Paco Gonzales, sales and reservations manager of Ramblers Walking Holidays’ sister brand Adagio, tells Andrew Doherty about the company’s renewed commitment to the trade
What are Adagio’s values?
We wanted to slow things down and place more emphasis on a destination’s sights, culture and cuisine. Our holidays are easy to sell – the itineraries are well organised, and agents don’t have to worry about clients’ walking abilities. Although we are targeting travellers aged 50 and over, younger clients are certainly welcome on our tours. Adagio likes to keep things intimate, and the group size is never more than 19 people. Any additional profit we make will be put into the walking community we visit. We also work with a lot of charities such as Toilet Twinning – we recently helped them with a water and sanitation initiative in Pakistan.
How important is working with the trade?
We only started working with the travel trade last year. However, we will really be ramping up our trade activity in 2019 with a lot more in-store training across the UK. We recently held an event at travel agency Hyde Barker Travel in Nottingham, which was a massive success. Fam trips are something that we would like to offer, too – we are currently in the midst of planning one, most likely to Andalucia.
Why should agents sell Adagio?
It’s really another feather in their cap. Agents selling Adagio will be guaranteed high-quality products, with an expert team that can assist with any queries along the way.
Are there any new tours on offer in 2019?
One destination that’s in vogue is the Austrian Tirol, especially the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena region. Situated between the Austrian and German border, the area is dominated by dramatic peaks, lakes and an abundance of wildflowers. The Tiroler Zugspitz Arena tour is classified as an Adagio Plus holiday, meaning there is more emphasis placed on energetic walks. However, it’s still accessible for most fitness levels. The trip has been really popular, but there is still availability on some departures.
How will clients experience the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena region?
Our customers will take a cable-car ride 3,000 metres up Zugspitze, experience walks along Panoramaweg to Lermoos and visit Lake Seebensee. Highlights include gentle treks around Heiterwang and Plansee as well as boat trips.
What are the 2019 programme highlights?
Italian Switzerland isn’t as well known, so we’ve started featuring it this year. Our Mediterranean Switzerland tour showcases the area’s mix of Swiss and Italian heritage, with cobbled streets and lush valleys to enjoy. The experience is very much off the beaten track, and food plays a big role.
The Majestic Malta itinerary is also new for us. Starting in Valletta at the five-star Grand Hotel Excelsior, clients will cover the entire island, including its Second World War bunkers and tunnels, and they’ll visit the island of Gozo for a day. We also go to Malta’s south to take in the fishing villages and rub shoulders with locals. This tour is a really great introduction to the country.
What is the standard of accommodation on tours?
We mostly feature four to five-star properties that exude a distinctive flavour of the destinations we sell. For example, on our Tiroler Zugspitz Arena tour, guests will stay at the Hotel Alpen Residence, which is a beautiful four-star hotel that looks like a massive chalet.
Book it: Adagio offers The Zugspitz Arena seven-night tour from £1,250pp with flights, accommodation, transport and an unlimited travel pass for the area included. Trip departs June 15 and 29, July 6 and September 7, 2019.