BOSTON—With its abounding reams of critical information, BostonDuckTours.com’s Frequently Asked Questions page goes to great lengths to eliminate even the slightest hint of confusion that may arise when it comes to touring the city via amphibious “Duck” vehicles, company officials said Friday.
The 2,400-word subdomain, which is broken into 37 separate expanding bullet points, reportedly covers an extensive canon of potential inquiries, such as “What should you wear?” “Do you get wet?” and, the question of vital importance to an overwhelming numbers of potential riders, “Are pets allowed on the Duck?’”
“After poring over the tens of thousands of questions we get on a daily basis vis-à-vis our Duck Tours, it became apparent that we needed a single authoritative resource to address the most common queries,” assistant general manager Deborah Nagler said. “Not just a place to go for quick, general answers, but an in-depth reference guide that would shed a helpful light on every question from ‘Can you get on and off the Duck?’ to ‘How do you get the back outside seats?’”
“Our goal is to arm people with every possible shred of Duck-related knowledge beforehand,” she continued. “Because by the time tour day rolls around, if customers are still unclear as to whether the Ducks are heated or whether they can bring liquor on board, then we’ve failed.”
According to Nagler, the FAQ answers the most pressing questions right away, immediately tackling ‘What is the student rate?’ and ‘Do I need to print my e-ticket?’ After covering the basics, she said, it then wades into more complex territory, offering readers detailed, paragraph-long answers to ‘Are the Ducks wheelchair accessible?’ before proceeding to delve into more philosophical topics, like ‘Please explain the $2 convenience charge.’
Those unclear about the tour’s three departure points, how to get there, and where to park, can scroll down to the center of the FAQ, where the questions “What is available at the Prudential Center, how do you get there, and where do you park?” “What is available at the Museum of Science, how do you get there, and where do you park?” and “What is available at the New England Aquarium, how do you get there, and where do you park?” are addressed in full.
But most important, company officials said, the FAQ answers some extremely difficult, “touchy” questions such as whether passengers can ride a specific Duck—of which there are 28—or make a special request for one of the 52 drivers, who hold the title of “ConDUCKtor.”
“When we put together this FAQ, we brought together the most brilliant minds in our Boston Duck Tour office,” Nagler said. “We put ourselves in the position of a customer who might have some questions about Boston Duck Tours, and asked ourselves, ‘What would I want to know? What questions would I have if I were about to ride on a boat through Boston that looked like a giant duck? Would I want to know if I could request a tour guide? Probably.’”
“So we spent weeks crafting the perfect answer—that, due to scheduling challenges, no, it is not possible to request a tour guide,” Nagler continued. “For many people it’s a tough pill to swallow, but I’d rather they find out ahead of time than have their heart set on, say, riding Fenway Fanny driven by Snags McTangles, or Penelope Pru driven by Paul Reverse, and then be disappointed.”
According to those who have consulted the FAQ page, its lengthy discourse on the Duck Tour’s myriad procedural details has been an indispensable ally in planning their trips to Boston.
Cleveland resident and father of three Dale Ingbretson said the extensive information had repeatedly put his mind at ease on questions that had been on his mind nearly verbatim, including ‘Do you let guests drive on the Charles River?’ and ‘Are there any Boston Duck Tour ticket holder benefits?’”
“Going in, I was racked with confusion, so I’m eternally grateful for such a comprehensive text that clears everything up,” Ingbretson said. “Case in point: When I needed to know if my ticket also gave me access to the New England Genealogical Society Museum, or if there would be an opportunity to purchase an ‘Add-on-Adventure’ like Boston’s Unofficial Hahvahd Tour, the FAQ page was able to answer with an unequivocal yes.”
“To be honest, I’d be completely lost without it,” he added.
Ingbretson confirmed that he would be taking a printout of the FAQ section with him on his trip, just in case any unexpected questions came up.