49%. Remember that number, and I’ll explain what it means.
Last year I joined one of our Dordogne groups in September, just for a couple of days. I’d been with a group on the Bordeaux Winetrail the week before, and I think it’s a good idea to meet our groups when I have the chance.
Pete was guiding, and we had a bunch of experienced Chain Gang cyclers, the Marsden family, Jane and Paul Rowlinson, Barry Caspar, Richard Atkinson, and Joyce & Steven Nariyoshi from Hawaii. Ten cyclers, and all of them save two of the Marsdens were returning customers.
At dinner in Beynac somebody mentioned a person they’d met on a Chain Gang tour somewhere. Somebody else asked a question to establish if this was the same person they had met on another Chain Gang tour.
It turned out that everybody at the table (except the 2 youngest Marsdens, Chain Gang newbies) had a connection to somebody else through a mutual Chain Gang cycler. That’s a complicated sentence, but I’m sure you get the gist. Not six degrees of separation, just two! And none of these people had ever met before.
Remember that more than half our customers come from outside the UK, from America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc. So coming all the way back round half the world to join us on another bike trip is quite a compliment.
The number was 49%. I’m by turns both proud and humbled. We’d have gone out of business a long time ago if our customers didn’t keep coming back. I’ve never heard of a holiday company where 49% of their customers come back for another dose.