Student and youth market escorted tours operator TruTravels is aiming to double its business with the trade in the next year by working with a broader range of agents.
The southeast Asia specialist, founded four years ago, works closely with STA Travel but is keen to sell its small-group tours through a wider network.
Co-founder Mark Pope said he sees an opportunity to sell to the children of clients of traditional travel agencies, who are planning their first solo backpacking trips.
The operator’s tours are aimed at 18 to 35-year-olds and focus heavily on safety and security.
“We are doing a big push this year on working with the trade,” Pope said. “We are trying to increase our brand profile, and branch out to work with more agents.” He added: “We focus on the safety and support element of travelling solo; a lot of parents want to find something for their son or daughter that they feel comfortable with.”
TruTravels has a closed portal for agents with facts about the trips and a support chat service to answer questions.
The operator features Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, and plans to add Vietnam in the next few weeks. It offers introductory tours as well as longer itineraries. It offers a helpline for before, during and after tours for travellers and their families, as well as an app for clients to introduce themselves to others on their tour before they leave.
Tours are led by English-speaking local guides, and group sizes are no more than 20 people. Accommodation is in guesthouses and hotels, usually based on twin-share rooms, with activities offered as part of the tour.
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