The operator announced in July it would phase out its largely direct-sell, youth-focused Geckos Adventures brand and replace it with a dedicated “millennial” product range built on its sustainable and responsible travel and tourism ethos.
In the three months following the launch of its 18-29 adventures in July, Intrepid said sales of youth product had increased 30% globally and by 50% in the UK, where Geckos had less of a foothold, with Japan, Peru, Nepal and Sri Lanka the destinations driving growth.
Michael Edwards, Intrepid’s chief growth officer, told TTG he expected 18-29 product to represent 10-15% of UK sales “over the next few years”.
Edwards said Intrepid’s 18-29 offering would be one of three product lines, along with adventure cruising and polar travel, that the operator would “supercharge” in 2019 with additional marketing spend and resources to support agents.
He added with 2018/19 marketing plans for Intrepid’s product lines due on his desk in a matter of days, the launch of new training and marketing resources to the trade was “weeks rather than months” away and would include new brochures and webinars.
“We continue to see our trade business grow across all our markets,” said Edwards. “The trade is the right channel for 18-29. We know young people like the experience of speaking to experts. Yes, they like simple online transactions, but for this type of product, they like to speak to someone. We want to give agents the tools to deliver this.
“We sell 50-55% through the trade in the UK. It’s always been like that. It’s a good balance. It’s the way we like it. It’s a strong partnership that drives business.”
Edwards said part of the operator’s drive to bring 18-29 travel under the Intrepid brand was a perceived space for it to become a market leader in this age range. “We believe in this market. It continues to grow,” he explained.
Since the launch of its 18-29 adventures, Intrepid has already added 20% more departures.
Additions include surfing and yoga in Morocco, wilderness camping in Iceland and trekking in Nepal.