Tour operators and the importance of the tailor-made product

Tailor MadeSource: Flickr.com (BK, 2015)

The term tailor-made comes from the clothing tailors who made their clothing to the customer’s fittings. A customer came to a tailor with a special request for e.g. a suit or a dress (Oxforddictionaries, 2015). This concept has been adapted to the field of tourism and into most tour operators’ concepts. Some tour operators offer only tailor made products as their main selling point i.e. Discover the world (Wanderlust, 2015). Others integrate the concept as a different element next to the ‘original’ package offering (Wendy Wu Tours, 2015).

The method of the tailor made product can be classified as a collaborative mass customization strategy in customer engagement. The tour operator lets the customer decide where he or she wants to go to and how they see their ideal holiday. Customers have the liberty to adapt every single detail in their trip. From the original decision where to go to what type of car they want in their transfers. The travel consultants maintain an individual connection with the particular customer in order to fulfill their needs and wants as well as they can. Out of these requests a quotation will be made for the customer to check and to give approval or disapproval. Multiple quotations can be given before a final approval has been given. In the case of the tailor made product, an individual pricing policy is in order. Every segment of the tour is specially created and will therefore cost differently per booking and consumer (Peelen & Beltman, 2013).

A quick and personal customer service is of vital importance in the tourism industry. Customers expect a well-experienced travel advisor with knowledge of the chosen destination. Furthermore the ability to empathize with the customer is required. A travel consultant who can empathize with a customer and can provide answers to booking related questions is of utmost importance as        this creates optimized customer satisfaction (Leggett, 2013). Customer satisfaction differs per individual. Nowadays the drive to buy something extraordinary has grown, as people want to do something different (Oliver, 2010).

Besides standard packages, a tour operator can also offer extensions to these standard packages. An example of such a tour operator is Wendy Wu Tours. This tour operator specialized in Asia travels offers standard tours to e.g. China and Vietnam. These standard packages can be extended to different places as Hong Kong or Dubai. This gives the customers the ability to do something different and immerse in a new culture. Furthermore the tailor made product has a specialized team with knowledge about the destination and the ability to anticipate to the needs and wants of the customer, with focus on the profitability of the organization (Wendy Wu Tours, 2015).

In conclusion it can be said that the needs of customers can best be met in the field of tour operating when the customer has a certain degree of freedom in their trip. This can either be in the way they can extend their standardized tour or with the tailor made concept. Standard offered packages still have a good turnover for tour operators, but the importance of self-customization must not be overlooked.

Bibliography

  1. BK. (2015, May 4). Photo list. Opgeroepen op September 26, 2015, van Flickr.com: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/17342916426/in/photolist-sqwYQs-7DSD6V-7rGFRz-dae7eT-81D9Sn-rn7Hy-eKJzVB-8vFLtr-bzwxgg-597qg4-96wqaz-6PPjpP-osAtfg-apqorF-apqeYa-apsXuW-apsXph-apsXsU-997Lw2-5HtAju-2bHuqw-74xLd6-ocBmV3-5z8vzJ-dUE4Nh-oumhb6-7eW469-i4wR5A-osAtTa-ebiH4u-8Pomnt-5UPDBh-skhfS4-5MY3iq-6PPjGZ-6od9p8-4By8SA-9g3tzR-aeWAUi-ebrS9w-aEzRPv-995SqW-oCTVRs-8PoXfB-74CN5T-gwj8H-9FndzR-5rRWo1-4uHmgA-6PTrPm

2. Leggett, K. (2013, February 1). The Future of Customer Service. Opgeroepen op September 26, 2015, van Forrester:   http://solutions.forrester.com/Global/FileLib/Reports-Top-Read_Blogs/Navigate_The_Future_Of_Customer_Service.pdf

3. Oliver, R. L. (2010). Part 1. Basic Satisfaction Mechanisms. In R. L. Oliver, Satisfaction: A Behavioral Perspective on the Consumer (pp. 27-39). New York, USA: Taylor & Francis Group.

4. Oxforddictionaries. (2015). Tailor-Made. Opgeroepen op September 26, 2015, van Oxforddictionaries: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/american_english/tailor-made

5. Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Part IV Marketing. In E. Peelen, & R. Beltman, Customer Relationship Management (Vol. 2, pp. 216-225). United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited.

6. Wanderlust. (2015). Directory a-z. Opgeroepen op September 26, 2015, van Wanderlust: http://www.wanderlust.co.uk/tripfinder/operator/directory/a-z

7. Wendy Wu Tours. (2015). Tailormade-tours. Opgeroepen op September 26, 2015, van Wendywutours: http://www.wendywutours.co.uk/tailormade-tours/

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3 thoughts on “Tour operators and the importance of the tailor-made product”

  1. Dear Rick, to develop tailor made tours may sound very interesting, but on the other hand it may seem more expensive. Are these tailor made tours maybe focused on a specific target market and do you have any idea if this market is brand loyal? To me it seems a big challenge nowadays where most consumers organize their own trips and with platforms like Airbnb to make tailor made tours profitable. I am curious what you think about this?

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    1. Dear Wesley, Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. Your point of discussion is very interesting. These tailor made tours are more focussed on the upper class market. This concept is especially attractive for older people who do want to decide on every aspect on their trip, but do want to give the search and booking aspect out of hand. This concept is also applied for special events as a honeymoon or another big lifetime event. Airbnb and other platforms will still be a big competitor, but in my opinion the tailor-made concept is a tool for tour operators to survive in this highly competitive high tech world.

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      1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this matter Rick. This could indeed be an interesting approach to focus on this niche in a highly competitive market. Good luck with your CEM course!

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