Educational trips give travel agents a great opportunity to experience a product which offers far more than many believe, says Cosmos head of sales Janet Parton
If I had a pound for every time I’ve been told touring holidays are for mature customers, I would be a very rich lady.
Common misconceptions of touring holidays are still very much at large, including “you are herded like cattle”, and “you have to constantly pack and unpack”. The perception of what a touring holiday is like in some travel agents’ minds is actually a far cry from reality.
To overcome these myths, I’ve worked to ensure that as many travel agents as possible experience what a touring holiday involves. Throughout the year, Cosmos has hosted over 100 travel agents on five worldwide tours to see the incredible sights of India, USA, Thailand, Canada and China.
These lucky agents experienced first-hand how being on a touring holiday completely immerses you into a region or country, as you are guided every step of the way by the most experienced, enthusiastic tour guides who know the destination like the back of their hand.
So, what did they learn?
Touring is for any age demographic, and any type of customer from singles and couples, to small groups. The age range varies depending on the pace of the itinerary and how adventurous the tour is. On a Cosmos tour, our average aged customer is 55, but there are benefits for any age.
You are met at your arrival airport and taken to your hotel, with your luggage whisked off to the hotel room, and picked up again when you’re ready to leave. You are with a guide every day, whose responsibility is to showcase the destination. It’s all about hassle-free travel.
Forget about a different hotel for every night of the tour. That’s not the case. Many tours have a number of consecutive nights in a destination. Most hotels are centrally located with good public transport links, making it easy to explore the local destination independently in your free time.
Most travel is done by coach or rail, but in many instances this could be by minibus or private car depending on the size of the group. Tours often provide fast track entrance into many attractions and there’s plenty of free time and flexibility. If you want an afternoon to laze in a coffee shop or enjoy some retail therapy – you’ve got it!
If you are lucky enough to be offered a fam trip place on a tour, my recommendation is to grab it with both hands and make the most of your experience.
- Do as the locals would do. Utilise your tour guide to take you to the places off the beaten track. Try the restaurants that the locals would use and away from the tourist trail. The tour guides have often lived in the towns/cities, so know the best places to go.
- Ask lots of questions. Use the tour guides’ knowledge and experience to widen your own knowledge on the destination.
- Utilise the time spent with your host tour operator. Find out as much about their product and the other destinations they feature. It’s like having your own private training session.
- Share your experience with others. Write a blog and share your pictures on social media. It’s a perfect opportunity to share your new-found knowledge with others, which is beneficial for all.
You may not feel that your own customers would be attracted to a touring holiday, but think again. Our fam trippers thought the same before they enjoyed a tour with us, but have a read of what they had to say:
“You see so much, I could never have done all of this on a tailor-made trip myself”
“The guides are amazing. Their knowledge is second to none, and I feel like I know so much about the destination now”
“I love the fact that I’m looked after every step of the way, I haven’t worried once”
“There is so much more free time than I thought there would be”
Touring is for everyone. All you have to do is match the right product to the right customer. So forget what you think you know, and start looking at touring with a new perspective.
Find out about Cosmos here.
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