O.A.T.: Our Story
The Next Chapter: More Choices, Better Value
The custom-built M/V Artemis, seen here off the Croatian coast, set sail in 2006.
A year after our first custom-built ship set sail, in April 2007, we both turned 60. It had been nearly 20 years since that day at Mount Rainer, and our first trip to Nepal. O.A.T. had changed and grown so much and we were so proud.
But the culture at Grand Circle was still very focused on Europe and Grand Circle vacations, even though many of our travelers had made the shift to traveling with O.A.T. already. And we really wanted to get everyone in Boston focused, and committed, to the O.A.T. brand and small group travel. So we made a number of organizational changes, creating an O.A.T. team to focus on the brand, and even reducing our Grand Circle land product line.
Wherever possible, O.A.T. chooses smaller, distinctive lodgings that reflect the unique character of their surroundings.
These changes were some of the toughest we’ve faced as a company. But we firmly believe that small groups are the future of travel, and we needed to make sure we had an organization that would support it. Refocusing the company on O.A.T. resulted in some big decisions that have helped O.A.T. continue to grow. Just as we allowed our maximum group size to creep up in the past, the last few years have seen our standard for unique, O.A.T.-style accommodations slide. An extensive audit of O.A.T. accommodations confirmed what our travelers had been telling us for some time: our hotels were not always the charming, locally-owned properties our brochures promoted. Further research revealed a number of reasons behind this shift … in many cases we had chosen larger, chain hotels in certain locations simply for convenience and proximity to airports and local transportation. Since then, we’ve established better guidelines for hotel selection, and make sure our buyers and local trip planners always seek locally-run, unique accommodations wherever and whenever possible.
In 2008, O.A.T. introduced a dozen new adventures, including an 18-day journey in Namibia, where travelers spend time in a Himba settlement.
In keeping with our vision to take our travelers where Americans don’t go, we’ve continued to expand our product line, offering 12 new adventures beginning in 2008, including new Small Ship Adventures in Panama, the Adriatic, the Aegean, and the Dalmatian Coast, and small group adventures in South India, Nepal, Tunisia, Namibia, South Africa, Patagonia, Iceland, and Southeast Asia.
Plus, we’ve given you more options for pre- and post-trip extensions. Many O.A.T. travelers appreciate the opportunity extensions provide: to stay longer and travel even further off the beaten path at a great value. So we’ve made a conscious effort to make our extensions longer and more exotic, adding options in Mongolia, Rwanda, Bhutan, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Syria, The Sinai Peninsula, and Easter Island.
We’ve also changed a number of our policies to make it easier for you to travel. From providing cash rewards through our Vacation Ambassador Referral Program to offering free Single Supplements on all small group adventures and pre- and post-trip extensions, every policy change that’s made travel more affordable for you was either suggested by of one of our travelers, or inspired by your feedback.
O.A.T.: Our Story
In the Beginning: Making Adventure our Business
Our Philosophy: Change is Good
Growing the Business … and our Family
The Fundamentals: Small Groups, Small Ships
» The Next Chapter: More Choices, Better Value
The Story Continues: O.A.T. and YOU ...
Call us to reserve your next adventure1-800-955-1925