Avalon Waterways is looking into adding a new “mid-haul destination” for 2021, UK chief executive Giles Hawke has revealed.
The line currently operates ships on a number of European rivers, Asia’s Ganges and Mekong, along the Amazon and in the Galapagos.
Hawke told TTG Avalon was hoping to announce the new location “by the end of the year”.
Meanwhile Janet Parton, UK sales director, also revealed the line was building its own trade training platform for the UK market – aiming to launch during the first quarter of next year.
The site, Parton said, would “help build on” the line’s trade business growth since doubling its sales team (shared with escorted touring sister brand Cosmos) at the end of 2018.
Parton said sales through agents were currently outpacing the company’s direct bookings, while Hawke said trade business had “beaten all expectations” since the new team had been installed.
The pair also detailed how Avalon had changed its agent fam trip strategy for 2019 to make each trip an Active & Discovery itinerary, with four educationals taking place this year.
Hawke said the decision had been made to show agents the nature of the itinerary style, with the line recently adding a ‘&’ in the holiday style’s name.
“It’s not just about the adventure and active side of things. Adding the ‘&’ makes it clearer that that element is just a part of it – you don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie to enjoy those cruises,” he said.
Avalon is also pressing ahead with a number of sustainability initiatives focusing on “economic, environmental and social” aspects of its business, Hawke said.
They include ditching single-use plastics, installing water filter stations onboard and providing reusable bottles and an aim to eliminate paper through its AvalonGO app and interactive guest information kiosks.
Other enterprises also include employing local coach companies to transport guests instead of its own contracted drivers and sourcing ethically made produce from in-destination suppliers.