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New tour operator brochures for 2020

Sweep aside last year’s brochures because there’s a host of new page turners in town. Charlotte Flach rounds up exciting new products from tour operators for 2020

TRFBLI
Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine
Sharelines

New tour operator brochures for 2020

APT: Angela Waite, head of commercial UK


What’s new for 2020?
Our brand new and first ever Kimberley brochure for the UK market. New itineraries for 2020 include our 10-day Kimberley Coast Cruise, a small ship expedition cruise travelling from Broome to Kununarra. We also have plenty of new offerings in Asia 2020-21 season. Sailing exclusively for APT we’re introducing a brand new ship for our Luxury Mekong cruises, The AmaMekong. On the touring side our itineraries have several new Signature Experiences including the chance to meet a retired sumo wrestler in Japan and the pandas in Chengdu, China.

What sets the offering apart?
All our products in the Kimberley are exclusive to APT, we have been operating in the region for more than 40 years and our expertise and knowledge of the region is what sets us apart. We have expert driver-guides on land and an expedition team on the cruise, who know the region, local community and hidden gems this vast land has to offer. But, the jewel in this crown are our three unique Luxury Wilderness Lodges – located in Bell Gorge, Bungle Bungle and Mitchell Falls they offer luxury while staying true to the local environment.

What’s your personal favourite from the programme?
For me it’s the Kimberly Complete Land Tour, which I’ve been fortunate enough to experience. This one hits all the iconic spots a first time visitor to the region would want to cover, and it really does leave you feeling in awe of this vast land, which is almost double the size of the UK!

What’s your one to watch for 2020?
My one to watch would be the Spirit of Sri Lanka, while the country has faced challenges in the past year the destination is still hugely popular and by travelling on an APT tour, guests have the peace of mind knowing they will always be taken care of.

 

Caribtours: Jenny Peart, head of product


What’s new for 2020?
We have a new brochure, Our Boutique Collection, and many new destinations and hotels. New destinations include Turkey, with six great hotels in Bodrum and Fethiye, and new resorts in Greece in Skiathos, Kos and Santorini. Our Boutique Collection also includes hotels in Tulum, Mexico – an area we all love and really recommend. Be Tulum and La Zebra are two new additions for us and we’re really excited about them.

Why have you introduced these new products?
As we marked our 40th year in luxury travel last year, we reflected on what’s most important to our regular clients, and thoughtful service and attention to detail came out on top. Bearing this in mind, we created this collection of small and stylish boutique hotels.

What’s new for agents?
In conjunction with the launch of our beautiful new collections, Caribtours will be hosting a number of events for our travel agent partners across the UK and Ireland, and would love for you to join us and hear our latest news.

What destination is your predicted bestseller for 2020?
Barbados will be our most popular overall; it’s a favourite with our clients and has an enduring appeal. We think Turkey will be really popular and expect Ikos Resorts to remain a go-to option for families looking for All-Inclusive breaks in Europe, including Ikos Andalusia, their newest opening in Spain, for the summer of 2020.

 

Is there an accommodation highlight?
Jade Mountain’s spectacular open-walled suites reveal striking views of the Caribbean Sea; Be Tulum in Mexico’s décor combines local materials with designer furniture and looks incredible with its beach aesthetic and jungle surrounds; and Joali in the Maldives is full of sculpture and artworks, and each villa has its own private infinity pool.

 

Classic Collection: Gary Boyer, head of purchasing


What’s new for 2020?
Boutique river cruising in France, Austria, Germany, Holland, Italy and Hungary. New city breaks to Berlin, Budapest, Prague, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, and new luxury train tours in southern Spain onboard the Al Andalus. In Morocco, we’ve added Tangier and Fez, and our long-haul programme features Mexico for the first time.

 

Why have you introduced these new products?
We are expanding on existing programmes, which have proved particularly popular in 2019: city breaks and Morocco. Adding more experience focussed holidays, which are popular with our customers: train travel and boutique river cruising. Adding more long-haul sunshine, to Mexico which has a good standard of hotels and which is popular on the UK market and served by good flight routes from the UK.

