Brad Ford – President, Contiki Canada

Brad FordPresident of Contiki Holidays Canada, Brad Ford, takes a moment from his busy summer travel schedule to give Friday 5 some insight on Contiki – a world leader in youth travel experiences, and one of the strongest and coolest brands around.

1. What’s new and exciting at Contiki this summer?

The 2016 Europe Preview campaign launched online last week, a month earlier than last year. Astoundingly, almost 30% of last year’s Europe sales came between September and November 2014. Five years ago, Europe sales would peak in the spring months, but this is no longer the case. Travel agents can now sell into 2016 Europe departures locked in at 2015 prices. Hurry though; travellers get an additional 10% off when our adventures are booked right now – for a limited time only.

2. Can you let us know what agents can expect to find in Contiki’s Europe 2016 offering?

Last season, we introduced Morocco to the mix, and reintroduced Portugal after a few years’ hiatus. These changes were in response to consumer demand. Along with our usual best sellers, I am very excited about one particular new addition to our roster of tours for 2016, again, in response to consumer demand. Shhhhhh! All will be revealed in September!

Contiki

3. People think of Contiki travellers as university-aged, but what is the actual demographic of your clientele? 

Contiki has been the youth travel specialist for more than 53 years, and as always, our trips are designed for discerning travellers between the ages of 18-35 only. While we definitely have a fair share of university-aged travellers, new travel agents are surprised to hear that the Contiki average age is actually 26 – post-university, career-focused young professionals. Another interesting fact is that our groups are made up of a high percentage of medical and EMS professionals, who really need a break from their high-stress jobs.

4. Contiki is great at using social media to engage with travellers, as well as potential clients. Can you let us know your strategy for engaging young travellers online?  How can the #noregrets campaign benefit travel agents?

Millennial travellers are digital natives, and social media connects them to the lifestyle pillars that are important to them, including travel. Our twitter, facebook, instagram and other online accounts incorporate the latest news, trends and entertainment, not just travel and selling trips. We are legitimately interested in a connected, trusting relationship with our followers, and they also enjoy that connection. We have seen that #NOREGRETS halo of trust extends to our travel agent partners. We create and feed the conversation, and many of our best travel agents adopt our campaigns to establish online credibility to stoke their lucrative millennial business.

Contiki

5. Contiki recently recognized topselling agents across Canada. What makes a travel agent a really strong sales force for Contiki?

Our top agents understand that our trips are an easy sell – who doesn’t want to have an adventure or have fun? They connect to the millennial drivers of discovery and seeking out positive experiences. You don’t have to be a product expert to understand a Contiki traveller (we can help with that). You just have to believe that travel can be truly life-changing, and will connect you to a life of adventure.