Keeping up with Contiki


During his very first of 10 Contiki Holidays trips to date as the company’s CEO, Casper Urhammer met a young traveller who had saved for four years working at a Subway sandwich shop to buy a camera and a Contiki tour, reports Ann Ruppenstein in this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press.

“She was the first one in her family to ever get a passport and leave America,” he says. “That was really humbling to me and reminded me how bloody important it is that we always give these guys the best experience they could possibly get.”

Coming from outside of the industry, Urhammer, an avid motorcyclist and former adrenaline junkie with over 1,000 skydives to his name, racked up 225 days of travel in his first year on the job.

“I think that qualifies for about four to five times around the globe, and I did a lot of short-haul travel as well. It has of course taught me everything I need to know about the business,” he says. “I had things to learn to fully understand the intricacies of the trade and just how the travel industry works… Now I understand the business, I understand the trade and I understand the travel industry so we’re very much building for the future.”

Moving forward, he says his three main priorities are the continued focus on operations, marketing and technology. In the second quarter Contiki will launch a new website, which will include user generated content from real vacationers.

“Our travellers take a lot of photos, they share them on social media, and we will aggregate some of that content to our website so you will get a feel for what it really is like being on that specific trip you are looking at,” he says. “The whole navigation of the website is very innovative. It’ll be completely ground-breaking for how you display travel online.”

This month the youth travel brand launched the Freedom Guarantee, which gives travellers the flexibility to change their trip date or tour with zero change fees within 45 days of departure or to transfer deposits as credit for another Contiki tour through the FlexDeposit policy.

“FlexDeposit is basically about making sure that if you put a deposit down for a trip, and for whatever reason don’t get to use it, it doesn’t expire. If you even choose to cancel it… the deposit is not lost,” he says. “Those two elements are going to help the agents feel confident selling the product and instill confidence in the ones that book the trips, that it’s safe to put their money down.”

For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press by clicking here.