Travel Best Jobs
Canadian Travel Press
Issue Date: Oct 01, 2018
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Experience elevated elegance with Luxury Gold

Keys to the VIP

ANN RUPPENSTEIN

(Photo above: Luxury Gold has a new tour in Russia launching in 2019)

During a visit to Italy, Brad Ford had an experience that truly stood out from the crowd. Rather than touring the tourist hot spot with the masses, he was able to explore every detail of The Sistine Chapel’s intricate ceiling, painted by Michelangelo, exclusively with the small group on his Luxury Gold Ultimate Italy itinerary and seven invited guests of the Pope.
From this scene in the Vatican to visiting the popular Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna after it closes to the public, these are the types of VIP experiences that are on offer for travellers in Luxury Gold’s new 2019 magazine.
“We really focus on VIP after hours visits to the most iconic sites in the destination,” says Carla Brake, VP of sales at Luxury Gold. “[Your clients] want travel that is experiential and that’s what Luxury Gold is all about. We’ve put together a range and a collection of itineraries that really have absolutely amazing experiences and some of them are things that they really can’t do on their own or as an independent traveller.”
In total there are 55 luxury escorted journeys spanning six continent across Britain, Europe, USA, Canada, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador and the Galapagos, Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Japan, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Egypt and South Africa.
With bookings already up 40% for 2019, Brake says people are definitely responding to the product.
“We expanded our portfolio to 55 different journeys so there’s quite a selection to choose from so the growth is there on what we have to offer but then the Canadian market is really gravitating to it,” she says.

New hot spots
New for 2019 is the Ultimate Ireland journey, a 12-day trip with stops in Belfast, Killarney, Dublin and overnight stays at Ashford Castle, which was added based on demand for a luxurious option
in the destination. In addition to taking in sights like the Cliffs of Moher, the group will get to meet esteemed author Trevor White and learn how to Irish dance.
Another new addition is the Remarkable Russia journey, which offers an extended option on board the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express train through Mongolia to Vladivostok.
“If you’ve ever had the interest in seeing Mongolia by train, and some of the incredible temples and things that are there, it’s a great opportunity for those who experience life in all sorts of interesting ways,” says Ford, the president of Luxury Gold. “As we say trains, planes and safari mobiles is what we’re all about. It’s absolutely on my bucket list.”
Through Luxury Gold, agents can also arrange bespoke FIT options for as few as two guests in Scotland, Ireland, South Africa and, new this year, Greece.

A one-of-a-kind collection
Another element that sets Luxury Gold apart is The Chairman’s Collection, through which travellers have rare opportunities to meet iconic local legends and celebrities such as the Duchess of Northumberland.
“The Chairman’s Collection is something that is extremely unique,” he says. “It can only be found through Luxury Gold, it can only be possible because you have someone like Stanley Tollman as your chairman. He’s been able to curate something for us that cannot be duplicated, and to me, that makes it very special. It’s something so exceptional you cannot duplicate it.”
“These are departures and special experiences where we introduce you to local celebrities in the destinations that we are travelling to,” Brake adds. “These are people that he’s met in his travels over 60 years in the business so of course you may have a cocktail with a princess in Austria.”
As for the trade, 90% of the business comes through the travel agency community.
“100% of our sales team’s efforts are dedicated to supporting our travel advisor partners,” says Ford.
And while people associate luxury with being expensive, Brake says the Luxury Gold journeys offer a lot of value.
“It’s what you are getting out of a destination that you really wouldn’t be able to do on your own,” she says. “There’s so many little pieces of the puzzle that we put together from the operational details to providing you that travelling concierge, that friend in a foreign land that helps you create a hassle-free journey.”

 

Ford awarded at global conference

Ford and Hefel Böhler

Last month at Insight Vacations & Luxury Gold’s global conference in London, Brad Ford was recognized by global CEO Ulla Hefel Böhler for his contributions in 2017/2018.
“It was a recognition of our contribution here in Canada just in revitalizing our efforts and re-engagements with our partnerships,” he says. “The satisfaction I receive from collaborating to build and motivate a world class team, developing our team development blueprint and aggressive growth strategy, and steering our course of change management are only matched by the opportunity to share the wins with our exceptional, dynamic, and truly inspiring teammates.”

Selling tips

“To me, the edge is the complete package that we put together in the Luxury Gold collection,” Brake says. “There’s very little in regards to luxury in the escorted market and I think all the different pieces we put together from the VIP experiences to the luxury hotels to the travelling concierge and to be able to provide it in a value aspect to give to the client I think makes us unique.”

Seven reasons to choose Luxury Gold

1) Exclusive VIP experiences: from meeting extraordinary people to visiting iconic sites when they’re not open to the public, guests can do what’s near impossible for an independent traveller.
2) Exceptional dining: from critically acclaimed restaurants to local, home-hosted meals, the range of dining options offers a diversity of memorable ways to dine.
3) Luxury & relaxation: stay at the finest properties with impeccable service and luxurious surroundings.
4) The Travelling Concierge: all trips come complete with a travelling concierge, who goes the extra mile to tailor the journey to guests’ individual preferences.
5) Small group journeys: a worldwide collection of trips with small groups for more personalized service.
6) The Chairman’s Collection: handpicked by the company’s chairman, Stanley Tollman, these exclusive VIP experiences offer a rare opportunity to meet iconic local legends.
7) Sustainable travel: powered by TreadRight, Luxury Gold Cares means guests travel with purpose. TTC’s TreadRight Foundation safeguards the people, planet and wildlife in the places the company visits so they can be enjoyed by generations to come.

 

 

 

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