Arthur Tauck, Sr. started Tauck Tours in 1925 at the early age of 27. As the host of the first-ever Tauck tour that year, Arthur transported six passengers in his Studebaker touring car throughout New England and Canada. The all-inclusive, six-day trip covered 1,100 miles at a cost of $69 per guest. In 1935, as his tour business grew steadily, Arthur was awarded the first-ever federal tour broker’s license. Arthur’s pioneering spirit also led him to mobilize a dozen other tour operators, and in 1951, create the National Tour Brokers Association. Today, the organization (now known as NTA) has 4,500 members and remains a vital force in the travel industry. Arthur’s son, Arthur Tauck, Jr., took over the company’s reins in 1958. Over the next four decades, the younger Tauck added new destinations while maintaining the company’s high standards for quality, service and value. Today, Tauck offers over 100 all-inclusive, guided land journeys and cruises to 70 countries and all seven continents. Arthur Tauck, Jr. serves as the company’s chairman, with the third generation of Taucks actively involved in the family-owned business. Among a host of other honors, Tauck has been named to Travel + Leisure magazine’s list of the “World’s Best Tour Operators & Safari Outfitters” in each of the last 15 years.
During the 1970s, Tauck developed an IT system to help manage the reservations for its tour business using IBM’s RPG technology and customized it to meet its specific business needs. Based on the latest technology at the time, the system with its “green screen” interface performed admirably over the next few decades. Tauck, however, is committed to constant improvement – in the quality of its tours and cruises, in the service it provides to its guests and travel agents, and in the quality of its business infrastructure. In order to maximize service and support the company’s plans for future growth, Tauck concluded in 2006 that it would have to create a totally new reservations system to satisfy its evolving business requirements.
Tauck first hired GSI, Inc. in 2005 to help complete an airline system identifying airline flights matching specific parameters. After successfully implementing this system, Tauck then asked GSI, Inc. to assist in the creation of its new reservation system, dubbed Mariposa by the company. The overall project team consisted of 20 people, with five people assigned from GSI to infuse the team with Java/SQL skills and assist in the building and launch of Mariposa.
Tauck CIO Vinny Licht was most impressed with the results achieved by GSI. “The new Mariposa reservation system went live four years ago and has enabled our business growth and allowed us to enhance our service levels to our guests and travel agents. GSI, Inc. brought the needed skills and experience with Java and SQL web services, and contributed to the development of the new system and enhanced the skill-set of our internal team.” Applications Development Director Sergio Stanko discussed the ease of integration for the new reservation system. “The new web services architecture allowed for easy integration with other systems including the Tauck website.” The new architecture now provides real-time inventory and pricing information on Tauck’s website, and a number of additional integrated applications are currently in development.