Why this cruise and tour company is genuinely like no other
| THIS ARTICLE WAS CREATED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH Tauck |
Tauck’s Steve Spivak spills the secrets behind these magical journeys and why they are so extraordinary.
If you ever speak to a traveller who has been on a Tauck cruise, it instantly becomes clear that their experience was something else. Their eyes light up and they have no hesitation when recommending Tauck to others.
It’s a reputation that family-owned Tauck has worked hard to cultivate since its beginnings in 1925, according to Vice President of Global Sales and Reservations Steve Spivak, who has been with the company for 11 years.
It’s this principle that provided the groundwork for Tauck’s unique four pillars on which they base every experience.
Never settle for ordinary
While Tauck travels every continent and offers over 170 itineraries across land, river and sea, not a single one is allowed to be average.
“We never settle for ordinary,” explains Spivak. “If we can’t deliver exceptional in a destination, we won’t go there.
“There are plenty of places that we don’t go to because we couldn’t offer something different to what everybody else is doing. We don’t do the Caribbean. We don’t do Mexico. Right now we don’t do Tahiti, Fiji and places like that because we haven’t found anything that could really differentiate the experience for our guests.”
“When we arrive at the Sistine Chapel in the evening after it’s closed to the public, the guards know that it’s Tauck arriving and welcome us in.
“When we arrive at Palais Pallavicini in Vienna, we’re greeted by Eduardo Pallavicini himself in his family’s ancestral palace.
“We have little surprises… some of which are built into every journey. We don’t publish them in the itinerary, but they’re woven into the journey to provide that sense of delight.
Some are curated by the Tauck directors themselves using a pool of money that we give them to do what we call ‘enliven the experience’.
That is the artistry of Tauck is building in surprises, but also seeking opportunities to give people more than they ever dreamed of.
Travel in good company
This above-and-beyond service continues once Tauck customers climb aboard, with specialised Tauck staff in every country.
“Travelling in good company is really about more than 350 Tauck Directors. Those are the Tauck employees who guide every single one of our holidays, tours or cruises… working around the world to guide our journeys.
“They are experts in their destination, but they’re also experts at providing that personalized service…in how to make people feel like individuals even though they’re travelling as part of a group”.
Going above and beyond starts with speaking to new guests directly to learn more about their motivation for and interests in travelling, and continues with creating personal relationships with experience providers at the destinations.
“The tour directors ensure that our guests are taken care of differently than any other guest. They build these relationships with the people in the destinations to make the experience different, better and special for everyone who travels with us.”
What does that look like in reality? Like the mother and daughter who joined Tauck’s Christmas Market River Cruise to commemorate the husband and father they’d recently lost.
“They decided to collect the little Gluhwein mugs from each of the Christmas markets along the Rhine,” explains Spivak. “In Cologne it started snowing and they had to go back to the ship without getting the mug.
When their Tauck Director noticed them crying, they ran back to the market, bought the mugs and left them on the guest’s pillow as a surprise.
“They made sure that the guests didn’t miss something so important to them.”
Get what you pay for (and then some)
Doing the right thing at Tauck starts with the cost of a cruise or tour, which they pride themselves on having equal value for everyone. Fares are never discounted or increased after release.
“It gives [our customers] peace of mind to know that the price is the price,” says Steve. “Everyone travelling with you paid exactly the same as you, for exactly the same experience.
“Nothing derails that sense of community more quickly than when you’re sitting across the table from someone [getting a rebate for the same cruise]. It creates that sense of a lack of integrity in pricing”.
“Everything with Tauck is included. We include the best of everything and give people choices so that they’re not thinking about the price once they’re on their journey.”
What’s more, Tauck doesn’t do discounts because “when we go to market with a price, we go to market with the fairest price”.
Leave your worries at home
From the price to the logistics; Tauck goes to extra lengths to make sure its customers don’t have to worry about a thing.
“That means taking care of all the details,” says Spivak. “Making sure they don’t have to think about luggage. Making sure they don’t have to worry about things like optional excursions. Making sure we are well-prepared to keep people safe, comfortable and anxiety-free”.