Group travel is in demand and Trafalgar, Costsaver have a solution
Trafalgar and Costsaver Canada’s VP Sales, Anita Emilio and Groups Manager, Elizabeth Raposo team up this week to talk to Canadian Travel Press’ readers about how group travel can help them rebuild their businesses – fast and profitably.
Maybe you could start by talking a bit about how travel has been changed by the global pandemic, in terms of the kinds of things that you’re hearing from travel agents about whether their clients are interested in travelling and, if they are, what kinds of trips they are looking for?
Emilio: We are hearing from Canadian travel agents that their clients are yearning to start exploring the world again. Domestic travel is currently on the minds of our guests and exploring our beautiful country.
However, we are observing a large appetite for to travel to Europe and Britain next year including top destinations such as Ireland and Italy. The months of May through September of 2021, in particular, are in high demand.
This past summer, Trafalgar conducted a study and results showed that 56% of the Trafalgar community planned to travel to Europe and Britain in 2021.
Further, 14% said they were eager to start exploring North America and 9% mentioned travelling to Australia was a priority.
These results are exactly in line with the demand that travel agents are seeing from their Canadian clients too.
Following up on that, what kinds of programs do Trafalgar and Costsaver Canada have that respond to what agents are telling you? And, why would those programs suit the needs of pandemic travellers?
Raposo: Because of the heightened demand for groups, we have added private groups tours and small group options in addition to our regular scheduled and brochure groups.
Our scheduled groups for Trafalgar’s Enchanting Canadian Maritimes, Scenic Wonders of Newfoundland, Labrador & Ile Saint Pierre and many of our trips in Ireland and Scotland are trending and we are seeing an uptake specifically on custom domestic itineraries as well.
Private group or ‘travel bubbles’ seem to be a big thing these days, can you talk about this trend and whether Trafalgar and Costsaver are targeting this market segment?
Emilio: Trafalgar and Costsaver’s recently launched a new private group tour offering available across select itineraries across Europe and Britain and North America for 2021 and 2022.
Travel agents with interested clients (and their friends and family) can select from the brand’s carefully crafted itineraries and have peace of mind knowing that every detail of their trip will be taken care all in the comfort of their own ‘travel bubble.’ These private group offerings provide the same remarkable experience as a regular departure.
However, clients will have their own private tour, and coach as well as a dedicated Travel Director and Driver exclusive to the group.
Trafalgar and Costsaver’s private group tours are available for an additional charge as outlined below:
1. From 12 to 15 clients: The smallest private group travel option. Clients will have a 30% surcharge on the original
2. From 16 to 19 clients: The middle private group tour option. Clients will have an additional 20% surcharge on the original tour price.
3. From 20 to 25 clients: The largest private tour option. Clients will have an additional 10% surcharge on the original tour price.
4. For 26 clients or more: No additional surcharge and guests will pay the original tour price for their exclusive departure.
We are also seeing interest in our special interest groups and annual group trips too. Many of our booked groups who were not able to travel in 2020 have keenly rebooked for 2021 and 2022.
Again, following up, Trafalgar and Costsaver have a dedicated Groups Department here in Canada, maybe you could talk about why travel agents should focus on the private group’s trips for 2021/2022 for their clients?
Raposo: Selling groups is the fastest and easiest way for Canadian travel agents to rebuild their business, providing higher revenue, higher commissions, efficiency of time, great exposure for agents or agencies, guaranteed pricing and further, these groups create exclusivity. They create repeat business and loyal clients too.
I’m wondering if you can offer any tips and/or tricks for Canadian travel agents on ‘how to’ close group booking sales for 2021/2022? And could you also talk about what Trafalgar and Costsaver’s dedicated Groups Department can offer travel agents. – Elizabeth Raposo, Groups Manager, Trafalgar and Costsaver Canada.
Raposo: Trafalgar and Costsaver’s dedicated groups department and sales team are with travel agents every step of the way and eager to support agents in kick-starting their business and providing their clients the opportunity to see world again.
Also, Canadian travel agents can have peace of mind with Trafalgar and Costsaver’s flexible and risk-free booking policies.
With our great No Risk $99 CAD Deposit offer valid until December 17th, 2020 and our flexible change options (if clients wish to cancel within 30 days of booking, a full refund will be applied), travel agents’ clients can be confident when making their booking.
Also, when clients book their own custom, exclusive scheduled or private group, they are only travelling with Canadians.
Enhanced safety and hygiene protocols either have been or are being put in place by virtually everyone in the travel industry. Can you talk about some of the enhanced hygiene and well-being measures that your company has implemented?
Raposo: At Trafalgar and Costsaver, the well-being of our guests is always our highest priority. To help loyal Canadian travel agents restart their businesses, the brands have introduced their three-step COVID-19 travel protocols to ensure enhanced well-being, hygiene and distancing guidelines implemented in collaboration with The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
A few examples of the approach to give clients peace of mind when travelling again include:
Step 1: Always on Support
A dedicated Well-being Director
(an industry innovation for 2021 travel) will be added on our trips of 20 or more guests (excluding Australia and New Zealand trips).
Our new Well-being Director video can be found here.
Expertly Trained Travel Director
Global around-the-clock support team
Step 2: Distancing and Hygiene Protocols
Pre-Trip Health Declaration
Supplier Quality Assurance
Step 3: 24/7 Incident Report
Always up to date
Incident response protocol
Call it a trick question. Is there something that I haven’t asked you that you think I should have asked you? If there is, what’s the question? And, more to the point, what’s the answer?
Emilio: After spending most of the year at home and away from friends and family it is easy to see why Ireland and Italy have been among the top bucket list destinations for clients to welcome travel again in 2021.
We’ve all missed celebrating birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and other milestones with our loved ones and we’re all ready to make up for these precious moments.
Trafalgar and Costsaver’s private group offering offer an even more intimate experience for clients to connect with the travel destination of their choice.
A favourite and exclusive Trafalgar ‘Be My Guest’ experience we can’t wait for clients’ to take part in with their ‘travel bubble’ is visiting the 12th-century Castle of Trebbio just outside of Florence.
On the 7-day Italian Holiday journey, clients will enjoy a traditional Tuscan dinner, a private exploration of the castle dungeons and an intimate olive oil and wine tasting with The Landi family.
The property is set with a garden of oak trees and offers the most spectacular background and scenic views after months of being in lockdown in our homes.
Last question. What’s Trafalgar and Costsaver’s message to the industry? Is there a reason to be optimistic? If there is, what is it?
Emilio: Trafalgar and Costsaver’s sales team is fully committed to working with our travel agents and trade partners to restart their travel businesses and connect clients to the world of travel again in 2021 and beyond.
As we support each other during this recovery period, we are #StrongerTogether and our dedicated teams are available to work with agents to adapt to our new ways with virtual presentations, video calls, phone calls and much more.
Our sales team across the country is here to support and accommodate our trade partners and agents in any way and we look forward to welcoming the return of travel with them.