 

What sets the offering apart?
Personalisation: we can be flexible in offering any duration with any airline from any airport that serves the destination. Fly out with one airline and back with another to maximise time in destinations. Add stays to the start or end, or both, of river cruises and train travel. Great service for twin and multi centre holidays which are increasingly popular. Concierge service to pre-book experiences and excursions.

 

What’s new for agents?
We continue to put agents at the heart of everything we do with marketing assistance, rewards, good old-fashioned service and knowledgeable reservations team. We offer a level playing field with prices and no online discounting. We’ll try to be as competitive as possible to help the agent win, and retain, the customer.

 

Any selling tips?
Agents should suggest pre-bookable add-ons, twin centres, multi centres – anything to add complication which makes it more difficult for a customer to self-package. It also gives agents the opportunity to demonstrate their skill, value, worth and service, and results in a higher value booking with increased commission.

Exodus: Dan Jackson, trade sales manager


What’s new for 2020?
We have a new Chernobyl Weekend trip as it has seen a popularity spike since the Chernobyl TV adaptation. We’ve included a visit to the power plant itself, reactor hall and nuclear control room which most other operators don’t offer. There is also the Jordan & Israel Discovery trip which includes Petra, Wadi Rum, plus two days to explore Jerusalem, time in Bethlehem and a night in Tel Aviv at the end. Additional new tours also include Namibia & Botswana: Dunes & Delta which combines two of Africa’s key destinations; Japan Highlights, a nine-day trip covering the key highlights of Japan; and Essential China, a nine-day trip to see Beijing, Terracotta Warriors, Chengdu and finishing in Shanghai.

 

Is there an accommodation highlight?
There are several yurts/gers in Mongolia, a hotel with an onsen (traditional Japanese spa) in Japan, riads in Morocco, camping in Wadi Rum Jordan.

 

What’s new for agents?
A bigger, better version of the Trade Only ‘Exodus Collection’ brochure launching end of September – twice the size of last year’s first edition, with no Exodus website or CTA every message in the brochure directs the client to speak to their local travel agent. It will include all our Discovery and Wildlife trips, a selection of favourite walking and cycling trips plus some of our best-selling family trips too. We are expanding our tailor made department with a new Manager, with a focus on providing outstanding quality and service to our core destinations

 

Any selling tips?
Highlight the social aspect of small group touring – travelling with like-minded people in very small groups, meeting new people and making lifelong friends. Emphasise that there is a range of interesting and varied accommodation available such as Ryokans in Japan and eco-lodges in the Amazon.

Ffestiniog Travel: Maria Cook, general manager

What's new for 2020?

New for Europe we have an eight-day Black Forest Discovery tour departing 3 September 2020; an 11-day Kyrgyzstan: Mountains, Lakes and Nomads tour departing 21 July 2020 and Armenia: a Cradle of Civilisation – a 10-day tour departing 8 September 2020, among others. Outside of Europe, we have a Taiwan Rail Adventure – a 16-day tour departing 14 February 2020 and Jordan: Steam, Petra & the Dead Sea – a nine-day tour departing 2 November 2020.

 

Why have you introduced these new products?

Ffestiniog Travel is always striving to introduce tours to exciting new destinations that are ‘off the beaten track’. We also have a high percentage of repeat customers and must therefore introduce tours to new destinations to appeal to regulars.

 

What do agents need to book early to secure the best rates and availability?

Our collection of Small & Traditional Tours is very popular, due to the destinations offered and guaranteed small group sizes. Places are limited, therefore, and must be booked early.

 

What are your fastest-growing destinations?

Uzbekistan and Japan. Our clients are drawn to the culture and history of both destinations and appreciate the reassurance of exploring them in an escorted group.

What's your personal favourite from the programme?

