Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Costsaver and Luxury Gold director of sales and business development says the trade is key to success
An “agent-first” philosophy will help The Travel Corporation’s guided holiday brands make the most of opportunities in the UK market in 2020.
Rachel Coffey, who looks after Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Costsaver and Luxury Gold, believes “the trade is key to our success”.
“We want to be the best team on the road and provide the tools the trade needs,” she says in the lead-up to the peak selling season, adding: “2020 will be better as the general election is out of the way – there is lots of pent-up demand.”
Coffey joined TTC in March 2019 after a stint at G Adventures, and in November recruited Vicky Billing from Royal Caribbean as head of UK trade sales to help drive growth.
They oversee a team of four sales managers, a head office trade sales executive and a team of five in the Guernsey contact centre.
About 80% of sales come via agents so Coffey is focused on showcasing the four brands via fam trips. She explains the difference in products, from Costsaver, “a more independent and flexible guided experience”, to Luxury Gold “which offers money-can’t-buy experiences”.
Coffey is eager to highlight the brands’ sustainability credentials as more consumers ask agents about responsible travel.
“It is part of the TTC DNA,” she says. “It comes from the top; for example, we’re not allowed single-use plastics in the office.
“It differentiates us from other touring brands and we want to make sure our message resonates.” To back this up, TTC has pledged to plant a tree for each client who opts for e-documents rather than paper.
There are big opportunities out there for agents – there are lots of last-minute bookings but people are also planning 2021
Trafalgar has an initiative called JoinTrafalgar, which aims to make travel a “force for good” by “helping people, preserving places and wildlife, and caring for the planet”.It features Be My Guest, the chance to dine with locals and experience destinations’ culture first-hand.
Coffey reports an increasing demand for personalisation of trips, which TTC caters for via its My Travel Portal platform.
“Agents can input preferences – the information goes to the travel directors who can make the experience more personal,” she says.
“For example, on battlefield tours, they can find the grave of a relative.”
Upcoming fam trips include Paris, which will showcase all four brands. It is likely to include a walking tour of the Latin Quarter with a Costsaver Local Specialist, a Trafalgar cookery class, a Luxury Gold wine tasting and an Insight Vacations food tour. Places will be won through a peaks booking incentive. There is also a Costsaver Top Achievers trip – called Crew – for the top-four performing agents, who will visit Costa Rica in May.
Also planned are mini-fams in the UK to give agents a flavour of what the brands offer overseas. Last year, agents visited a vineyard near Cardiff and sampled Welsh cuisine.
Trafalgar and Insight Vacations are both members of the Association of Touring & Adventure Suppliers (Atas), meaning there are plenty of opportunities to educate agents about guided holidays and sustainability.
“With Atas, we can explain the market and differences between operators,” says Coffey.
“Agents need to ask the right questions to get them on the right sort of tour. Our new tours tap into trends, offering the chance to get off the beaten track in places such as Georgia and Armenia, or explore our new destination Colombia.
“There are big opportunities out there for agents. There are lots of last‑minute bookings [for 2020] but people are also planning 2021.”
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