As a music ensemble conductor, or person responsible for organizing a music ensemble’s concert tour, you may be frustrated by trying to figure out the differences between two or more companies that are bidding on your proposed concert tour – namely, the different items that are included in the costs, the items that are not included in the cost, and – the big daddy of them all – the overall cost itself. That’s what speaks loudest, right? Your challenging decision can be easily made by simply selecting the operator with the lowest price.
We understand this frustration, which is why the first thing we recommend in this situation is to envision yourself on the tour. Is everything going smoothly? Or, are things a wreck? Are the concerts poorly attended? Did the hotel clerk shrug his shoulders because apparently you don’t have a reservation, as you initially thought? Is the coach breaking down?
What are you going to do when the flights are cancelled before your concert tour has literally gotten off the ground, and you have 25, 50, 100 or more people looking at YOU for direction, leadership, and answers?
Now – do you still want to go with that super low price without looking at little more closely?
We are strong advocates of considering a multitude of options when selecting a concert tour operator, but even then your final decision may still come down to price – especially when it seems virtually everything you’re comparing between two operators is the same…but are they? Maybe it’s good to take a closer look at what’s included in your bids. For instance, consider looking at:
- Transportation. Do all bids include airline and/or coach transportation? You would be amazed at how many do NOT include this vital ingredient to a successful concert tour. Do the airline estimates seem reasonable, or just low in order to get your business? Investigate the airline fuel surcharges, taxes, and fees. These can be highly volatile in price. Are they included in your bids? If so, do they accurately reflect what will be due to the airline, or is it possible you’ll be charged extra right before you depart for the tour?
- Musical expertise. Remember, this is a concert tour, not a vacation. Yes, everyone is there to have a good time – of course! But, first and foremost, the experience must include terrific performances. These are the moments that change people’s lives. Anyone can make travel and hotel arrangements, but not everyone can emphatically understand the needs of a string orchestra performing in a grand concert hall, a marching band traveling 3,000 miles to do a “stand and blow” concert, or a choir singing in an acoustically superior cathedral. Look deeply into the musical opportunities recommended in the offers. Do they address the group’s vision for the tour?
- Customer service. Go back to the airport example given earlier. Will the company you’re working with be available 24/7 to help in emergencies? Or, are you out on your own?
To help folks out in this situation, we offer folks the service of comparing bids, making suggestions for improvements, and – when all else is the same – offering a price match or beat guarantee.
The process of price matching or beating may involve removing some items from our initial bid that are not included in other bids you’re looking at. While a lot of items can be eliminated from a tour, and a quote you receive may seem to have a very attractive price, the old adage you get what you pay for applies. What we won’t do is compromise our high standards for a low price.
So if you’re looking at a tour bid and want another set of eyes, let us know and we’ll be glad to help. No obligation. And if we can recommend a better tour for a better price, we’ll do so.