Even with disruptions caused by the Omicron variant making headlines, tour company Tauck is bullish heading into the New Year.
This week, Tauck celebrated its 850th trip since resuming options in January 2021. In total, Tauck’s 2021 season included 850-plus departures on 96 different itineraries across 36 countries on 5 different continents, numbers that, in 2020, seemed more like a dream than reality.
The 850th trip, Tauck’s Antarctica cruise that took guests roundtrip from Buenos Aires through the Drake’s Passage to Antarctica, was marked with a toast at the guests’ pre-cruise hotel.
“It’s easy to forget that less than a year ago, 100% of our tours and cruises were still paused due to COVID and that it wasn’t until January and February of this year that we resumed operations,” Tauck CEO Dan Mahar said.
Even though the recovery has been uneven, Mahar believes that Tauck can reach 2019 levels next year.
“The experience we gained this year positions us perfectly to continue our robust recovery in 2022, which will not only serve Tauck well, but also our guests, our travel advisor partners, and our supplier partners around the world.”
To prepare for a return to normal levels of operation, Tauck has been hiring staff at its reservation center, which is approaching 100% of its 2019 staffing level. It has also added departures across its catalog, including for tours in Switzerland, Italy, Canada, the U.S., and more.
According to Steve Spivak, Tauck’s vice president of global sales and partner relations, who spoke to TMR last week, the most popular departure dates and times of the year, June and September, are long since at full capacity with waitlists, with prices in line with previous years, with “no significant increases,”
Mahar also said that, for Tauck’s advisor partner to prepare for a return to normal levels of operations, it’s imperative to plan ahead, especially as Omicron, and whatever comes next, impacting travel as heavily as it is.
“A wave is coming, and I’d encourage guests and travel advisors alike to plan ahead and act soon to secure their preferred Tauck trips and departure dates,” he said.
It’s also important for advisors to know that, despite all the obstacles and some health and safety changes in its protocols, guests came away satisfied with their experiences this year.
“Overall, our 2021 scores have been on par with our 2019 results. And in many areas – including our European land tours and river cruises, our small ship ocean cruises, and our journeys to exotic destinations – our 2021 scores actually exceeded 2019,” Mahar said.
Overall, Mahar thanked the people who made Tauck’s 2021 so successful and created optimism for 2022, including consumers, partners, and travel advisors.
“Success in our business comes down to people and I’m deeply grateful and inspired by the collective care and commitment shown not only by Tauck’s own team, but also by our travel advisor partners and our global network of supplier-partners. Their collective efforts have enabled our successful restart, and have positioned our industry for continued growth in 2022,” Mahar said.