But there’s a giant side benefit to these shows that we love, and that’s getting to hear – and learn – from our customers and potential customers. The people who attend these trade shows are excited about travelling, and have stories and opinions to share. All we need to do is listen!
This year, because of the launch of our Shore Excursion Platform, we paid particularly close attention to what cruisers were saying. Fortunately what we learned is that when it comes to travel experiences at their ports of call, the majority of people want exactly what we offer. Here are the themes that came up over and over again in the hundreds of conversations we had about shore excursions:
• We don’t want to spend our valuable travel time with a group of strangers
This was the biggest complaint we heard about the large group tours organized by the cruise lines: impossible to choose your companions for the day.
• We like to explore at our own pace
This sentiment went hand-in-hand with the first one: when you’re with a crowd, you can only go as fast or slow was the group will allow. And no one was a fan of scheduled restroom breaks!
• We like to have a hand in crafting our experiences
“Can you customize the tours?” was one of the most common questions we were asked at every show. Flexibility and spontaneity are important.
• We love making new local friends
Cruisers who had hired private guides for shore excursions loved the personal connection they felt with their guide, who became more of a companion and less of a lecturer or tour leader.
• We enjoy having a story at the end of the day that’s different from everyone else’s
“The group tours didn’t go where we went” and “We saw so much more!” are comments we kept hearing from cruisers who hired local guides. They found it satisfying to have a different story to tell later, over dinner back on ship.
Clearly, the customized, private shore excursion is in high demand. ToursByLocals will continue to make it easy to find an excellent local guide to deliver unique tour experiences, no matter where your ship is docking.