Bookings just keep ramping up, up, up for G Adventures. David Green, Managing Director, Canada, says February 2022 “has been an especially strong month so far, as restrictions in public spaces at home have been loosened again providing consumers with more confidence.” And agents are loving this year’s G-Normous agent incentive, says Green in this edition of Take 5.
1. Omicron threw the travel industry’s recovery plans for a loop. Where is G Adventures at right now in terms of trips operating for the immediate future?
“We’ve now operated 2,500 trips since September 2020 with new destinations opening up every month. In January we returned to Bolivia and this month we went back to El Salvador and Honduras for the first time since the pandemic hit.
“The news keeps getting better, with Australia announcing it is reopening its borders for travel and Asia starting to make moves to welcome travellers back, albeit more conservatively. We’re excited to start changing even more lives through travel as Omicron recedes, and with our Travel with Confidence policy in place agents can rest assured we have the experience to ensure their customers are looked after throughout their tour with us.”
2. What’s selling well for forward bookings, and are you seeing resilience in the attitude of travellers who are determined to get out there no matter what?
“While sales have continued over the past few months, February has been an especially strong month so far, as restrictions in public spaces at home have been loosened again providing consumers with more confidence.
“Our current lead time for bookings is four months, which is around the same time frame we were looking at pre-pandemic, and a lot shorter than we’ve seen over the bulk of the pandemic. This indicates people are looking at short-term travel to destinations where there is more certainty around being open.
“In terms of our short-term destination trends, Central America and Europe are proving extremely popular and we’re seeing continued and increasing interest in Active trips, which accounted for 26 per cent of our Canadian bookings in January. Our new Trans Bhutan Trail trip has also been a surprise hit with Canadians seeking to travel to more remote destinations and support local communities while keeping active on tour.”
3. G Adventures’ 2022 G-Normous agent incentive recently launched. What’s been the reaction from travel agents?
“G-Normous is now in its ninth year and has become one of the highlights in our annual marketing calendar. The feedback continues to be extremely positive as it’s a fun and interactive campaign. Agents love the exclusive discounts and offers (especially the additional 2% bonus commission this month), and appreciate the extra recognition for the fantastic role they play in helping change lives through travel. The incentive runs from January through April, which is traditionally a key booking period, and this year it also gives agents the uplift they all need right now.”
4. What can you tell us about the new Community Challenges that are part of G-Normous this year?
“In 2019, we redefined community tourism as not just the positive impact we have on local people, but also the impact we can have within our broader community – our network of agents, travellers and suppliers – to make travel a force for good. Agents are a vital part of our community, so we wanted to develop a challenge that brought a sense of connectedness to our G-Normous incentive this year. The first community challenge was a quiz hosted in partnership with our friends at ProColombia, which was a huge success. Watch this space – or join our Agents of Change Facebook group – to find out details for the next community challenge announced today, in partnership and with thanks to the fantastic team at the Jordan Tourism Board.”
5. What is G Adventures’ message to travel agents right now?
“We can all be excited and optimistic about the imminent return of travel – we are already seeing bookings increase as the year progresses. What we are witnessing in other markets is that as soon as those final restrictions lift, the remaining pent-up demand comes flooding back. So while there are frustrations with the current remaining advisories, my advice is to start booking the customers who are showing interest, because once the floodgates open we’re all going to be very busy! Plus with incredible flexibility like our Book with Confidence policy, there really is no better time to get clients booked on their dream adventures at long last.”