Some of the most powerful marketing tools for Panorama Tours Inc. are the referrals it receives from tour planners.
“There is no greater compliment than a customer referring another customer to you,” said Michelle Petelicki, president and partner of her family-owned transportation business located in Wallington, New Jersey.
As travel possibilities return, domestic travel or staycations are surging in popularity. People crave the benefits of vacations and want to travel with their friends, significant others and children but may not be willing to go internationally. With motorcoaches having the versatility to travel almost anywhere, Panorama Tours Inc. is primed to work side-by-side with tour planners to offer clients the best experience.
Q. What advice would you give to travel planners wanting to work with the group travel market?
A. Be flexible and listen to the customer. What may have been successful in the past may not be now. Types of meals, group sizes, hotel choices, budget — all of this is changing. Itineraries may need to be a bit more custom as opposed to a one size fits most. What one group may be comfortable with another may not. Even returning customers’ preferences have been influenced by the changes in travel conditions.
Q. You joined Panorama Tours in 2002. Describe some of the changes you have experienced.
A. When my father, Joseph Zak, began the company in 1995 we catered mostly to budget-minded clients interested in safe, impeccably clean but basic vehicles. Today, our fleet has grown to include luxury models, allowing us to offer diverse options to our customers. We have changed to mostly electronic ticketing and adjusted our sanitation practices to battle viruses even better. Electrostatic fogging, antimicrobial solutions, updated filtration systems and more frequent cleanings while the buses are on duty have all become standard practice in additional to our already thorough cleaning practices.
Q. What about your organization makes you most proud?
A. Our Panorama Professionals! Without our people, we would not be who we are or have the reputation that Panorama is known for. If you take a look at our Google reviews, you will see that our people are highlighted, by name, in almost every review … and it is not just a select few employees mentioned over and over. Every member of our staff is critical and the most important.
Q. What travel destination or activity is on your bucket list?
A. Croatia has been on the top of my bucket list for as long as I can remember and fortunately I, with my husband and kids, were able to tick that off just before COVID. We walked the wall in Dubrovnik, hiked through Krka National Park to the waterfalls, sailed and paddle-boarded the Adriatic Sea and so much more. This trip was everything that I dreamed it to be and beyond! That being said, I don’t know where to next. I think I’ll let the kids decide.
Q. What is your favorite travel app?
A. There are many that I like. Travelocity, Airbnb, and VRBO are common ones for both personal and business. We recently found AllTrails and LOVE it for amazing hiking and biking trails. Also, Flush, although it makes me laugh, it is essential with the challenge of finding a bathroom on road trips. If you travel with children, this is huge. However, if you travel by motorcoach, no need to worry, you have a restroom rolling with you.
Panorama Tours Inc.