The escorted touring market is experiencing continued growth as agents realise the benefits and earning potential of selling touring holidays. Not only can agents earn large commissions, but they’ll also elicit repeat custom from happy clients.We have found that many people will travel with like-minded people (a large number report that this is the highlight of their trip), and they’ll have the opportunity to really experience the destination thanks to expert guides.
Touring trends from 2010
- The Eastern Mediterranean has seen fantastic growth over the last few years, including Turkey, Greece and Egypt. This was our number one selling area for our brands and we put this down to the cultural diversity, history, great value for money and year round good weather. There is so much to see and do in the Eastern Mediterranean, which is why the region lends itself to escorted touring.
- Our Italian programme continues to perform well, especially those featuring classic cities such as Rome and Venice. We have more than 20 tours to this region incorporating the country’s top highlights.
- North America and our new Family Experience tours sold out on most departures, showing an increase year on year of more than 105%.
- The average age of holiday-makers on one of our Trafalgar and Insight Vacation tours is now only 45 years, with 20% falling between the ages of 21 and 42. Plus, Contiki’s tours run exclusively for 18-35’s who are looking for fun and cultural experiences with people in their own age group.
Understand the client's needs
The majority of customers could easily fit the escorted tour category without even realising. Touring offers great value, hassle-free holidays that include sightseeing, meals and a tour director.Simply put, they provide a fantastic alternative for clients who don’t want to sit on a beach all day.
If they like to cruise they'll probably like an escorted tour: We know that 78% of our clients have cruised before. Cruising and escorted tours holidays are very similar, so if your customer has cruised before, why not entice them to go on an escorted tour for their next holiday or book a tour as an add-on to a cruise? Ask the question “Do you want to really experience a destination or do you want to cruise?”
The right tour for the right client: Make sure you tailor the right style of tour to the right client. For example, One Stop Touring Shop offers more than 500 holidays across six different continents and 15 different touring styles suitable for all ages. So whatever kind of holiday a client is looking for, whether it is to just relax with a few excursions or to visit eight countries in eight days, the One Stop Touring Shop has something to offer everyone. Also, if they have special interests, eg: cookery, Trafalgar offers a Flavours of Italy culinary themed tour, where ten days leads in at £1,599 per person, and includes olive oil and chianti tasting, a Tuscan cooking experience and a dinner in a Tuscan farmhouse restaurant in Florence.
Add-on an escorted tour Escorted tours can be combined with many other holidays. Whether clients are on a beach holiday, leaving a cruise or visiting friends and relatives, then why not add on an escorted tour for the second week, so they get to really experience more of the country. This is a particularly popular option on all of our North American tours.
Be aware of what is included Agents need to understand exactly what is included on an escorted tour, as operators can differ significantly in this regard. It’s important to compare what sightseeing is included as well as the accommodation and locations, as these elements can make a huge difference in cost. Most tours are ultra-inclusive, but if there is something that your client wants to do and it is not listed and if the tour director is asked in advance, they will often be able to accommodate special requests.
Touring is not just for the over 70s Touring holidays are for clients of all ages. For example, the age of Trafalgar and Insight travellers start from five years old and Contiki specialise in 18-35’s. The myth that touring is for the very mature client is outdated, with the average age of a Trafalgar and Insight client being 45. Plus, escorted touring has evolved to now incorporate boutique hotels, unique experiences and the freedom and flexibility for even the most independently-minded traveller.
BEST (Better Escorted Tours) Better Escorted Tours is an organisation formed to increase agent’s knowledge of escorted touring and to grow the sector. One Stop Touring Shop has teamed up with six key partners to create a training course. Once completed, the course will give agents the knowledge to become an expert. Plus, many companies have teams of sales managers on the road to share their knowledge and help agents sell escorted tours, as well as reservation team staff and a 24-hour online booking system to make booking tours easy. For details visit www.bestacademy.co.uk
For more information on Insight Vacations, Trafalgar Tours or Contiki Holidays agents should contact One Stop Touring Shop’ on 020-7468 4335 or visit www.onestoptouringshop.co.uk