Taiwan – it is our first-ever visit to this country, and we have put together an itinerary that balances rail with cultural sites. We are also including private steam train charters on the century old Alishan Forest Railway, the highest narrow gauge mountain railway in Asia.

 

Is there an accommodation highlight?

The Palacio de Sal Hotel featured in our Peru & Bolivia tour. It is located on the banks of the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat and is the first in its class built entirely of salt!

Fred Holidays: Simon Chambers, operations manager

What's new for 2020?
We have three new brochures: Fred Holidays Tailor-made Winter Holidays brochure; a Collette Worldwide Escorted Touring 2020-2021 brochure and a Fred Holidays Tailor-made Holidays brochure. We have increased our product features to include more destinations and ‘Something Extra’ on each page to help enhance the customer experience. In addition to this, Collette will remain in the UK via UK GSA Fred Holidays and a dedicated sales team to focus on our trade partners.

 

Why have you introduced these new products?
By adding even more to our brochures we can showcase the depth of tailor-made travel on offer through Fred Holidays and with the inclusion of Collette Worldwide Touring brochure, we can offer guests a full worldwide travel experience.

 

What sets the offering apart?
The tailor-made nature of our holidays allows customers to amend their stay with extra nights or even multi-stop holidays in addition to the escorted touring programme giving the option for customers to travel their way.

 

What’s new for agents?
We are expanding our field sales team giving agents even more access to request marketing material, promotional opportunities and more.

 

What are your fastest-growing destinations?
Over the past 18 months, the fastest growing escorted touring destinations include Japan, Costa Rica and Israel. We have seen growth in multi-stop stays throughout Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Austria and Italy.

 

What destination is your predicted bestseller for 2020?
A firm favourite for escorted touring is America, South Africa and New Zealand. For short-haul Germany continues to be popular due to its destination diversity.

What's your one to watch for 2020?
Oberammergau Passion Play – tickets are selling fast however there is still availability and this play is only performed every 10 years.

Great Rail Journeys & Rail Discoveries: Lindsay Dixon, head of trade sales

What's new for 2020?
For the first-time ever, all of our escorted rail holidays will now feature in one brochure; encompassing holidays from both Great Rail Journeys and Rail Discoveries. Great Rail Journeys is focusing on expanding its exclusive Small Groups tours for 2020, a collection of holidays offering a maximum group size of 20 travellers. Another main focus for our European 2020 collection is the development of experiential excursions our customers can enjoy. Two key focuses for 2020 for Rail Discoveries include the expansion of our European Fly: Rail collection and new destinations in the UK.

Why have you introduced these new products?
For 2020, we really wanted to present our best European collection yet, introducing our customers to new destinations and new experiences. Our Destination Specialists undertook extensive research with our customers and Tour Managers to understand the main areas we could develop to ensure this 2020 programme enables us to differentiate our holidays from others in the market.

What destination is your predicted bestseller for 2020?
Italy. From pizza making and mozzarella tasting, wine tasting, sampling gelato in Rome’s oldest gelateria, and unlocking the Vatican – 2020 is the year to travel to Italy.

What's your personal favourite from the programme?
For Great Rail Journeys, our Hidden Italy & the Keys to the Vatican is our favourite. This tour enables our customers to meet the 'clavigero', the key keeper granted the privilege of opening the Vatican each day. Our groups will be granted private access to the Sistine Chapel, before enjoying breakfast in the Courtyard of the Pinecone. For Rail Discoveries, our favourite is ‘The Dordogne and Carcassonne tour. The tour includes a cruise in a traditional flat-bottomed gabare boat along the Dordogne, a guided tour of beautiful Carcassonne, a journey on board the Truffadou Steam Train, and a wine tasting in Limoux.

HF Holidays: Steven Purdham, Europe and worldwide product manager

What's new for 2020?

There are nine new trips which all allow guests to indulge in active enjoyment of the great outdoors. Including Romania, Italy (Chianti), Spain (Gran Canaria), Corsica, American Rockies, Chile & Easter Island, Thailand and Croatia.

