Bunnik Tours not phased by competition

Dennis.BunnikBunnik Tours managing director Dennis Bunnik has insisted that he’s unphased by his competitors, just weeks after launching a brochure to “expose” their approach small group touring.

Speaking with travelBulletin, Bunnik voiced his frustrations with the small group touring market, claiming that some operators are “deceiving” customers by offering small group tours with up to 40 passengers.

“Frankly, it’s ridiculous and filling customers with contempt. Offering a small group tour with 40 or more passengers is making false promises which don’t stack up,” he said.

His comments follow a unique move last month in which Bunnik Tours capped its tours to 20 passengers and launched a brochure listing the maximum passenger numbers for its key competitors.

Outlined in its latest Europe program, the chart includes details on passenger sizes, topped by Bunnik’s 20 passenger max and followed by Scenic Tours’ 40 pax limit. Also listed is APT’s 40 pax, Globus’s 44 traveller maximum and Insight’s 38. The chart also outlines whether companies are Australian-owned and the star rating of accommodation provided.

Bunnik told travelBulletin that the move aimed to provide “transparency” to customers and “live up to the promise” of small group touring. He denied it was to fend off the competition, instead insisting it was in the customer’s “best interests”.

“We don’t care what our competitors are doing and we’re happy for people to travel with them, but we are cutting through the marketing hype to give customers a clear idea of what they’re actually paying for,” Bunnik said. “Group sizes have been the dirty little secret of the industry and what we’re saying is that we’re transparent and upfront.”

Globus national marketing manager Australia Adam Mussolum said small group travelling was a “highly competitive arena” and operators, such as Bunnik Tours, were under pressure to find new ways to promote themselves.

But he refuted claims that tours of up to 40 passengers were deceiving customers. “It’s a lot more fun travelling in a larger, diverse group. It’s also important to recognise that greater economies of scale provide excellent savings to the consumer,” Mussolum said.

Meanwhile, Bunnik Tours has launched its 2015/16 Africa brochure featuring three new itineraries, two new independent tours and more tour extensions. Destinations include Uganda, Rwanda, Morocco and Kenya, and South Africa and Botswana.