Scenic Group reports that it has purchased North American tour operator Mayflower Tours. Mayflower will continue to operate as a separate entity called Mayflower Cruises & Tours, Scenic said, with many of the same people, same executive team and same focus on immersive touring programs. The deal will, however, offer Mayflower greater access to river and ocean cruise itineraries on Scenic and its sister brand, Emerald Waterways, while the two cruise brands will add a number of Mayflower’s land-based tours to join with their cruise offerings.
One of the subjects in our recent cover story on tour operators, Mayflower's success comes from the fact that it places a strong emphasis on guest feedback, with 86 percent of its travelers filling out and returning a trip-end survey. Information from this survey is then past on to the operator's tour development teams.
Mayflower will continue to be based in Downers Grove, which is just outside of Chicago, with current Mayflower President Nish Patel continuing in that leadership role. In a written statement announcing the sale, Patel noted that river cruises are Mayflower’s fastest growing product segment.
The purchase marks the latest expansion for Scenic following the company’s 2015 rebranding, which pulled together Scenic Tours and Scenic Cruises under a single brand umbrella. The company is looking forward to launching two new luxury expedition ships – the Scenic Eclipse in August, and the Scenic Eclipse II in 2020 – with a number of new features like helicopters, submarines and a Polar Class 6 ice rating.
Emerald Waterways has also been undergoing a fleet expansion, bringing its total of Star-Ships to seven over the course of last year with new ships in Portugal, as well as on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers.