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“We offer travellers joy”: Jerry Pilgrim talks all things Tauck

With a surname like Pilgrim, it’s no surprise Jerry Pilgrim ended up in the travel industry. That he’s one of the rare ones spending over 20 years in sales positions also isn’t surprising, once you get to know Jerry. Tauck’s National Account Manager is a natural storyteller; passionate, adventurous, and curious. We talked all things Tauck with Jerry, including how he can support you!

With a surname like Pilgrim, it’s no surprise Jerry Pilgrim ended up in the travel industry. That he’s one of the rare ones spending over 20 years in sales positions also isn’t surprising, once you get to know Jerry. Tauck’s National Account Manager is a natural storyteller; passionate, adventurous, and curious. We talked all things Tauck with Jerry, including how he can support you!

As Tauck’s National Account Manager for Queensland and Victoria, Jerry Pilgrim has a busy life. As evident in his email footer statement, “My working day may not be your working day. Unless otherwise noted, please do not feel obligated to reply to this email outside of your normal working hours.”

We didn’t mind where in our working hours our interview with him fell, we’d do anything to make a catch-up happen with such a fascinating stalwart of the Australian travel industry.

What makes Tauck a stand-out brand?  

Jerry Pilgrim, Blue Danube tour
Jerry Pilgrim’s appreciated the Tauck Difference on his recent riverboat cruise, the Blue Danube.

Tauck has been a world leader in premium guided travel for nearly 100 years. We’ve got over 150 amazing land and cruise itineraries to 70 countries across all seven continents.  

We’re a family-owned business offering land adventures, small ship cruises, river cruising, family adventures and small group journeys, each delivering a rich, engaging cultural ‘story’ of the destination.

I love how impeccably Tauck weaves must-see attractions with off-the-beaten-path exclusive experiences unavailable to most travellers.”  

How does Tauck’s high repeat passenger rate help travel advisors?  

Jerry Pilgrim
On the Blue Danube tour, guests enjoy a private opera performance. @Jerry Pilgrim

“Over 50% of Tauck’s guests are repeat bookers, and a further 30% are referred to us by those repeat clientele. That speaks volumes about how much they value the seamless quality of every Tauck experience.  

This is great for travel advisors as they’re almost guaranteed 50% future bookings once their clients have travelled with Tauck!”  

Tauck promotes being fully inclusive on river cruises, what does that mean? 

“Fully inclusive means absolutely everything is included! And I know, because I put it to the test on my recent Danube Tauck riverboat cruise. 

On the Blue Danube, I decided to run an experiment. I put a €100 note in my pocket at the start to see if I would spend it on any hidden extras. As all drinks onboard were covered 24/7 – including premium and top shelf (Moet was the house Champagne!) – and all meals at both the á la carte restaurant and the less formal café were included in the tariff.

The same was true for the tours. All excursions and tips/gratuities were covered, and the tour guide even gave us money for any paid public toilets and off-boat lunches! It was unreal to walk away with that €100 bill as proof that fully inclusive really means just that with Tauck. 

It’s freeing to have everything taken care of. It reminded me of when my parents took me away on holiday as a child, and everything just seemed to work. It’s the same with Tauck, you don’t have to do anything except feel joy.” 

Can you explain Tauck’s company pillar about travelling in good company? 

Tauck guides love being the world’s best guide. @Tauck

“Every Tauck trip is guided by experts who have at least 10 years of service and an unwavering passion to be the world’s best travel companion. They love delighting guests with extraordinary moments every day. They know everything on the ground, from how steep a hill’s incline is to where the toilets are to how long an activity will really take.  

Guests also meet handpicked local experts and guides on their journey, whether a chef, naturalist, photographer, winemaker, professor or artist. It makes a big difference to how people experience the world. 

It’s not only the Tauck crew providing good company; the passengers do, too. On my Tauck adventure, I met the most fascinating people. No matter where they were from, they were curious and enjoyed discerning experiences beyond the norm. Tauck guests would prefer to go out with a farmer and his dog on a truffle hunt than be surrounded by the tourist hoard. It made for fascinating conversations.”

Tauck has a special milestone next year, why is the company so proud of that? 

Four people pose outside helicopter in Africa
Tauck’s Mountain Gorilla Safari offers an immersive trip into the best of Kenya, Tanzania & Rwanda. @Tauck

“Tauck celebrates 100 years next year. It’s a special milestone as it reflects everything the business has built, including long-standing trust and integrity. Our outstanding reputation means we can engage in meaningful conversations with our partners and suppliers to ensure we’re delivering unique travel experiences far beyond mere sightseeing. Today’s travellers want immersive experiences and a sense of connection to the destination and its people. 

Our 100-year-old history allows us to deliver that every time. It’s why Travel + Leisure has awarded Tauck ‘World’s Best Tour Operator’ for 26 consecutive years!” 

What do you love about working for Tauck? 

Jerry Pilgrim, Tauck
“I found my tribe” Jerry Pilgrim on joining Tauck.

“Since working with Tauck, I felt like I belong, I came home. Which is wild, given my background was adventure travel, tackling places like Everest Basecamp, Mount Kilimanjaro, and the Camino de Santiago. 

During the recruitment process, I remember thinking, “Where have you people been all my life?”. I found my tribe as we shared the same interests, intellect, curiosity, and passion for travel.  

Working for Tauck is clear and simple: we offer travellers joy. The joy of travelling overseas with loved ones, the joy of meeting like-minded new friends, the joy of escaping routine, exchanging it with the wonder of walking in the everyday lives of other cultures.

I also love the freedom and trust from Tauck HQ to partner with select travel professionals to assist their clients in experiencing unique Tauck journeys.” 

What support can you offer travel agencies/advisors?  

Invite Jerry Pilgrim to talk at your next event
Invite Jerry Pilgrim or his peers to share the Tauck Difference at your client evening. @Tauck

“Whether you’re making your first booking or growing your business, Tauck is keen to help you meet your goals.  

Between myself, our Australian-based reservations team, two other Australian Account Managers, and a dedicated agent website, we make life as simple as possible to book your discerning clients with Tauck. We also love sponsoring agency client nights to share the Tauck difference.” 

Predict the future: what is Tauck’s Australian position over the next few years? 

“The demand for more authentic and luxurious experiences is clearly here to stay. Travellers no longer wish to sightsee, they expect deep cultural immersion, local stories, expertise, and activities far from the madding crowd. 

For 100 years Tauck has pushed the boundaries to reinvent travel to go further into a destination, to provide exclusive access, and to meaningfully showcase. all that this amazing world has to offer, both on land and water.

Tauck invented and has maintained the gold standard of travel in North America, and I am delighted that we now have a solid Australian Tauck base with incredibly experienced staff to share that great wealth.”

Get in touch with Jerry Pilgrim on 0410 072 333 or via email or contact Tauck in Australia on 1800 962 043.

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