The merger of The Big Bus Company and Les Cars Rouges,with their subsidiary Open Top Sightseeing USA, to create Big Bus Tours is fast approaching its first anniversary.
Amongst the myriad of issues the business has had to tackle, establishing a common brand identity with an agreed vision and mission statement have proven to be some of the most difficult. The businesses were very different: culturally, philosophically and geographically. Those of us within the organisation had to learn to recognise and respect that each element of the business had engaged with its local culture and found its own definition of success in its own discrete environment.
The indisputable success of some locations did not necessarily transfer seamlessly to other destinations where alternative business models could be more appropriate.
The Paris operation offered one route, recorded commentary and only nine stops - and yet Les Cars Rouges delivered the greatest return on investment within the group. The London business with three tour routes, live guides, seventy-five buses daily and an enormous agent network was a true market leader carrying more than a million customers each year. Big Bus Hong Kong and Shanghai were groundbreaking open top products for a western company embracing an Oriental
culture and method of operation within the People’s Republic.
With the help of London-based Fletcher Ward Design, brand consultant Andrew Wilkie and market research specialist Alex Wright, a comprehensive review of the newly merged company was undertaken. Starting with the shareholding board members, objective, independent interviews were conducted to establish areas of
commonality and indeed differing views. In many ways the process was cathartic for all those involved, and the result has been a breath of fresh air, unifying and focusing the efforts and best intentions of all those of leading the business.
So what did the business decide?
“To be the world leader and most recognisable brand in sightseeing”
“We are committed to providing the perfect introduction to great cities through
excellence in service and innovation”
Visionary? Definitely. Aspirational? Certainly. Reality? Not yet ...
We know that we have a way to go to deliver comparable standards throughout the world, but our commitment to sharing best practice, developing a genuine family feel across our destinations and meeting those aspirations is palpable throughout the organisation. Our declared intention to think global and act local will ensure that we align our operations with the great cities upon which they depend; embracing local cultures, developing local staff and working with the city - never against it. It is no coincidence that the places where we have had the greatest success also happen to be the places where we have our strongest local relationships with Government departments, local authorities, tourism bodies, trade associations, business partners and local attractions.
We are fortunate that in providing open top sightseeing tours, we have an opportunity every day to not just satisfy, but to delight our customers. We are empowered to create memories that last, from photo opportunities to tales and anecdotes that will be told and re-told, and to be the means by which our guests enjoy an exciting adventure of city discovery. Not many businesses are in
such a privileged position to engage so intimately with guests they will often
meet just the once.
So welcome to Big Bus Tours, already available across the USA, in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.
Please do come and meet the US team here at PowWow on Booth Number 1767 and witness first-hand the energy and commitment that will deliver our shareholders’ vision whilst delighting our guests, your customers and the destination’s visitors.
Look out for us in 2012 and beyond as we embark upon fundamentally changing the way we delight our customers and work tirelessly to deliver “The perfect introduction” across the USA:
Now with the National Mall service at the heart of everything we do in the Nation’s capital. Hop-on and off, three loops, live guides or English recorded commentary, and with multi-lingual services being introduced
Our well established open top tour of San Francisco now offers an extensive tour route with live guides, frequent departures, twenty stops and a free walking tour of North Beach during the high season.
Big Bus Miami offers two tour routes, live commentary from entertaining guides, frequent departures and hop-on, hop-off opportunities at twenty stops in both beach and city areas.
Now with a fully live guided service on both the Downtown and Strip loops delivered by fascinating local advocates of this unique city. Hop-on and off from the Welcome sign all the way to Fremont Street.
Enjoy the most spectacular views of the city from one of our buses while our guides entertain you with fascinating facts and fun stories about Philadelphia. Hop-on, hop-off service with twenty stops.