 

Why have you introduced these new products?

In line with the ongoing trend for enjoying authentic travel experiences, the brand-new brochure features holidays that are suitable for active travellers who like to meet new people and really get under the skin of the destinations they are visiting. The holidays feature extraordinary walks and unusual places of interest.

 

What sets the offering apart?

The experience; our itineraries have been designed to really immerse the traveller with the very best the destination has to offer, as well as ensuring we avoid crowds, we use local guides with great access to local features who share traditions and heritage from the area.

 

Is there an accommodation highlight?

Namib Dune Star Camp in Namibia, which consists of wooden chalets, with the dining room and bar in a central chalet with far-reaching views. Wheel beds can be pushed out onto balconies for a night under the glittering sky. Or there’s Dana Nature Reserve where guests can stay in the inspirational Feynan Ecolodge.

 

What's your one to watch for 2020?

Our Romania Guided Walking holiday is a new destination for 2020 and already proving popular. The itinerary includes sightseeing with an expert guide in Bucharest including the Palace of Parliament. There’s also our Puglia Cooking & Walking tour, which combines cooking traditional Italian food and sightseeing in an interesting and less-visited part of Italy. Highlights include learning to make authentic local dishes at a cookery school, exploring an underground world of tunnels, cellars and granaries in Gravina and exploring Matera to learn of its fascinating history and see its cave-dwelling district.

 

Inntravel: Alison Garcia Hall, head of product

What’s new?
Inntravel’s Walking Autumn, Winter & Spring 2019/20 brochure features two new tours: Baroque Riches of Sicily which is a journey by rail between four of the most remarkable cities that capture the flowering of Sicilian Baroque, and New Year Break in Tenerife, which offers a New Year to remember at The Hotel Spa Villalba.

What sets the offering apart?
Inntravel’s in-depth trip pack contains the best self-guided walking routes in each area, and/or walking tours for each city. It also provides a wealth of lovingly assembled background information on the history, culture and sightseeing possibilities – both on and off the beaten track.

What’s your personal favourite from the programme?
Casas Canarias on La Isla Bonita: clients can explore the fabulously diverse Canary Island of La Palma from their own authentic cottage with the use of an included hire car. Choose from an incredible array of walking possibilities, soaking up the unique atmosphere of this little-known island, untouched by mass tourism.

Is there an accommodation highlight?
The Hotel Spa Villalba, which is the location for our new Tenerife New Year Break, and which also features on our re-shaped Valleys, Vines & Volcanoes walking holiday. It provides elegant and stylish accommodation right on the edge of the pine forest, just a ten-minute walk above the pretty village of Vilaflor. There are enviable spa facilities, and a swimming pool with a retractable glass roof, which extends out beneath the pine tree canopy. The excellent Vendimia Restaurant, serving high-quality meals accompanied by the Reveron family's own wine, is the icing on the cake.

Any selling tips?
Remember that Inntravel’s self-guided holidays are booked individually, so itineraries are highly flexible: add extra nights, fly from an airport near you, or add a city stay for more variety.

Kuoni: Jennie Moore, product and purchasing manager for the Far East

What's new for 2020?
Our updated Far East brochure features fourteen new hotels, one of which is completely exclusive to Kuoni customers in Bali and six new pages of multi-centre holidays designed to give customers ideas of how they can combine different destinations.

 

What sets the offering apart?
We have a number of hotels that are exclusive to us as a tour operator in the UK that are clearly labelled in the brochure and online for the Far East. These are good for customers who are looking for something different, whether its intimacy, romance of indulgence, but all offer really good value. For example, the Viceroy Bali which is a family run, boutique hotel built into the jungle ravine with breathtaking views – it is perfect for couples and honeymooners.

 

What’s new for agents?
Alongside the launch Kuoni is investing in travel agents expertise and in October, Kuoni’s trade sales team will be running a dedicated trip for partner stores to Thailand, visiting Bangkok and seeing new product in Koh Samui. They will also be giving training to agents throughout the year with in-store visits.

