I booked the Northern Lights Minibus Chase with Chasing Lights for two consecutive nights. Having joined other Northern Lights tours, I have to say Chasing Lights offers one of the best packages.
I am on a bit of career break at the moment – and I haven’t done any project presentation for a bit – I am going to review this company using the Kano Model or a customer satisfaction measurement model – if you can call it that… Yeap – strange way of doing a blog review – just felt like doing something different! If you’re serious about looking for a Northern Lights tour – this is actually a helpful way of assessing whether a tour is value for money.
So what's great about the company - and this particular tour?
If you know the Kano Model, you would understand that for any service/product, there are some basic attributes that will not increase customer satisfaction, are taken for granted even; but not having the features will be totally unacceptable! I’ll give you an example – it’s like having toilet paper in a toilet – I don’t get excited by toilet papers, but I simply expect it to be there. Do you know what I mean? Totally totally hate it – when I’m in a hurry – and I get in there – do my business and then oh my God! No toilet paper! (But too late)…Familiar story?
Anyway – the company has all the ‘basics’ that I would ‘expect’ – so that’s a tick!
- Chasing Lights offers complimentary pickup/drop off at hotels in the city centre – this is of course expected and well-executed! (Just a note if you stay elsewhere – you have to figure out how to get to the closest hotel in the pickup list – pretty fair. Otherwise, we will spend the evening chasing people instead of the aurora!)
- Small-group tour size up to 12 – The tour group is not too small or too big, happy with that; You do want to be able to get a bit of attention when needed especially when you need help with gears etc. I think they have a big bus tour now – not sure how that works but I prefer smaller size groups
- Hot drinks – I was torn whether to put this as a plus point or just the basic needs. I moved it here. Hey for the price you pay for all the Northern Lights tours, they should offer at least hot drinks. You are out for hours, and it can get freaking cold – you must keep your customers warm. Am I right? Northern Lights did a great job with the hot drinks and all – delicious hot cocoa served to warm you up in the cold winter night!
The Plus Points
Performance attributes are differentiators that add to customers satisfaction (as long as done well). Basically, performance attributes are the reason why you choose one company as opposed to another. Key word here is – ‘AS LONG AS DONE WELL’. If someone sells me a car with a 5-year maintenance support, but the support is crap – that’s not going to cut it, is it? Chasing Lights team did great in delivering all of the following:-
- The company provides thermal suits and boots, etc to keep you safe and warm – very, very important! I have been on other tours where you kind of have to sort yourself up. But if you are travelling to a location where it’s -16 degrees and you have to be out for a while – you need those suits and boots! They will communicate with you via email before your arrival if you need to discuss sizes or if you need them to bring various sizes just in case
- Campfire – Both my guides on the two nights started making campfire as quickly as they can when they find the best spot for viewing the aurora. Some tours start the fire a bit later when you’re already almost freezing, or don’t even do it. The problem is usually with the fingers (and sometimes toes) – they get so cold that you start to worry about frostbites (ok, a bit too dramatic maybe). Basically, you just want to be able to keep warm while you wait for the aurora to turn up – and the fire really helps. The campfire also helps lift the mood a bit in the cold evening – it’s like going on an adventure! (Yeah maybe that part was a bit too much).
- Tripods – Obviously not everyone joining the trip are professional photographers and don’t carry around tripods. The tripods that you need to bring has to be sturdy so they can be bulky. If the stopover for the northern lights tour is part of a longer trip – can you imagine the space that will be taken up by the tripod in your suitcase? Chasing Lights provides good sturdy tripods, if you need one that is – so you just have to worry about your camera.
Excite attributes give increased customer satisfaction but do not cause dissatisfaction when not provided. But I do look at these too if I am considering what is ‘value for money tours’.
- Chasing Lights offer warm home made soup/meals with their hot drinks – it was a plus point for me – not really necessary, but it made the cold night bearable and memorable. On one of the nights – we even roasted marshmallows! Plus point for the younger ones for sure!
- Photography tips and advice – they do try to support you where possible here, but you need to bring your own camera. I have been on tours where the guide hardly helps you! At least the Chasing Lights team took hold of my camera and tried to do what they can with it
- Digital photos of you after the chase – just in case your photos do not turn out great, you always have the backup photos from the team. What they do is when the Northern Lights is visible – they will quickly snap everyone’s photo using their own camera so that you have something to take with you taken with a good professional camera. It means a lot to non-professionals like me! Then you can go back to your own cameras of course and go snapping away…
The Tour Company is called Chasing Lights because that’s what they do – they chase after the lights. After picking up everyone, they will be on their radio with other tour groups to find the best spot where the sky is clear with the best chance of spotting the aurora. The guides are not necessarily locals, but they are very enthusiastic, energetic and very eager to find the lights for you. We went for hours on the road even close to the border just to find the best spot. It just gives you a great feel to be part of the tour.
I highly recommend Chasing Lights if you are going to Tromso. Don’t really have anything negative to say. I guess the only thing is that whether or not you see the Northern Lights is really depending on your luck. To be on the safe side – you should at least spend a minimum of 4 nights in Tromso – but then again, it all depends on mother nature. At least you know if there is a chance of clear skies around the area – this team will help you get to that spot.
Read more posts on Tromso attractions in the following links