Small group tour specialist Rabbie’s has hailed its renewed focus on trade relations for a more than 25% spike in first quarter (Q1) bookings through the trade.
Bookings for Rabbie’s tours through travel agents are up 27% year-on-year, helping the Edinburgh-based operator to record Q1 sales.
The firm attributes its Q1 growth to significant growth in the number of domestic clients booking through agents, as well as growing interest in UK tours from long-haul inbound visitors.
Canadian clients increased 27% during Q1, Australia 17% and the US 15%. Meanwhile, the introduction of dedicated tours for the Chinese market have proved “exceptionally popular”, with Rabbie’s Chinese-language Loch Ness tour experience a ten-fold increase in customers compared to Q1 2018.
Robin Worsnop, Rabbie’s founder and chief executive, said: “Our revenue overall is up 20% on the same period last year, which is good growth. We’ve increased our capacity and marketing to attract more customers from our long-haul markets and this is reaping rewards. Our authentic small-group experiences are proving popular with our target markets.
“Visitors from further afield are much more likely to stay in the UK for a longer period, which means they want to explore. We’re also very excited about the launch of new tours from Manchester and Aberdeen in May this year.”
Rabbie’s top performing itineraries by passenger growth include the three-day Leeds Castle, White Cliffs and Flavours of Kent tour, up 240% year-on year, and the Oxford and Cotswolds day tour, up 145% year-on-year.
Whisky-themed tours in Scotland are up 21% year-on-year, London tours 94% and Inverness departures 45%.