Comment: Innovation shines throughout guided holiday sector

Comment: Innovation shines throughout guided holiday sector

By Ruth Hilton, sales and business development director, Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, Trafalgar and CostSaver

I was delighted to see the 2018 Abta Travel Trends Report highlight how, despite many challenges last year, our industry has been able to continuously innovate.

We have seen the opening up emerging destinations, packaging ever more authentic experiences and bringing once-niche elements to a mainstream audience. This ensures that there’s a continued demand for travel and that the trade can draw on new, exciting product that will engage their customers year after year.

Innovations in holiday product are wonderfully imaginative right across the industry, but I truly believe that this creativity shines through most strongly in the guided holiday sector.

I am in awe of the talented product and operation teams who create some of the most complicated holiday product in the market. Such trips often combine multiple destinations, unique experiences, behind-closed-door access, unmissable sightseeing, amazing dining, top quality accommodation, luxurious transportation, and so much more, to deliver the ultimate in immersive travel.

At Trafalgar we have always known that we live and die by the quality of the experiences that we can offer your clients. By constantly challenging ourselves and pushing our product forward, adding exciting new destinations and filling our itineraries with pinch me moments, we are able to give our guests a deeper understanding of a destination in ways they could never imagine.

These experiences, effortlessly delivered, are the building blocks of our trips, and are one of the many reasons that we consistently receive such high Net Promoter Scores, meaning that agents can be confident in giving their clients the very best in travel when they book a Trafalgar journey.

For example, in 2018 we have added an amazing new eight day itinerary in the US called Heart of the South with the Great Smoky Mountains, which travels from Atlanta to Louisville, where an unmissable attraction is the Ali Childhood Home Museum.

In true Trafalgar style, we hit this highlight, but we do things a little differently to make this the ultimate way to learn about boxing’s number one hero. In a fantastic new Be My Guest experience, we meet the younger brother of Muhammad Ali, Mr. Rahaman Ali, who guides us on a visit of the Museum and then hosts our guests for dinner.

That addition takes the incredible and transforms it into something truly unforgettable. By delivering those kinds of soul stirring experiences to clients, agents will build customer loyalty and retention. After one taste of the access that guided holidays can offer them and the heartfelt service with which we deliver it, they won’t want to travel any other way.

This is but one example, and there is so much more where this comes from. It is fantastic to see so many travel companies following suit and working to curate the best that destinations right across the world have to offer; providing enriching experiences that will create the most memorable travel experiences for your clients to treasure forever.

By packaging up things that it would be impossible, or at least extremely difficult, for travellers to recreate for themselves, and by executing these with the utmost finesse, I honestly believe that guided holidays will continue to be one of the best opportunities for the trade in 2018.

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