Tour company brings visitors to Wittenberg

Mystery tours popular with company
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Editor’s note: NEW Media recently chatted with Anne Schymanski of Courtesy Travel LLC, which organizes group bus tours out of Wausau. She was in Wittenberg on Aug. 9 with a group of 100 tourists enjoying a mystery tour.

Q: Who owns Courtesy Travel LLC?

A: My mom, Louanne Roehr, and a business partner opened Courtesy Travel in 1968 as a full-service travel agency. In 1989, her partner retired and Louanne became sole owner, employing four to six agents. In 2003, Louanne changed the business from a full-service travel agency to arranging and escorting her own group bus tours. I joined her in 2011 and took over ownership in 2013. I travel with the groups, and Louanne will get on the bus and help me out when I have more than one bus on a tour.

Q: What kind of trips do you do?

A: I offer 16 to 20 day trips a year and three to five extended trips. This year, I did a four-day trip to Green Bay and Door County. I have a seven-day trip to the Black Hills coming up in September and a three-day theater trip to the Twin Cities in October. I also offer a spring and fall overnight casino trip to The Island Casino Resort in Michigan. I’m planning a fall trip to Branson for 2019.

Q: Who came up with the idea for mystery tours?

A: I plan all the trips, and the mystery trips are very popular. Customers sign up for a day trip and don’t know where we’re going or why until we get to the destination. We’ve had two mystery tours to Wittenberg this year. One was to see the murals. Walls of Wittenberg provided guides to hop on the bus and explain a bit about each mural. We also had a trip to the Applewood Lanes Alpaca Farm. I do have a lot of repeat customers, and they look forward to the surprise destinations.

Q: Who is your target market for your bus trips?

A: I plan my day trips for seniors and try to keep them so that every mobility level can enjoy the trip. The extended trips may require a little more walking, and the customers know that ahead of time. We generally have more women than men on most of the trips.

Q: Do you plan trips and then advertise to fill the trip or do you get approached by people who want to go see specific things?

A: I plan the trips ahead of time and send out a mailing in November with the April and May tours and another in January with June through December trips.

Q: Can you give me a range of prices for your tours?

A: The day trips are $74 to $140. Depending on the destination and length of trip, I charge up to $1,200 for the extended tours, which includes meals and lodging.

Q: Where do you get your ideas for trips?

A: I attend a marketplace for travel planners in the spring where I meet tour suppliers and people from visitor centers. That’s how I found out WOW offered step-on guides! Patti Peterson with the Shawano Country Chamber of Commerce has been a big help for planning trips in this area.

AT A GLANCE

WHO: Courtesy Travel LLC

WHAT: Group bus tours out of Wausau

FYI: For information, call 715-370-2393 or email annebob80@gmail.com.