 

Any selling tips for agents?
Our new six pages of multi-centre holiday suggestions help give agents an idea of the different combinations that we can organise from pairing up impressive capitals or adding time on the beach after sightseeing. The Jewel at Singapore’s Changi Airport is a great place to explore and stay for customers who have a long stopover period.

Any accommodation highlights?
Our new luxury exclusive property in Bali, The Royal Santrian, Luxury Beach Villas with a secluded beachside location on Bali’s southern shores of Tanjung Benoa. Set to be exclusive to Kuoni UK in April 2020, there are just 20 villas, all with private pools, 24-hour butler service, activities such as early morning yoga on the beach and a royal spa.

Latin Routes: Valeria Garibotti, product manager for Latin America

What’s new for 2020?
This year we have itineraries focusing on different interests – gastronomy, honeymoon and self-drive. Our clients are constantly asking for more experiential led itineraries. Gastronomy and self-drive are themes that resonate well with our target audience and with the UK market

What sets the offering apart?
These new programs offer the perfect combination of sightseeing the highlights while responding to the clients’ particular interests. This type of experience is often more authentic as customers get in closer contact with the local culture or learn about it from a different perspective.

 

What’s your personal favourite from the programme?
Austral Highway in Chile – Chile is one of the most diverse countries in Latin America and one of its most popular destinations is the Torres Del Paine National Park. Although a visit to Torres del Paine is definitely a must, there is so much more to Chilean Patagonia. A trip to the Austral Highway is a fantastic way to explore other off the beaten track destinations in Patagonia.

Is there an accommodation highlight?
Cristalino Lodge in the Amazon – The Amazon is still one of the most sought after destinations and Cristalino lodge is a unique property in a pristine area of the Amazonian basin. Cristalino is the perfect place to encounter plenty of wildlife as it sits in its own reserve of almost 12,000 acres and is home to over 600 types of birds among other animal species.

 

What’s your one to watch for 2020?
Northern Peru region – Peru’s popularity is mainly due to its rich culture and Machu Picchu. More and more clients are going back for a second time or want to combine the iconic site with something different. Northern Peru is perfect for customers who want to get to the heart of Peruvian history and culture in destinations that are less busy and more off the beaten track.

Links Travel & Tours: Helen Li, managing director

What's new for 2020?
This year we have changed our domestic flights into bullet train journeys where possible, made easier by the development of the high-speed railway network across Asia. We also added a selection of new itineraries for those wanting a dedicated rail tour of Japan and China, or to visit the stunning Zhangjiajie Mountains in China, among others. We also offer golfing holidays to Vietnam and Japan.

 

Why have you introduced these new products?
Due to ongoing interest, we created new tours for travellers wanting a dedicated bullet train journey, as well as enhancing our existing tour itineraries. We are also committed to responsible tourism. Offering no single supplement on a selection of our small group tours to China during April and May 2020/2021 and on 22 October 2020, will help encourage those solo travellers who have always wanted to explore China, but have been put off by the price.

What do agents need to book early to secure the best rates and availability?
Japan during Cherry Blossom season and travel to China during the months of April, May, September and October. Advise clients to avoid travelling during Golden week in China (1 Oct to 7 Oct) and Japan (29 April, and 3 to 6 May) as these locations are very busy with domestic travellers.

What destination is your predicted bestseller for 2020?
Japan is hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the Olympic Games 2020 so these worldwide sporting events will showcase Japan as the place to visit. We have already seen growing interest for travelling to Japan in 2020 and beyond.

Is there an accommodation highlight?
The award-winning colonial Sofitel Legend Metropole in Hanoi for its location, service and neoclassical luxury.

Premier Holidays: Nikki Hain, product manager

What's new for 2020?

