Introduction To Big Bus Tour Cultural Studies Essay

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It was formed by the merger of two well known companies The Big Bus Company ltd and Les Cars Rouge both having over 20 years of successful tour experience.

It provides a very flexible options for the visitors who want to explore the city on their own terms and at the same time don't want to miss any of the major attractions.

Along with the hop on hop off services the company also provides many value added services which have turned out to be one of the major factors for attracting more and more visitors.

Big Bus Tours is currently planning further expansion in the US, Europe and Far East, and welcomes all enquiries about possible franchise or partnership opportunities.

INTRODUCTION TO THE ORIGINAL TOURS

It was one of the first bus tour providers of UK, initially it was started as 'service j'. It started on 11th June 1951.

It was promoted with the help of 'AROUND THE TOWN FOR HALF A CROW'. Initially the tour was for just 1.40 and 1.10 gbp for adult and child respectively.

Live guides were introduced in 1984 ,in the 1980's the servicer were improved and recorded commentary was added and it was in 1991 that the hop on hop off concept was started for the visitors giving them the freedom to develop their own itinary.

The company was taken over by Arriva in 1997 which is one of the largest transport service organization in Europe.

In March 2001 London Pride Ltd was acquired and merged with The Original London Sightseeing Tour, creating the largest single operation of its kind anywhere in the world.

Now it is operating just as "the original tour", a multi award winning company continues to provide the hundreds of visitors who arrive in London for a special experience.

http://www.isecard.com/images/featured/original_london_tour_logo.gif

FACILITIES PROVIDED BY BOTH THE COMPANIES

BIG BUS TOUR:

The Big Bus tour provides open-top sightseeing tours of London. The company has a fleet of 90 buses and tours run every 5-15 minutes, enabling visitors to hop on and off at over 70 stops. The carefully devised tour provides an overview of the history and culture of London, delivered by either a London guide in English or a recorded commentary.

The digitally recorded commentary allows you to listen to facts and stories in any of 8 languages. Head phones are provided enabling you to listen in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese & Russian.

As with all Big Bus Tours, you can stay onboard for the full tour or make use of the hop-on hop-off facility, a great benefit of the London bus tour that enables you to stop and explore the sights at your leisure. Take advantage and visit the top London attractions at your own pace.

The Red Tour

It is a classic tour of London

It has a professional guide who provides great information.

Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral and The Tower of London are just some of the fabulous attractions.

The Blue Tour

It is the most extensive route.

It has a informative recorded commentary.

Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Kensington High Street, take in the elegant Kensington Palace and the fashionable Notting Hill.

The Green Link

It is a combination of both red and blue routes

The journey is without a tour guide commentary and departures are every 30 minutes.

River Thames Pass

You can enjoy a leisurely tour on the river .

Three Walking tours

Royal London Walking Tour

Beatles Walking Tour of London

Ghosts London Walking Tour

Big Bus Bonus Card

The Bonus card provides great discounts and added value offers in some of London's most popular restaurants, shops and attractions. The Bonus Card can be used for a week after your Big Bus Sightseeing Tour and can be used repeatedly.

Highlights

-The houses of Parliament

- St Paul's Cathedral

- The Tower of London

- The London Eye

- Westminster Abbey

- Tower Bridge

- Buckingham Palace

Includes

- Hop on Hop Off sightseeing Tour

- 2 Routes with the option of a personal audio commentary or a live guided tour

- 3 Walking Tours, River Cruise and Big Bus Bonus Card (Discount card)

- Unlimited use of all components throughout ticket validity

Things that are excluded from the tour are:

- Meals and drinks

- Personal expenses

- Tips and gratuities

- Optional activity costs

THE ORIGINAL TOURS:

Highlights:

Madame Tussauds

Piccadilly Circus

Leicester Square

Trafalgar Square

Downing Street

Big Ben and Parliament

London Eye

Covent Garden

St. Paul's Cathedral

Tower Bridge

Tower of London

Shakespeare's Globe

Westminster Abbey

Buckingham Palace

The City Sightseeing Tour (Red Route)

The Original Tour (Yellow Route)

The Museum Link (Blue Route)

Capital Connector (Purple Route)

St Pancras Station Connector (Black Route)

Central London (Green Route)

It operates daily between 09.15 and 15.45.

Kids Club

The Original Tour is the only tour operator to offer commentaries specially designed for children. History made fun - for kids, by kids ... plus the voice of the ghost of London!

