Every captain needs a first mate. And at Virgin Voyages, the adults-only cruise line set to debut in 2020, its second-in-command will be none other than travel agents.
TORONTO — Contiki unveiled its latest travel style, ‘Independent Insider’, last night at an industry event in Toronto, highlighting its increased flexibility and more Millennial-centric focus.
After conducting 18 months of research, Contiki found that Millennials are looking for more flexibility and freedom when travelling while maintaining the social side and ease of group travel. As such, the company designed ‘Independent Insider’ to offer young travellers a more laidback schedule than its ‘High Energy’ trips, with a minimum three days in a destination, with one day completely free at leisure. There’ll also be optional add-ons before moving on to the next destination.
It will also be modular, meaning if a client has already seen a city, they can swap it out for another destination.
“It’s designed for freedom! It’s essentially for those travellers that want to do an FIT experience around Europe, but don’t want to give up the creature comforts of a trip manager helping them out, accommodations and breakfast every day,” said Sheralyn Berry, VP of Sales, Contiki Canada. “Independent Insider gives them all that: the true Contiki experience but with the freedom to do whatever they want.”
When asked why agents should book the new style compared to their own FIT experience, Gabrielle Nydam, President, Contiki Canada said it came down to three factors: making it easy, making friends and making commission.
“It’s the ease factor. Its really a tool box for the agents. Rather than booking individual components like the hotels and all the train transfers in-between as you would with a traditional FIT, all that is taken care of,” she said.
Jeff Element, President, The Travel Corporation Canada, highlighted the potential for increased commissions, saying that “our trade partners get to make money on all of those components.” He added, “Compared to booking it piecemeal where a lot is non-commissionable, with us, because you are buying it as a package, you can still earn a living.”
The social interaction of this new style is also important, added Element. “Contiki is known for bringing people together. It’s great to go see a destination, but if you’re doing it on your own or with the one or two people you are travelling with, I think you miss out.”
Contiki’s Europe Summer Independent Insider itineraries cover some of Europe’s most popular cities including Nice, Copenhagen, Budapest, Mykonos, the Amalfi Coast and Porto. Itineraries from this new trip style range from 3-12 nights, with three nights in each city, giving clients time to delve into every destination without missing out on any bucket list spots.
Also announced at the event was a new partnership with Air Canada Vacations. As a result of joint efforts, ACV will be offering five air-inclusive Contiki tours in Europe next year, with more details to come in November to coincide with ACV’s Europe brochure launch. According to Nydam, this partnership will give agents even more ways to book with the youth brand and earn commissions.
Agents can also expect to see Contiki’s new brochure next week with the launch of the Europe Summer 2018/19 program. The brochure will feature 26 new itineraries including the new U by Uniworld millennial river cruises that launched over the weekend. To help agents close the sale, the company announced its ‘Early Payment Discount’, which will be extended by another month giving clients 10% off until Feb. 21, 2018.To commemorate the launch, a panel of social media influencers took part in a Q&A at last night’s event about the company’s new slogan: ‘Travel makes better humans.’ A contest with the new slogan was also announced for the new Europe Summer program, where agents can win a Contiki trip for themselves or gift to a friend, family member or client. The contest will run from Oct. 18 to Dec. 1.
Agents are encouraged to sign up to Contiki U for more chances to win and participate in fam trips.