Our new Faraway brochure features three new destinations, eight new tours and side trips, 16 new hotels, 10 new cruise-and-stay itineraries. We’ve introduced Ajman for 2020, along with two new beach areas in Vietnam – Lang Co and Quy Nhon.

 

Why have you introduced these new products?

Ajman is a cheaper alternative to Dubai and is only a short drive away, but is incredibly quiet and peaceful. We’ve found that more people are extending their stay in Vietnam with a beach extension following or in the middle of a tour, so we decided to give our clients more options and seasons to choose from.

 

What’s new for agents?

The brochure has had a bit of a revamp, boasting a new design and layout, making it more attractive to agents. Our destination introduction pages now include the top reasons why clients should visit a particular area. Agents can also take advantage of our offer on Hong Kong bookings until March 2020: as well as a free city tour, clients will also receive free standard admission tickets to Sky 100 or Ocean Park.

 

What do agents need to book early to secure the best rates and availability?

Agents should book Middle Eastern destinations as early as possible to secure flight seats. Airlines that fly via Dubai and other Middle Eastern countries often go onwards to other destinations, which are normally booked well in advance. Many hotels offer free nights, free half board and other added extras when you book early.

Prestige Holidays: David Skillicorn, commercial director

What's new for 2020?
Prestige Holidays has expanded its “green” offering in Croatia for 2020 with the introduction of T-Nest, a luxury new resort scheduled to open in Lika next May. Also new in the boutique collection is the Kalamota Beach House on the island of Kolocep. Croatia’s third city Rijeka, which has been named European City of Culture for 2020, is being featured for the first time. We are also increasing our offering in Montenegro with the addition of Aman Sveti Stefan, the Chedi, Iberostar Perast, Huma and Riva hotels.

What sets the offering apart?
The key thing is they are just not mainstream products. Some are owner managed, others are off the beaten track and a few are just plain quirky – hotels not ordinarily featured in tour operator brochures probably because they’re very small.

What are your fastest-growing destinations?
Historically, say Croatia to anyone and they’ll think of Dubrovnik, but Croatia’s second city Split is coming up close behind it. In addition to its charming old inner city, it offers easy access to the islands of Brac and Hvar, the UNESCO heritage site of Trogir to the north and the fabulous Makarska Riviera to the south.

 

Any selling tips?
Croatia remains extremely popular with holidaymakers so our top tip would be for agents to encourage clients to book early to be sure of securing the accommodation and resort they want, particularly if they are travelling peak season. Also, as always, our brochure features a number of early booking offers so there are some great deals to be snapped up for those quick off the mark.

What's your one to watch for 2020?
The Zadar Riviera as there is now a wider choice of flights from the UK. Previously accessed only from Split with a lengthy road transfer, Zadar, in addition to the lovely resort of Biograd Na Moru offers four easily accessible National Parks.

Princess Cruises: Rachel Poultney, director, sales

What's new for 2020?
For the first time ever, we have three ships sailing out of Southampton and our two newest ships, Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess, will both be based in Europe. For holidaymakers looking to go further afield, the 2020 summer season will be our biggest in Australia.

 

What’s new for agents?
For the first time we've combined two programme years for Europe into a single brochure. We fully appreciate why agents have asked for this previously and, with 2021 going on sale earlier than any other Princess programme year, we're now in a position to offer a definitive 'one stop shop' for 2020 and 2021.

 

What do agents need to book early to secure the best rates and availability?
We have three ex-UK ships in Southampton next year, including Crown Princess and Island Princess sailing across Europe. Please don't hang around if someone is interested in sailing from the UK as we book up earlier every year. This includes families as well, because demand always outstrips supply in the school holidays.

 

What destination is your predicted bestseller for 2020?
Europe is our most popular destination; whether our guests are heading to the historic Baltics or sunny Mediterranean there's huge appeal across a range of different cities and countries. Of course the convenience factor also plays a part here, as our Europe sailings are an easy departure from Southampton or just a short flight away.

