There are hundreds of tour companies out there, and they are mostly the same in terms of how they operate. The budget companies stay in lesser hotels, while the luxury companies stay in 5 star hotels. The luxury companies may offer a few more inclusions, but outside of that, there is little difference. We operate on a belief that touring has degraded over the years as companies have tried to stay more competitive, and we want to keep the true first class experience alive. So here are a few points that make us really stand out.
As you look at other tour companies, the luxury companies offer more inclusions, and the economy companies include very little. A great way to notice this is to look at the meals included in the price. You will find that we offer significantly more, as our trips are either “all-inclusive” or “mostly inclusive”, even the wine & beer!
With a name like ours, we have to focus on authenticity. We do everything the way the locals do. We choose restaurants that locals frequent, we visit with real people, and we choose the most authentic experiences to truly bring you into the real culture.
We have a very different way of interacting with our guests, and it will show from day one. We believe that if we build a friendship with our guests before they arrive, the trip will be that much better. In fact, while other companies have people in sales you deal with, then airport personnel you deal with, then a tour director with you on tour; we have “Hosts” that are with you all the way. That means that when you have questions long before your trip, you will ask your host. That same person will be meeting you at the airport, and will be on the tour with you.
No Up-Selling or Options
Your tour price is it. We don’t sell extra options once you are with us to pad our profit. You will never feel like you are being sold to.
No Tourist Traps Disguised as Sightseeing
We avoid tourist traps like the plague, and as a strict policy we never take any commission for purchases you make when you are with us.
No Tipping Insanity
From local guides to restaurants, porters, housekeeping and more. We handle all of the tipping. The only tips that are accepted are your host and the coach driver, and in that is 100% voluntary at your discretion.
Our Hosts Are Part of the Group
Did you know that with most tour companies, the tour leader is there on the bus with you (usually selling options), but leaves you whenever there is a hand-off to a local guide? In most cases, when the group is dining together, the tour leader doesn't even sit with the group. We think that is insanity. Our hosts are part of the group, and they are with you almost constantly with very few exceptions.
We Stay Where The Action Is
When we are in the cities, we choose hotels that are in the prime areas that people want to be in. Since we don’t do any up-selling, we make sure we stay in prime locations to maximize your free time.
Truly Exclusive Experiences
We believe that it is much more about the experience of doing than seeing. We believe the wine maker is more compelling than the wine itself. So as you look at our itineraries, you will see all sorts of experiences that are absolutely exclusive to us. That is, much of what we do is not part of the the tourism industry, but rather exclusive experiences that we have created with locals to bring you into their life.
You Can Unpack Your Bags
We don’t do the “stay in a different hotel every night and we’re leaving at 6:00 AM” thing others do. We value he notion of taking it down a notch and getting an opportunity to stop and smell the roses.
We Are All About Relationships
A difficult point to convey before you are with us, but our guests comment on it all the time. We don’t merely take you to places that are “vendors” and “attractions”. We spend a great deal of time forging relationships with the people you will meet, and it is VERY clear when you are with us. That winery or that hotel we go to is often owned by our close friend. In fact, many of them know one another through parties that we throw as our business relationships often develop into a big family. This makes a difference because they treat our guests very differently than those traditional tour groups.
Your Own Paparazzi
Our hosts double as the “group photographer”. We’re taking pictures throughout the tour. Photos of you (as long as you wish us to), what we are seeing, and the moments in between. Spend more of your time enjoying the moment and less snapping photos. Each night, we upload the photos so your friends and family can follow along the trip on-line. After the trip, you can download all the photos we have taken. Of course, since we don’t up-sell anything, this is free.
While we don’t go to tourist traps to put you in a buying position, there are some places that are true attractions, and also sell product. Wineries, Olive Mills, Ceramics, etc. fall into this category. For example, if we go to Deruta, we naturally have to visit a ceramics factory, and they naturally want to sell their product. Every one of them offers a commission to the tour companies, because that is the way it works. We don’t take it. Instead, we make sure they offer what commission we would otherwise have as a discount to you. Furthermore, many of these places have highly inflated prices for the “tourists”. When that is the case, we simply will not go there. In other words, unless an olive mill sells you their oil at a price that a local would pay, we will not patronize their business.
We Support The Local Economies
Wherever we are, we do all we can to put money back into the local economy. Where we have a choice, we support the small mom & pop businesses over the larger corporations. For example, when we are visiting wineries in Tuscany, while many of the other tour companies are fdoing wine tastings at a winery owned by a New York based multi-national corporation, we are down the road at a small family-run winery where we are having lunch with the owner. When they are dining at a large chain restaurant creatd for tourists, we are in the little trattoria down the road with the grandmother in the kitchen making our meal for us. Wherever posisble, we support the people that live there, even when it costs us significantly more to do so. This makes our groups the most welcome and valued wherever we go, and we simply think it is the right thing to do.
You are in a foreign land, and often don’t know if you are paying a fair price for something that you may find a couple days later at half the price. Since we will take no commission and have no special “financial arrangements” with anyone, our team has absolutely nothing to gain or lose based on your purchasing decisions. Their only motivation is to make sure you are happy, and you get the most value.
Your Personal Concierge
Our hosts have one goal in mind: They are to do all they can to make this the best trip of your life. This means whatever you need during the trip, we are there. Quick run to the pharmacy? Translation help? Medical attention? Advice? We are there.
The Little Touches That Make All The Difference
Whether it is the fact that we always have cold water on our motor coaches, or the little touches you find in your room each night, you will have no doubt that we think of everything to make sure you know how valued you are. Our goal is that you will not want for anything, and that you will always feel like our guest in the purest sense of the word.
Any Questions? Write us and ask by clicking here, or call us at +1 (321) 426-8880.