Ride the demand for repeat visits by recommending tasty alternatives, says Paul Blaney
Once bitten, forever smitten – that’s how most visitors feel after their first American experience. Some British travellers fall for Florida, others for the Big Apple, but how do you feed the appetite of second-time clients who are keen to visit somewhere new?
No other country has such a range of must-see cities, attractions, national parks and regions that appeal to clients of all kinds and ages. So they’ve seen New York, New England or Orlando? No problem. Here are some alternative US adventures for clients keen to head back to the land of the free.
IF THEY LOVED NEW YORK CITY Try...
What the city of brotherly love lacks in size compared with Manhattan it makes up in heritage and sheer value for money. For a start it offers tax-free shopping at its malls and boutiques, so designer apparel is that much cheaper than in NYC.
Downtown accommodation is great value, too, and Philly has a wide variety of neighbourhoods, ranging from Center City, where clients will find the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall, to South Philly with its cheesesteaks and Italian market, and the more gentrified charms of Chestnut Hill.
As well as for shopping and nightlife, the city scores top marks for art, with world-class museums on the Parkway plus vibrant street murals and mosaics. Movie-loving clients may like to trot up the stone steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, in the footsteps of Rocky.
And speaking of sports, Philly is also a top place to take in some great American pursuits. The city’s NFL, baseball, ice hockey and basketball arenas are all within easy access of Center City and local fans are notably passionate. Go Eagles, or Phillies, Penguins, Flyers or Sixers, depending on the time of year!
Or try: Boston is another city that’s big on nightlife, heritage (walk the Freedom Trail), sports and shopping.
Sample Products: Hayes & Jarvis offers three nights at the Crowne Plaza, Philadelphia, at the end of May for £799 per person. The package includes room-only accommodation plus return BA flights from Heathrow.
0871 200 2211
IF THEY LOVED ORLANDO, Try...
For clients with young families in tow, southern California is an ideal alternative to Florida’s heartland.
For starters, it’s decidedly child-friendly – the hotels are especially welcoming to younger visitors – plus you’ve got that distinctive, laid-back Californian vibe. Think sun-drenched Pacific beaches, perfect for surfing USA. There’s also wicked shopping, outdoor activities such as fishing or cycling along the boardwalk, and, of course, Disneyland.
San Diego is very much a destination in its own right. The city has a range of museums and attractions for young and old, including SeaWorld and the renowned San Diego Zoo. Whether clients are in the mood for outdoor pursuits, arts and culture, designer shopping bargains, cool dining options – or a super-sized combination of all those ingredients – San Diego has the lot. Plus, the southern California weather is nigh-on perfect all year.
Or try: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is one of America’s favorite seaside towns, combining Atlantic beaches with boardwalk diversions for young and old.
Sample product: Kuoni offers seven nights in Santa Monica and five nights in San Diego (Loews Coronado Bay) from £6,360 per family based on two adults and two children. The price, which includes 13 days’ car hire, is valid for May 2012.
IF THEY LOVED LAS VEGAS, Try...
For clients in search of action, celebrities, bright lights and big cities, they don’t come any more glamorous than Los Angeles – just ask the Beckhams! With its style and sophistication, and some eye-popping mansions, Beverly Hills is home to the rich and famous.
Rodeo Drive, lined with high-fashion boutiques and pristine sidewalks, is the place to shop (or at least window-shop) in LA. Then there’s the Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame, and Universal Studios to visit – its CityWalk combines restaurants, shopping, live entertainment, and even an indoor sky-diving centre.
Direct beach-loving clients to Newport Beach, and surfers to Huntington Beach. But for accommodation recommend Santa Monica, LA’s original beach resort. Based here, clients can combine relaxation, beach-bumming and spa treatments, with forays to discover LA life.
Or try: Chicago may be chilly in winter, but it remains a serious party town year-round.
Sample product: Kuoni has 14 nights’ room-only at the beachside Loews Santa Monica, Los Angeles, in May from £6,966 based on two adults and two children under 12 sharing. The price includes return flights from Heathrow and car hire.
IF THEY LOVED NEW ENGLAND, Try...
A mid-Atlantic fly-drive
Clients who loved the fall foliage, tranquil backroads and heritage inns of Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine will find just as much to like farther south, in the states in and around Washington DC.
The US capital itself has several days’ worth of attractions – not just monuments, museums and galleries, but eating, music (especially jazz), boutique shopping, and nightlife. Georgetown is a historical district that’s chock-a-block with boutiques and souvenir opportunities.
Once on the road, clients can take a southern sweep through Virginia, with its Civil War sites and Shenandoah National Park (recommend the Skyline Drive), before turning north towards Baltimore – Edgar Allan Poe’s town – and the Amish country of Pennsylvania. Wherever they go, they can be assured of history, one-of-a-kind accommodation and eateries, open roads, and good old-fashioned southern hospitality.
Or try: For laid-back, jazz and blues-style unwinding, plus some top Creole eating, it’s hard to beat a drive around Louisiana, Mississippi and the Delta.
Sample product: Virgin Holidays offers The Virginian, a 14-night fly-drive itinerary that takes in Washington DC, colonial Williamsburg, Richmond, Charlottesville (for Thomas Jefferson’s house at Monticello) and Baltimore. The price for travel in June, including flights, car hire and accommodation, is £1,899.
0844 225 1235
IF THEY LOVED CALIFORNIA, Try...
A Pacific Northwest fly-drive
The Pacific Northwest is one of America’s less well-kept secrets. But that’s no problem at all since the outdoors there is great enough to handle a whole lot of visitors.
In terms of cities, the highlights are the stunning, waterside Seattle and hip, alternative Portland. Both cities offer great dining, microbreweries and live music, as well as green spaces, quirky boutiques and art galleries.
It’s outside the cities, however, that things get truly spectacular. The Olympic Peninsula, a short drive or ferry hop from Seattle, combines rainforest, snowy mountains and Pacific beaches. It also formed the setting for the Twilight series.
Heading east from Seattle or Portland, there’s the spectacular Columbia River Gorge, the Cascade mountains, and the quieter charms (and wineries) of eastern Washington and Oregon. A fly-drive around the Northwest offers an ideal blend of city sophistication, natural serenity and all-round adventure.
Or try: Another great fly-drive might start in Vegas and take in the Grand Canyon before heading north to see Utah’s national parks.
Sample product: Funway Holidays has four nights in Seattle and three in Portland this September for £1,299 per person. The price includes return BA flights to Seattle, car hire and accommodation.
0844 557 0626
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