Your London Tours chief tour administrator Frank Martins gives an insight into the ‘busy’ off-season.
January and February are traditionally the slowest months of the year in terms of sightseeing tours in London and the UK. People have less money after the holidays, there are fewer attractions open, and the weather, well, it can be freezing at worst and chilly at best. So, not surprisingly, there are fewer visitors to these shores.
However, this does not mean Your London Tours takes time out to put the proverbial feet up. Indeed, this is one of the busiest times of our year, and the truth is, those feet are furiously paddling below the surface to provide a smooth gliding action above.
In particular, we get a chance to plan new tours. One of the main reasons why we do this is to ensure our general tour offering does not go stale.
This time last year, for example, we were putting together our new private London Tours by Tube. Devised to reflect the changing wishes of the modern visitor, the main idea was for an eco-friendly, healthy and value-for-money tour experience. Travelling by tube is kinder to the environment. It’s healthier too, with a little more walking involved. Not too much walking, but enough to burn off some excess calories! And value for money? Well, there’s a saving of over £200.00 against our typical Family London Tour by Car for 4 persons.
If advanced bookings for 2019 are anything to go by, the Family London Tour by Tube looks set to knock our Classic London Tour by Car off the no.1 spot of our top selling tours, a position it has held for several years.
A tour such as the Family London Tour by Tube involves a lot of planning, and the process follows a number of steps. Initially, there is a feasibility study which can mainly be done in the office. Which sights and attractions are possible? What do they offer? When are the opening hours? What are the entrance fees? Are advanced tickets a viable option? Etc.
Next comes the leg work. First a reconnaissance mission or ‘recce’ to establish the physical aspects and anticipate any possible problems. Are the travel timings reasonable? How easy are sights and attractions to get to? How long are the lines at different times of the day? Where are the toilets? Are they clean? Etc.
Then comes a dry run in which our team will physically follow the tour itinerary. This allows us to assess the overall viability, value and enjoyment factor and make any appropriate tweaks. Finally, we have to price and promote the tour through the website.
Of course, we also use this annual ‘down-time’ to do as much ‘humdrum’ stuff as we can, such as insurance and licensing renewals, website maintenance and general office upkeep, and this is all important work from an administrative point of view.
Thus, throughout the off-season we continue to endeavour to provide a first-class service for our customers. So, rest assured and make Your London Tours the first port of call for a trip to remember.
Happy New Year!