According to a recent article published online by Money Magazine (a Time Inc. publication), Mobile-based Duck Boat Tours was selected as “The Most Popular Tourist Attraction” in the state, according to data collected by TripAdvisor.com, listing top visitor draws throughout all 50 states.
“Money worked with TripAdvisor to identify the most popular tourist activity in every state. Their data revealed that while landmarks and museums remain the most popular attractions for newcomers, tours and trips that reveal something about a particular region’s culture — whether it be a living history museum or a brewery bus tour — often outdraw the cultural landmarks,” Money columnist Allana Akhtar wrote in the article.
To assimilate the data, TripAdvisor looked at on-site bookings for attractions, tours and activities for the entirety of 2017 and picked the most popular destinations based on overall online ticket sales.
“The port in Alabama’s historic city, Mobile, played a key role in trading between France and Spain. The most popular way to experience the port is a tour run by Gulf Coast Ducks,” Akhtar said.
“I’m proud of our team and thankful for our guests. It was their reviews that resulted in this article,” Gulf Coast Ducks co-owner Scott Tindle said in a phone interview. Tindle added that he was unaware that the write-up had even posted online last Saturday until made aware over the weekend.
Opening in June 2016, the homegrown tour company will be celebrating its two-year anniversary in less than three months. Currently employing around 30, the company is in the process of ramping up staffing, adding 10 to 15 employees to prepare for a traditionally busy spring and summer season. Gulf Coast Ducks is adding two to three boat captains and a minimum of 10 tour guides.
Business growth has been explosive, with 30 percent month-over-month ticket sale increases relative to previous-year numbers. To date, 90 percent of growth has been attributable to word-of-mouth social media marketing, with Facebook apparently driving the lion’s share of visitor traffic. According to Tindle, Gulf Coast Ducks has collected upward of 1,200 five-star ratings and more than 400 five-star ratings on TripAdvisor.com.
When asked what the biggest bottom-line driver was for phenomenal growth in a short amount of time, Tindle said the company was focused on “trading people’s time for fun” and offering a customized, interactive person-to-person experience on the tours. There is an hourly shuttling of three duck boats with maximum seating capacity of 35 guests per trip, for a total of up to 105 visitors out and about on excursions at any given time.
Tourists can experience the Mobile rivers and bay “Triple Splash Tour,” a city tour (recently adding historic Oakleigh Garden District), a haunted tour and the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park tour. Seasonal tours centered around Mardi Gras and other holidays are also offered during the year.
“We have always followed Lee Cockrell’s service model, who was the vice president of marketing for Disney,” Tindle said. He also credits a selective vetting process for new hires for having a talented pool of workers of who share his vision of continuous improvement and dynamic customer service that has brought increasing recognition to the company in a quick span of 20 months.
“We’re not perfect and we do get customer complaints, just like any other business. I think our way of addressing them (via the Disney method) has helped our business grow significantly and sidestep pitfalls other companies our size may encounter,” Tindle said. ”We don’t try to prove ourselves right when a customer issue arises, instead we try to find a way to address the situation and find a solution that benefits everyone.”
More information about top tourist draws in all 50 states can be can be found on Money Magazine’s website.
Commercial real estate moves
• Lewis H. Golden of Hamilton & Co. recently represented Caroline’s Treasures/TheStore.com in leasing a new location. The retailer and manufacturer will be relocating to where Universal Supply Co. is presently located at 2850 Government Blvd.
The 13,750-square-foot showroom/warehouse building will be nearly double the size of the current site on Cottage Hill Road. Universal Supply Co., a full-service glass company, will be relocating to 2814 Government Blvd. and continue specializing in auto, residential, commercial, marine and industrial glass, according to Golden. Vallas Realty Inc. worked for Universal Supply Co. in the lease transaction.
• Mamun Siddiq with RE/MAX Partners reported the sale of a gas station at 9801 Celeste Road in Saraland. The property sold to an investor for $ 675.000 and closed March 12.
• John Delchamps, associate broker with Merrill P. Thomas Co. Inc., recently reported the lease of an 1,800-square-foot building at 751 Holcombe Ave. and handled both sides of the transaction.
• Aiden Properties has purchased a 5,500-square-foot office/warehouse building at 504 Western Drive in Mobile. Jill Meeks, senior leasing executive with Stirling Properties, represented the buyer. Robert Cook with Vallas Realty worked for the seller.
• Lewis H. Golden of Hamilton & Co. recently represented IV & Claridge Construction Inc. in leasing a new location at 3151-A Midtown Park South in a 2,280-square-foot office/warehouse building. Bradford Ladd with Roberts Brothers Commercial Property & Management Inc. represented the owners in the lease transaction.
• Atkinson’s Jewelry is leasing 1,862 square feet of retail space at 1127 Saraland Blvd. in Saraland. Jill Meeks with Stirling Properties managed the transaction. The company is relocating from its current space and plans to open the new store early this summer.
• Coastal Cottage Living Real Estate is relocating its office to a 1,220-square-foot leased retail space at 3099 Loop Road Shopping Center in Orange Beach. Jill Meeks with Stirling Properties handled the transaction. The company plans to open in the new space by April.
• A local investor purchased some 11,090 square feet of industrial space at 3704 Moffett Road in Mobile for $300,000. Justin Toomey and Nathan Handmacher with Stirling Properties represented the seller in the transaction. Alan Garstecki with JLL worked for the buyer.
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