Control of the Month: Tauck Creates Experiences
Every month for the past 11 years, it's been part of my job as Who's Mailing What! Archivist to analyze pretty much every piece of mail that lands on my desk. More than anything else, I am always on the lookout for long-term controls — those mailings that keep reappearing because they haven't been beaten yet.
Nearly 1,100 have lasted for three years or more, and they are designated as "Grand Controls." But only four travel industry mailings have made it to this level, including the latest offer from Tauck, a family-owned and operated travel company (Archive code #501-177858-0911). It's been in the mail since at least February 2005.
Like its previous Grand Control (Archive code #501-177578-0601), as well as those from two other companies, this Tauck effort is a lead generator. There are no new ships, or specific trips, or even special prices to promote. Instead of generating that type of excitement, it's all about giving the prospective traveler an intriguing reason to open the envelope and then stay interested enough to request brochures.
Running across the middle front and back of the 6" x 9" outer envelope is a band of postage stamp-sized color photographs, each one of Tauck's "Top Travel Destinations": the Colosseum in Rome, Ayers Rock in Australia and Macchu Picchu in Peru, among others. On a slate blue background, the front teaser promises "Top Reasons Why People Who Love To Travel, Love Tauck" (see thumbnails below). On the back, a premium is teased: "FREE 2010 Travel Calendar."
Inside, the two-page letter's Johnson Box butters up the readers with some flattery: "You deserve memorable vacations." The opening then kicks the anticipation up another notch. It asks, "Do you want extraordinary vacations?" Next, it spells it out, in somewhat general terms, the "Tauck differential ... the way you experience the places you visit." Besides the visits and special events made possible by Tauck's small, intimate groups, the knowledge and passion of the company's tour directors is highlighted. And, perhaps more importantly, the director's skills in ensuring the satisfaction of the traveler is championed. The director is "a problem-solver ... a friend ... the true personification of the word ‘leader.'"