Joieful Goes Out to Lunch on WWNO: Customized Tourism in the Big Easy
Joieful Travel Agency’s CEO and founder Aaron Dirks recently went “Out to Lunch” at New Orleans’ world-famous Commander’s Palace. Joining him was Gordon Stevens, CEO, President, and co-owner of the New Orleans Steamboat Company which also owns Grey Line and Visit New Orleans. The occasion: an interview by Tulane economist Peter Ricchiuti on WWNO 89.9 FM. The topic: tourism in New Orleans, of course!
The Popularity of the Natchez Inspires a New Steamboat
Aaron, Gordon, and Peter discuss a planned addition to the steamboat circuit, the evolving art of the travel agent, and more. Aaron points out that these days, most tourists want “right-now” recommendations, the average being within three hours of request. Indeed, a cruise on the Natchez is a top-selling Joieful experience in part because it’s such a great short-notice option. Gordon adds that the Natchez’s popularity has also spurred plans for a new, higher-capacity steamboat, the City of New Orleans, slated to launch soon from the same French Quarter pier.
The Evolution of Tourism: Customized, Engaging Experiences
Both Gordon and Aaron note that thanks to the internet, travel consumers are now more independent and goal-oriented and have great research tools at hand. Nevertheless, with New Orleans’ cornucopia of entertaining options, visitors and especially first-timers really need a local’s take on where and what to choose.
Visitors are also increasingly searching for unique, out-of-the-way destinations that only locals frequent—even some in areas of the city tourists might otherwise beware. They want to engage the cities they’re visiting, Aaron says, and not just see their public façades. As a result, the art of the travel agent has also changed. More than just be local, agents in New Orleans also need to know the difference between “tourist local” and “truly local.”
Delivering a Difference to Remember
Joieful leverages the power of technology and the on-site advantage to offer clients a wider array of better options to explore. Using machine learning, agents can suggest experiences to suit pre-planners’ personalities online before they arrive. Once in town, the concierges provide personalized suggestions on the fly by asking the right questions to zero in on exactly what a client wants to experience.
Joieful’s agents are locals who are also trained in how to spot the city’s special sights and direct visitors to experience them. Every concierge personally experiences all their partner vendors’ venues and attractions so that they can deliver accurate, circumspect recommendations. And since Joieful also books those experiences at the vendor rate, their guests enjoy a guaranteed in while others wait hopefully at the box office.
Check out the interview online for more observations on the business of tourism. Better still, explore the Crescent City with a local’s eye and discover your own joie in New Orleans! Purchase your experience today.