The Road Explorer - Summer 2017 - 18
Cape Cod Custom Tours
by Mary Lou Jay
ape Cod Custom Tours wants
to make it easy for motor coach
and tour operators to provide
their customers with a first-rate
vacation experience in Cape Cod,
New England and Atlantic Canada.
"We are a receptive operator; if a tour
operator from Ontario wanted to bring
a group to Cape Cod, they would make
just one call to us and we would set up
the whole package: hotel, restaurants,
attractions and guide service," said
Rene Poyant, the company's director.
"What's advantageous for them is that
with us they have eyes here on Cape
Cod, so we can modify and change
things very quickly." For example, if
an excursion vessel cancels a whalewatching cruise because of high winds,
Cape Cod Custom Tours can quickly
revise the tour's itinerary for the day.
"We take care of our clients and make
them look good," Poyant added.
The company can also offer volume
buying power to its clients since Poyant
and his team schedule more than
200 tours each year.
Fulfilling a Need
Cape Cod Custom Tours' parent
company, Hyannis Harbor Tours, dba
as Hy-Line Cruises, started offering
sightseeing tours of Hyannis Harbor in
1962. The Scudder family, which owns
the business, added cruises to Martha's
Vineyard and Nantucket in the 1970s.
"They found that motor coach
companies would come in for the boat
tours and the operators were always
asking where they should be staying,
where they could eat or if they knew
someone who could show them around,"
Cape Cod Custom Tours opened
in 1977 in response to those queries.
Poyant took the job as director in
1989 and today works with his wife,
Cherye Poyant, and Connie Leonovich,
who serve as tour coordinators. "We put
more people on their boats than any
other tour company; our goal is to send
clients home happy and to do a lot of
repeat business," said Poyant.
Cape Cod Custom Tours arranges
about 200 tours a year for different
clients, serving about 7,700 visitors.
"Most of our clients come from 500 to
600 miles away. The Canadian market
is a very big one for us; we have 33
Canadian operators on our customer list."
The Cape Cod area is by far the most
popular destination. Visitors spend four
nights in a hotel and travel each day to
see new attractions. Cape Cod Custom
Tours tailors each group's experience
to the operator's budget and interests,
from the very basic to tours that include
whale watching cruises, dune tours of
The Road Explorer
Cape Cod National Seashore and visits
to nearby islands.
"People think you have to change it
up every year, but we have tour operators
who do the same type of program year
after year and they sell out," said Poyant.
But his company is always looking for
new attractions, like the recently opened
Whydah Pirate Museum, and checking
out new restaurants and hotels to ensure
they meet the company's high standards.
"Cape Cod is a destination that
sells well because people have either
been here and want to come back or
else they've heard about it and want to
come. We love being the go-to partner
for a lot of operators coming to this
region. We want people to know that we
will give them new and unique ideas to
keep it creative and enticing for them
so they'll want to bring groups here and
work with us," said Poyant.
Rene Pierre Poyant, Director,
Cape Cod Custom Tours
The Road Explorer: How do you
market your services?
Rene Poyant: That's changed over
the years. In the past, we did a lot more
advertising. Now we have the website,
and Cherye sends out email blasts that
go to our client and prospect lists, which
is all tour operators and motor coach
companies. That generates interest in
new products we develop.
But the most important way that
we get our information out there is
by being members of OMCA and
other organizations and going to their
conventions every year. I've been active
in OMCA for many years; I have served
on their board a couple of times and on
their Supplier Council.
This business is really about people
doing business with people, so it's
critical that our clients know us and
trust us, because they're giving us their
clients for four days.