Agent Karen Allen travelled on Insight Vacations’ top achievers fam to Turkey
Getting the chance to see what escorted travel brands offer is an invaluable experience when you’re selling the tours to clients on a day-to-day basis.
Our first-hand sampling began with exactly the sort of classy treatment Insight Vacations’ customers receive, as sales manager Caroline O’Brien checked us in to our flight at Manchester airport so we could switch off and relax.
We had a fantastic flight with Turkish Airlines, and after touching down in Istanbul our tour director, Cem, greeted us at the airport. I would soon learn just how knowledgeable and passionate Cem was about his wonderful country.
Insight Vacations is positioned as a premium operator and I felt our hotel in Istanbul, the beautiful CVK Park Bosphorus, really reflected these high standards – plus it’s in an excellent location.
A Welcome Drinks Reception was the perfect way to break the ice with our fellow agents, who came from all over the world, before settling down to the first of many exquisite meals. After a poached quail egg starter and a slow-cooked lamb shoulder main, I found I still had room for the trio of tempting desserts.
Great food and fine wines characterised our trip and were favourite aspects of mine. We were able to savour an authentic taste of Turkey with a visit to a local family who lavished us with specialities and warm Turkish hospitality – this was an absolute highlight for me!
Despite some initial reservations about coach travel, I was pleasantly surprised by Insight’s vehicles, which come complete with all mod cons including Wi-Fi, toilet and business-class legroom.
We were also supplied with our own personal headsets while sightseeing, so we could wander at leisure without missing any crucial historical and cultural information from Cem and the local experts.
Travelling with strangers can sometimes be a daunting prospect and there is an inclination to stick with who you know. However, Insight had organised a seat rotation on the coach to give us the opportunity to mingle with everyone on board.
This was a really great idea and allowed us to share our experiences as we travelled through this fascinating country with its varied landscapes, diverse cities and sleepy villages – always accompanied by the faint background sound of the call to prayer, a soothing noise that you quickly get used to.
Clients, of course, would be left to mingle in a more informal manner.
During my time in Turkey I visited museums, mosques, palaces and churches, witnessed carpet and pottery makers at work, watched belly-dancing shows and got lost in underground caves.
It was a journey of contrasts, to say the least, but with fun to be had at every turn. Insight offered a five-star service and I would encourage all agents and their clients to travel with them if they get the chance. I have made memories and friends that have stayed with me far beyond touching back down in rainy Manchester.
Book it: Insight Vacations’ 11-day Wonders of Turkey escorted tour visits Istanbul, the battlefields of Gallipoli, the ancient sites of Troy, Pergamon, and Ephesus, the limestone outcrops of Pamukkale, the Cappadocia region and Ankara. Prices start from £1,495 including accommodation, transport, guiding, some meals, activities, flights and private transfers to a UK airport within 150 miles of the pickup point.
Karen Allen has been in the travel industry for 30 years and is branch manager at Aspen Travel in Manchester. She travelled to Turkey with eight other agents from the UK to join others from New Zealand, South Africa and Canada on Insight Vacations’ Top Achievers fam in Turkey. The trip visited Istanbul, Bursa, Ankara and Cappadocia.
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