Many of you have been asking why the prices of tours seem to be rising steeply in 2019. There are several factors causing the rise in prices, the biggest cost are due to the cost of insurance, increased wages, and government rules and regulations.
When Tye’s Tours bought our first Mercedes Sprinter in 2013 our insurance costs were around $7000 a year. This gave us $5 million dollars in liability coverage in case we ever had an accident. In 2019, for the same vehicle which is five years old, our insurance costs are now $16,600. That is a 125% increase over 5 years. This is a cost that has to be passed on. The motor coach companies are facing the same insurance increases. The Federal minimum wage laws have not changed, but the individual states have increased minimum wages which means all of our tour directors have received raises in 2019. The federal government has mandated electronic driver logs. This means once the bus starts in the morning the driver is on the clock. Many trips that used to be able to be done with one driver now require two drivers. Last year the average price of a motor coach in New England was $950 a day. The Average price of a motor coach in 2019 is $1100 a day. Many of the properties that we use have done renovations, someone has to pay for these renovations, and it is you the consumer. Same thing with Disneyland, they want to build a “Starwars exhibit” so they raised prices to pay for it. Rooms that were costing $89 a night last year are costing $139 in 2019. The cost of a dinner on a tour averaged $26 in 2018, the cost of the same meal is $35 in 2019. As wages in the service industry rise, so do the prices that restaurants and hotels charge.
I am not debating that tour directors and driver/ guides need to be paid more than they are. I am not debating that the FMCSCA needed to put in new rules to get unsafe and fatigued drivers off of the road. These rules were established for the safety of everyone. There is however a cost associated with these safety measures. In the old days if you asked a driver to do a transfer in the morning to an event, and then take the morning off, it was not an issue. We used to run one day trips to NY City all the time. We can’t run a one day trip to New York anymore without a driver change when the bus starts in NH, nor can I driver do a transfer without 8 hours off. These costs have to be passed on. I believe that when a person works a forty hour week they should make a wage they can live on. We have always paid our tour directors a fair wage based on industry standards. The motor coach companies as well all have to pay more for qualified and safe drivers. Our tour directors and drivers are dependent on tips to make a reasonable income. When some of our customers stiff our tour directors or offer a $1 or $2 tip for a 10 hour day, the tour directors and drivers want to be paid more. All of our tour directors are highly educated with special skills and deserve to be paid for their knowledge. Many guests that come from foreign countries think that tipping is a city in China. Many Americans feel that the person looking after them deserves a tip and that a dollar is appropriate. Our tour directors are grateful for any tips they receive but in order to make a livable wage combine with base pay is $5 per person per day and the same for the driver. If you have a driver guide $10 is appropriate. In places like Kenya the driver/ guides expect $20 per person per day. Think of the restaurant that has to pay the dishwasher $15 an hour and the servers more money resulting in the cost of the meal going up in price. Many restaurants have closed, because not only could they not get help but found the consumers would not pay the additional costs of the restaurant meal. In the old days the service industry used to be able to import service workers from foreign countries to do seasonal jobs. These workers are often no longer available. In the northeast we are virtually at full employment and the number of qualified applicants for positions is diminishing. In order to get the best candidates for fill open jobs, wages have to rise.
Yes the cost of tours in 2019 had price increases 10% to 20%. Yes some tour companies are pulling included meals and making more items optional in order to control costs. At Tye’s Tours we have decided that this was a wrong direction. We have maintained the quality and have increased prices to cover costs. We are not greedy, and have maintained the same profit margin on our tours. What the rest of the industry chooses to do does not matter. We believe that our customer base is willing to pay for quality, value, and service. We value all of our patrons and hope that if we explain why the costs are going up, that you will understand.
Mel Tye CEO
9 Riverside Dr.
Merrimack NH 03054
Email: info@tyes tours.com
800 374 6819
603 424 4045