Thames River Cruise

FREE Walking Tours

1. The Changing of the Guard Walk

2. Rock 'n' Roll Walking Tour

3. The Jack the Ripper Walk

SOURCE: http://www.viator.com/tours/London/The-Original-London-Sightseeing-Tour-Hop-on-Hop-off/d737-3302OT?pref=02&aid=g305

Comparison between the big bus tour and the original tours

Original tour and The Big Bus are the established operators and are arguably the mirror images of each other in terms of the product that they offer to their customers.

PRICE COMPARISON

At large both the companies go head to head on the price department.

But if one has to compare which company has a more cheaper ticket it's the original tours with just a fraction.

Big Bus has a 24 and 48 hour tickets that they offer but this is not the case with the original tours, they just offer a 24 hour ticket.

COMPARISON OF THE BUSES

In the last couple of years both the companies have upgraded their buses.

All the buses are double deck, open top vehicles.

The difference in both the company's buses is how open top they are, some of the top rows in the front are covered.

ENGLISH GUIDES & AUDIO GUIDES

If you are fluent in English it is preferred that you take the guided bus tour which is provided by both the companies.

Of the audio guides all have English, French, Spanish, German and Italian. Big Bus doesn't have Japanese, the other two do. Big Bus & OLT have Russian. OLT have a Kids Channel. Big Bus has Portuge and Mandarin.

Source: http://www.londontoolkit.com/blog/tours/comparing-londons-hop-on-hop-off-sightseeing-buses/

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COMPARISON OF THE FACILITIES PROVIDED

The original tour provides KIDS CLUB facility which makes it more fun for the kids, the same is not provided by the BIG BUS TOURS.

Bonus card, one of the main facility provided by the big bus tour.

In this the customers can avail great discounts and value offers in some of London's most popular restaurants, shops and attractions. The Bonus Card can be used for a week after your Big Bus Sightseeing Tour and can be used repeatedly.

This in NOT provided by the ORGINAL TOURS.

FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS ON THE BASES OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE

Q1.Which bus tour did you opt for?

According to the data collected 70% of the respondents opted for the Big Bus tour where as only 30% of the people opted for the original tour.

Were you given ample time given to you for sightseeing?

According to the data collected people who opted for the Big Bus tour said that they were given time to see all the sights but some of the people were not satisfied with the time provided by the tour companies' but this is based on their personal requirements.

Was there any entertainment for your children during the tour?

The original tour is the only bus tour company that provides entertainment for the kids.

Families who opted for the big bus tour were really happy with all the facilities and the value added services provided by the company the only thing that they were not content with was that their kids were not given any special treatment.

Whereas the families who opted for the original tour were really happy with the services specially with the kids club facility for their children, this made their tour more enjoyable.

Was the guide able to answer your questions?

The guides of both the tour companies were well informed and were able to tackle all the questions very easily.

Did the tour match upto your expectation?

Big bus tour was able to match upto the customers expectations as all the things that the company mentioned were provided to them. The most important thing that they were excited about was using their BONUS CARD facility.

The original tour was also able to meet the expectation and the people with kids were the ones who were really happy and satisfied as their kids were able to enjoy the tour because of the KIDS CLUB facility provided by the original tour company.

Would you recommend this tour to your friends?

Customers, whether they opted for big bus or the original tours , they were certain that they will recommend the tour service to all their friends as they were extremely happy with the services provded to them.

RECOMMENDATIONS

On the basis of the data collected and the survey conducted I have reached the following conclusion:

According to the information and my personal experience BIG BUS TOUR is the best and also most of the respondents that were interviewed were the ones who had gone for the same.

Personally I would recommend both the companies to install toilets in the buses as it would make the trip more convenient for the customers.

According to the suggestions given by the respondents , buses should install some moving platform with the help of which people with a wheel chair can make use of the open top facility provided , otherwise they have to sit at the lower level

Original Tours should start a facility similar to the BONUS CARD which is provided by the Big Bus Tour , as it is one of the major differentiating point between them.

If the Big Bus tour wants to attract couples with kids, they should start a KIDS CLUB facility or something on the same lines as it would increase their customer base, even though it is still very high.

CONCLUSION

With the help of the data collected through the questionnaire and the information gathered from the internet I can easily say that big bus tour, with all the hype around it and being started recently ie in May 2011 takes the lead in the hop-on hop-off bus tour providing companies.

Original tour company, even though started about 5 decades back, has lost to the new kid on the block.

In order for the original tour company to gain more market share and once again be on the top it has to start some aggressive marketing strategies, give more discounts, provide 48 hour tickets as done by its competitors.

Big bus tour company, in order to maintain its lead in the market, should introduce some kids entertainment or start a tour specially for the younger generation which would attract more families, as the main motive of the family is that their kids should have a great time and at the end increase their knowledge about the city.

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