Target Tours in Morell has been successful creating group tours on and off Island year-round.
John Dunphy and his wife Lynn own and operate the business out of their home.
John started the group tour business in 2009 after being employed with a travel agency for 21 years. He designs and develops group tours, Tour Directs, and occasionally drives the motorcoach.
About the staff
Target Tours currently employs three Tour Directors, six Step-On Guides, and five office staff.
“For outbound tours, local Step-On Guides come on the bus and give us a tour of the area. From May to October, we provide Step-On Guides for visiting bus tours in PEI, NS, and NB.”
Partnership and membership
The company belongs to the Ontario Motor Coach Association. “Every year, we go to a conference to learn about destinations and meet with suppliers,” says John. “I also sell PEI packages to Ontario and eastern US tour companies.”
They work with Atlantic Tours, a Nova Scotia company. “They sell some of our outbound travel product and we sell some of theirs,” says Operations Manager Jacqueline Skinner, who has her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from UPEI.
“Instead of sending two half-full buses to a destination, we send one full bus. It’s a reflection of the Maritimes that we can have this friendly relationship.”
“In the past year, we have worked more with Meetings and Conventions PEI (MCPEI) to develop more local tours. We provide guides who are good at talking about Island history or facts. We appreciate being a member of MCPEI.”
“The tours are certainly growing,” says John. “We bought an inbound company a few years ago and have seen incredible growth in that area. We are also offering more outbound product like flights and cruise packages to Europe because of demand.”
“Another pillar of our business is school tours to Ontario and Quebec,” Jacqueline says. “We are also branching out into smaller, specialized outbound tours to more exotic destinations.”
Target Tours is already planning trips well into 2018. Winters are spent doing tours for school groups and planning and selling outbound packages to North America and Europe. Summer is busy with inbound Maritime tours.
“When we hire, business and tourism management training is important. We also look at how well the applicant would interact with clients. Everyone on our team was hired because of their personality; this industry is happy and fun and our clients feel that when they meet our team. Because of that, we have a very high proportion of repeat customers.”
There are retired people on their guide staff, and occasionally they take on-the-job training students who want to learn more about the business.
“In the next three years, we may need more staff to handle reservations,” John says. “It depends on how fast we grow our clientele.”
For more information, call 902-739-3500 or toll-free 1-877-214-5367. Visit www.targettours.ca.