 

What's your one to watch for 2020?
Island Princess will be sailing out of Southampton on longer cruises to northern Europe. The sailings on offer are all eye-catching, with the 'search for the northern lights' and 'fire and ice grand adventure' looking particularly appealing in my opinion. And if you're looking further ahead, take a look at a 24-day Canada & New England voyage on Grand Princess in 2021, sailing round-trip from Southampton.

Regent Holidays: Andrea Godfrey, general manager

What's new for 2020?
We have 20 new small group tours for 2020, including new destinations such as Poland and a new small group tour that will take travellers to the international Ice Festival in Harbin, China. The Arctic Winter brochure features an array of new experiences, luxury accommodation and opportunities to explore the landscapes of the Arctic.

What’s new for agents?
Agents will find new tours and destinations perfect to pique the interest of clients who may be very well-travelled and looking for something new, as well as those who’d like to visit a particular destination in the comfort of a small group.

What sets the offering apart?
We have a long history of pushing the boat out when it comes to where our tours go: we’re well-versed in organising tours in sometimes challenging environments.
We are offering authentic Arctic experiences such as sea kayak expeditions while staying in a fisherman’s cabin on the Lofoten Islands.

What's your personal favourite from the programme?
Svalbard will always hold such fascination as I was lucky enough to visit during polar nights and experience 24 hours of darkness, which meant an appearance of Northern Lights in the daytime! You have lots of thrilling activities such as snowmobiling and huskies but also an intriguing history and culture of polar living. You can enjoy beer tasting from the world’s northernmost brewery and even champagne tasting in the cellars of the luxury Funken Lodge.

What's your one to watch for 2020?
Our new Jordan and Palestine group tour will be one to watch. The group will visit Bethlehem and Jericho and really get to experience the countries by meeting the locals, staying in guesthouses and taking walks to local villages. Sweden will also be up and coming for 2019-20, with iconic wish list accommodation such as glamping at the Aurora Camp and Sapmi Nature Camp.

 

Riviera Travel: Tom Morgan, national sales manager UK and Aus

What's new for 2020?
We have launched 12 new tours for 2020 that are a mixture of European and worldwide destinations. The new tours have been added for a number of different reasons- we have taken into consideration our current offering of tour destinations, added more destinations to already popular countries and added to our winter/spring tour departure dates offering tours to Imperial Cities of Morocco and Tenerife & La Gomera which are perfect destinations to explore during the quieter and slightly cooler months.

Why have you introduced these new products?
We currently offer the popular Italian Mediterranean islands of Sardinia and Sicily and it felt like the right time to add the French island of Corsica, concentrating on the north of the island, its nature, scenic beauty and of course the history and local food. We have also introduced Thessaloniki, Meteora & Alexander the Great’s Greece. This part of Greece is rich in history and architecture and has some of the most fascinating natural wonders and beautiful scenery. Secret Italy introduces a hidden corner, which isn’t on the main tourist trail.

What sets the offering apart?
All of our tours include return flights, overseas transfers, accommodation, included excursions and a tour manager. Our tour managers really bring the destinations to life and ensure that customers make the most of their time in the destination.

What’s new for agents?
We have sign-posted the brochure a lot better; it's now easier to see at a glance if the tour is single, twin or multi centre.

Shearings Holidays: Matthew Herbert, product and yield director

What’s new for 2020?
There is a wide range of new tours in Shearings Great Britain & Ireland Spring and Summer 2020 escorted tours brochure, plus new ‘Experience Breaks’. There are also new ‘Self-Guided Walking Breaks’, which include a pack of guided walks from the hotel and a daily packed lunch for those who want the freedom to explore more on foot.

 

What do agents need to book early to secure the best rates and availability?
Popular tours to destinations such as St Ives sell out way in advance, and we’ve added additional capacity in St Mawes to help satisfy demand, which we also expect to sell out. It is also important for agents to remember that if a customer books early and receives excellent service, they are likely to book more tours during the year as our products have a high repeat booking level.

