Mayflower Tours, located in Downers Grove, Illinois, is a professional tour operator handling individual and group escorted tour arrangements throughout the world. John and Mary Stachnik started the company in 1979. John, president and co-owner of Mayflower Tours, entered the travel industry in 1966 when he began working for a Washington D.C.hotel company. From 1970-1978 John was founder, part owner and president of an Illinois-based tour company which grew to more than 36,000 passengers a year. John’s wife Mary serves as co-owner and senior vice president for the Mayflower Group.
TRO: Since the founding of Mayflower Tours, how has your mission statement changed in the past 30+ years?
JS: I would actually like to talk about how it hasn’t changed. One of the basic tenets of our mission statement is that we want to be intensely liked by our travelers. Everything we do focuses on the tours being thoroughly enjoyed by our clients. When we put together programs, cancellation provisions, etc. we try to take our responsibility to the traveler into account. It doesn’t mean we’re soft or we take the easy way out we just want our clients to be as comfortable as possible. One of our sales tenets has always been, “You don’t have to work with us but we want you to want to work with us.”
Dave Herbert, CTC, has had a love affair with Africa since he first visited South Africa as a student in the 1960s and began work as a safari guide. In 1968, he started an overland camping and tour company, which he sold in 1970. He then moved to Johannesburg to start African Travel to serve Europeans traveling to the continent. Dave’s involvement with the US travel market began in 1976 when he started African Travel, Inc. In 2010, he founded Great Safaris, a company focused on upscale, sophisticated travel experiences to the continent of Africa.
How is Great Safaris different from other safari outfitters?
DH: The distinction with Great Safaris is that we established the company in Africa before we actually established our office in the United States. We have really focused on the product and having our own trained people to be able to handle the luxury experienced American traveler. Another difference is: all we focus on is the luxury market. “Luxury” is not just a high-priced product; it’s a state of mind. It is anticipating what experienced travelers require or expect.
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