiences in North America. "We soon became friends and business partners" says Arthur, who is now Chairman of the company, "and 25 years later our two family-run companies continue to enjoy a special and successful relationship." Arthur's son-in-law, Dan Mahar, now heads Tauck and Travel the World is run by Tony's son Andrew. And the number of Australians travelling on Tauck continues to grow.

The Australian Market

So how did Australia come to be the largest source market outside of North America for Tauck? Exceptional growth in the last five years, according to Travel the World's General Manager, Marketing and Sales, Michelle Taylor, as well as a willingness on Tauck's part to finesse product for the Australian traveller, combined with extremely high levels of repeat business.  "In 2011, we had 37% increase in the number of Australians travelling on Tauck on the previous year," says Michelle. "We also had, thanks to Tauck's collaborative approach, a much greater portfolio of tours that work for the Australian market and loyal, passionate customers who spread the word about Tauck and give us some of the highest repeat-guest rates in the business."

As for which tours appeal to Australians, Michelle explains: "Our Australian customers have a very specific focus. They are sophisticated, educated travellers and they tell us again and again that Tauck's inclusive value, "Insider access" to unique experiences and high calibre Tour Directors are the best in the business." Explaining the preferences of Australian travellers, she adds: "Particular interests for Australians include our U.S. journeys such as the National Parks of the American West, and Europe is also very popular.  European river cruises are generating incredible interest, as is our 'A Week In...' series, as two or more of these trips can often be linked to create extended itinerary touching on several destinations."

River cruising, she points out, has been a fast growing segment for the industry overall, however Tauck's growth has outstripped industry averages. Tauck's river cruising business grew 52% in 2011, more than twice the industry's average market growth rate of 22% (ICCA).

Tauck Innovations

A core driver of Tauck's business in Australia, and indeed around the world, has been the company's desire to push the envelope and create new travel concepts. To meet the needs of the generation comfortable with researching, planning, and travelling on their own, for example, Tauck has built a new type of tour product - the Culturious brand - offering small-group tours geared toward active baby boomers with an interest in culturally engaging travel. The brand has won numerous awards, and proved extremely popular with Australian retirees.

A growing part of the Australian market is solo travellers. In answer to feedback from this group,  frustrated by paying a higher per-person cabin rate than cruisers sharing a stateroom with a spouse or friend, Tauck this month announced its removal of  the "single supplement" for Category 1 cabins on each of its 2013 European river cruise. "The fact that we've waived the Category 1 single supplement on over 100 Tauck river cruise sailings will be welcome news to solo travellers everywhere," said Tauck CEO Dan Mahar.  "What's more, the savings they'll enjoy are substantial."

Tauck river cruises were already a smart option for solo travellers heading to Europe, noted Mahar, who added that the single supplement savings now make them an even better choice.  "For solo travellers organizing their own trip to Europe, all the work of planning and executing the itinerary falls entirely on their own shoulders, but with a Tauck river cruise, everything is taken care of for them," said Mahar.  "And of course, there's a camaraderie and connection with their fellow travellers, plus a great sense of security, that solo travellers don't get to enjoy on their own.  Finally, because our riverboats hold just 118 guests, they offer a refined, club-like atmosphere that's very intimate and welcoming for anyone travelling on their own."

Tauck Awards

Tauck is a world leader, and is regularly recognized for the calibre of its unique product in industry awards. Most recently, Tauck was named "The World's Best River Cruise Line" in Travel + Leisure magazine's exclusive "World's Best Awards." It is the 14th consecutive year that Tauck has been voted by Travel + Leisure's readers to the magazine's annual list of the "World's Best Tour Operators & Safari Outfitters" and the 4th year it joins the list of the "World's Best River Cruise Lines". In Australia, Tauck was named a finalist as "Australia's Best Luxury Tour Operator" in Luxury Travel magazine.

Tauck

Established in 1925, Tauck is a world-leader in upscale, escorted travel. Family-owned and operated, Tauck offers over 100 guided, all-inclusive land journeys, cruises and family travel adventures in 65 countries.  The company showcases the "must-see" attractions in each destination, enhancing guests' experience with in-depth commentary and insights that add perspective and understanding.  Tauck complements visits to must-see sites with insider access to "off-the-beaten-path" locations that deliver authentic cultural experiences and are either unavailable or unknown to most travellers. Tauck travellers can be assured that virtually everything is included in their upfront prices, with no hidden fees or surprise add-ons. Tauck works closely with worldwide partners to ensure that travellers receive the best value deals in the upfront prices offered.

Says Tauck's Chairman, Arthur C. Tauck Jr., "These unforgettable journeys cover five continents by way of classic land tours, river and small ship cruising; from the cultural and historic centres of Europe, the breathtaking beauty of the Rocky Mountains, to the African plains teeming with wildlife...They are carefully crafted to provide inquisitive travellers with inspiring, life-enriching experiences, and absolutely everything has been thought of and included in the price."
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