What destination is your predicted bestseller for 2020?
For summer, it will continue to be St Ives. For winter, we expect Eastbourne, Llandudno and Torquay to sell well again as they are consistently our top sellers, helped recently by our strong regional theatre offerings that we now offer.

 

Any selling tips?
Agents need to ensure they give the UK visibility in their windows and racks – there are some great products to promote. Social media continues to drive excellent engagement, and we’ve created UK 2020 specific assets for agents to use. And if there are key events happening that agents know would appeal to their customer base, promote them early before they sell out!

What’s your one to watch for 2020?
Our Highclere – Home of Downton Abbey tour. The much-anticipated film launches imminently (13 September) and we know the power that film and TV location have on driving demand.

Simply Luxury by Travel 2: Ross Sinclair, senior product manager

What's new for 2020?
There are a number of new properties in the Simply Luxury brochure. A few highlights include Atlantis, The Palm’s new exclusive property opening in 2020 in the Middle East, The Royal Atlantis Resort and Residencies. For the Far East, there is Cape Fahn in Koh Samui which is a private island resort from Cape and Kantary group, as well as 1 Hotel Brooklyn in New York and NoMad Las Vegas for USA.

 

Why have you introduced these new products and what sets them apart?
We introduced The Royal Atlantis Resort and Residencies as it’s a completely different design and concept, which will change the Palm Skyline. For Cape Fahn, we like that it’s something different and offers a more remote holiday option, but also not too far from regions such as Fisherman’s Village and Chaweng if guests are looking to explore on their stay. As for USA, New York and Las Vegas are key destinations for us and 1 Hotel Brooklyn and NoMad Las Vegas are five-star hotels recently opened, which offer some of the best views of the city Skylines.

 

What’s new for agents?
New for agents from the Middle East and Indian Ocean products is the increase of choice of hotels to choose from. Also, for the Far East, there are more beach options within Vietnam, such as the ever growing and newly opened InterContinental Phu Quoc.

 

What destination is your predicted bestseller for 2020?
For 2020, our predicted top sellers are Dubai, Thailand and Orlando in Florida.

 

What's your personal favourite from the programme?
One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives is a stunning property situated on the North Male atoll in the Maldives, part of the One&Only brand. This hotel is the ultimate choice for luxury and a brilliant place to relax and unwind.

 

Wendy Wu: Linh Farid, senior product and commercial manager

What’s new for 2020?

Our brand-new Southeast Asia brochure for 2020-2021 features our extensive selection of destinations, immersive travel experiences, wide-ranging tour styles and of course, our exciting new range of Mekong River cruises. Our new ship, the Victoria Mekong, offers sailings from the much quieter port at Can Tho Pier to Phnom Penh whereas most cruises sail from My Tho, a much busier and crowded port. This route allows exploration of off the beaten track areas and unique offshore excursions along the Mekong Delta.

 

What’s new for agents?

Agents will have the chance to receive a £25 voucher when booking a tour with us throughout September and October. We will also be running various competitions for agents, including the chance to win spaces on our fam trips. Agents can also benefit from our offers, including free Business Class Upgrades among others, to entice customers to book.

 

What do agents need to book early to secure the best rates and availability?

Our Classic Mekong tour is proving extremely popular, and we have already had to add three new dates to the departures for 2020. Departures for Classic Mekong include dates in February, March, September, October and November – the best times to visit the region.

 

Is there an accommodation highlight?

The eco-lodge we visit in Thailand is sat among the beauty of Thailand’s hills, about one-and-a-half hours north of Chiang Mai. It is a community-based project run by villagers of the nearby Lisu hill tribe. All food is locally sourced and from the property’s organic rice fields and vegetable patch.

 

What's your one to watch for 2020?

Scenic Vietnam. This 13-day tour is ideal for a solo traveller who not only wants to take advantage of our expert guides’ knowledge, but also appreciates some extra free time to explore independently.

TRFBLI
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