“He’s an innovative guy reviving what in some people’s minds is a dying business—group tours,” said DATTCO President Don DeVivo of Tyler Zajacz (pronounced “zay-jazz”), president of Tours of Distinction.
With larger tour groups becoming rarer, Tours of Distinction is making a name for itself by accommodating tour leaders’ wishes by shifting vehicle size without blinking an eye.
“We’re seeing a lot more people enjoying smaller-sized group tours,” said Zajacz, a 20-year tour industry veteran who bought the 48-year-old East Windsor, Conn.-based company three years ago.
DATTCO’s huge array of equipment (and location in nearby New Britain, Conn.) makes it a natural fit for Zajacz. “Tours of Distinction likes the diversity of our fleet,” said DeVivo. “He makes whatever we have fit for him, and his flexibility is one of the reasons he’s succeeding so well.”
True to its name, Tours of Distinction, which like DATTCO is an ABA member, strives to take groups to more distinctive, cultural destinations and do more hand-on activities, as well as have “a bit more fun on the road,” according to Zajacz.
But what his company really likes to do is match group leaders’ needs with the right-sized vehicle. “We’ve used DATTCO’s 12-seater Mercedes to do small-group day trips to New Canaan to the Glass House designed by Philip Johnson, and we’ve gone up in size to DATTCO’s 36-seat coach for our eight-day trip to the Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan,” he said.
Bigger buses definitely come in handy, too. For tours to Washington, D.C., Tours of Distinction regularly relies on DATTCO’s 52-seat coaches. “We’ve also used its double-decker buses for trips to New York City, and senior citizen groups—who make up most of our clientele—have really enjoyed riding on them,” said Zajacz.
To encourage groups to step up to DATTCO’s larger coaches, his company offers group leaders financial incentives for filling entire vehicles.
Because the two companies are located only 30 minutes apart, DeVivo and Zajacz have smartly decided to have their staffs socialize together. “It’s a unique situation. Our staffs and their staff have become friends,” said DeVivo, who rented a box for both companies at a minor league baseball game.
That and other social events have “put a face with the voice on the phone,” he added. “It’s made a nice bond. When unavoidable issues arise, people know each other,” which makes brainstorming and problem solving easier.