Advice from Peter Traynor, UK general manager of Collette Worldwide Holidays
There’s gold in the ‘silver’ traveller. The baby-boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) are reaching maturity, and the over-60s population will grow from 15 million to 21 million in the next 10 years.
This age group could be a rich source of income for agents who take this market seriously.
This generation matured as the holiday industry matured, so they know exactly what to expect. They want the best – at this stage in their lives they want to see the parts of the world they have not yet explored, and want to see it in style while they still can. Touring is ideal for this customer, and the sector is evolving to match demand – just look at the range of touring adverts in the newspapers every weekend.
So how can agents ensure they get their share of this growing market?
Know your product
Touring has changed dramatically in the last few years, adjusting to the demands of the ‘new old’ traveller. Most touring operators now offer well-paced itineraries, a variety of transport choices, a range of dining options and plenty of free time on their tours.
The days of hours on a coach and a new country every day are long gone. Two and three-night stays are common, as well as menu options and even restaurant choices on many tours.
Know your customer
What exactly are they looking for? A well-planned touring itinerary can tick many boxes. Do your clients have a special interest or hobby? Tours are available for a variety of interests, from gardening and battlefields to cooking classes and wine‑tasting.
Even better, travelling with people with shared interests greatly enhances the experience.
Ensure repeat business
Tours generate customer loyalty and repeat business, and as customers work through their bucket list of destinations they will come back for more.
Earn more commission
With commission levels from airlines and cruise lines only going in one direction, touring is well worth focusing on. The more inclusive the tour is, the higher your revenue. Remember, you get paid commission on included sightseeing and meals.
Most touring operators also cater for extended stays and can be flexible at the start or end of the tour, if your customer wants to spend longer in a gateway city or elsewhere.
Ask the experts for help
Most touring operators (especially those that are members of Best, the association committed to promoting touring to the trade) offer marketing and promotional support to interested agents, from mailing campaigns and client evenings to window displays, fam trips and incentives.
In these days of Atol-compliance laws, one call can book it all – why get involved in intricate and complicated tailor-made itineraries when a touring operator has done the hard work for you?
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