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What did guests think of our tours in 2019? Now that the cruise and cycling season has drawn to a close, we’re taking time to review everyone’s feedback.

At the end of each tour for which Boat Bike Tours is the organizing tour operator, we ask guests to fill in a survey about their cycling cruise experience. What do we do with all that information? Learn from it and then act on it, of course!

Feedback is the best

Being Dutch, we’re not too sensitive about receiving constructive criticism. We see it as a vital ingredient for the continual improvement of our tours and services. After all, being brutally honest is a national pastime, so we welcome it!

To find out more, we sat down with Jan Timmermans, managing director of Boat Bike Tours, who was only too happy to explain what we’re learning.

Hi Jan, can you tell us about how we get feedback from guests and what we do with it?

Certainly! On the last day of each tour we distribute a simple survey in which we ask guests’ opinions about all aspects of the tour, from booking experience and crew, to accommodation, meals, cycling routes and tour leaders.

This year we have 5,500 completed surveys. When we consider that most passengers travel as a couple (so one survey per couple), this means that these results reflect the opinions of about 85% of all travelers who took a tour with Boat Bike Tours in 2019. Thanks to such a high response rate the results can really tell us a lot.

We received a ‘net promoter’ score of 96% this year. Sounds like top of the class. Can you explain what it means?

One of the concluding questions on the survey is “Would you recommend this tour to your friends or relatives?” This year 82% of guests replied “Yes, certainly”, and another 14% replied “Yes, probably”.

That means that 96% of guests had such a good experience on our tours that they would suggest them to their friends and family. It’s a great indication that we’re doing a good job!

Wow, it’s great to get that kind of validation. What do you with that kind of information?

High scores like that show us that we’re on the right track. We’re giving customers what they want and – apparently – often even more than that. So we should keep up the good work while also striving to improve areas with lower ratings.

I guess the feedback can’t be all good, right?

True. We sometimes observe very specific feedback like if some mattresses on a boat are too soft, or if a certain day’s cycling route is too tiring. If we see this comment appearing multiple times then we know it’s a general issue that we need to act on. And we do!

Sometimes that means working with the boats to improve facilities on board, other times it means introducing a short cycling option on a day when there was previously only a long option.

What are some trends you pick up from the surveys?

We notice that guests always rate cabins lower than other areas on the ship like the salon or restaurant, and lower than other aspects of the tour. We think that this has mostly to do with expectations. A ship’s cabin can’t be compared to a regular hotel room, because it will always be smaller and mostly simpler.

Life is different on a ship, you live more in communal spaces: cabins are for resting and washing, while all other activities happen in shared spaces like in the salon, on deck or ashore. What this tells us is that we need to help guests understand this difference in advance, so then they know what to expect.

What feedback makes you most happy?

The field where we always get the most positive feedback is for our wonderful crew and tour leaders. They always receive a positive score of 97% or above.

We’re a very people-oriented company, for us the personal factor is everything. And when you’re traveling together for a week then you really get to know each other. So we’re very happy that guests enjoy the hospitality of our crews and tour leaders. And we aim to keep it that way.

Thank you Jan for your answers. It’s a fascinating hidden side of the boat bike tour experience.


Want to read more of what our guests have to say? Check out our review page for plenty of customer reviews.