Sustainability, Luxury, Bleisure on the list
TDC tracks the trends
(Photo above: Fecteau)
With about 400 agencies across Canada, it should surprise no one that Transat Distribution Canada is constantly monitoring both travel-specific and general trends that may (or may not) impact how it needs to manage its retail travel business going forward.
Earlier this fall, during its Mission Possible conferences, TDC’s general manger, Louise Fecteau pointed to three key global trends that include the increase in disposable incomes; the ease of reaching consumers, particularly through social media; and the fact that the shopping experience is at the heart of the decision-making process.
As for tourism-specific trends, Fecteau cited sustainable tourism, bleisure tourism and luxury travel as the key trends shaping the retail travel market today.
“Responsibility is really important” to today’s travellers, and Transat recognized that early on and has been a leader in the area of sustainability in both Canada and around the world for many years. (https://www.transat.com/en-CA/corporate-responsibility/our-ambition )
BUSINESS OR BLEISURE
In terms of travel trends that seem to be driving the business these days, Fecteau pointed to Bleisure Travel as a significant one, observing that: “More and more people travelling for business are extending their stays at the destination for leisure purposes.”
The third is luxury travel, with TDC’s general manager telling Canadian Travel Press that: “It’s the way to travel now. Everybody wants to have something better, and they expect something luxurious. They need a specific experience and even more so when we talk about luxury.”
In many ways, the rapid rise of luxury travel as a revenue source for retail agencies mirrors the move toward cruise sales in the mid- to late-1990s when airlines were cutting agencies commissions and agencies needed to find new revenue sources.
TDC’s vice-president marketing & industry relations, Susan Bowman and Fecteau both agreed with this observation, before Bowman pointed out that: “Luxury means different things to different people. We surveyed our network about their customers, luxury travel expectations, and, as you can imagine, we got a wide range of views. What could be luxury to you or to me could be very different for the next person. So the biggest thing about creating the WOW in this category is being able to qualify what that luxury experience is to each individual.
In fact, TDC has added luxury travel to its training portfolio, so that TDC’s travel professionals aren’t afraid to sell high value products.
Bowman relates the story of one consultant who graduated from a TDC Sales Academy and afterwards told her that they’d sold a luxury holiday worth over $50,000 to their customer “and they didn’t blink” at the cost. Bowman pointed out that qualifying a customer’s needs and giving them what they want is not always measured by the final price. That couple was looking for a luxury travel experience, and you provided it.
In this respect, Bowman points out that there are a lot of well-travelled Boomers reaching the age to collapse their RRSPs and many of them want to travel and to travel well.
The challenge, Bowman said is to define what that means for them: “For some, it could be camping in the Ozarks, and for others, it’s high-end luxury products and experiences. You have to be able to discern it and then be able to produce the experience – not just a hotel reservation, but the whole experience that goes with that. That’s the key.”