Alan Law – Director of Sales and Marketing, GLP Worldwide

05.02_web_IMG_4328FFGLP Worldwide represents a long and growing list of unique cruise lines and travel companies, now in high demand with the boom in niche travel. Director of Sales and Marketing Alan Law talks about the company’s many clients and why agents should stay tuned for upcoming promotions as GLP celebrates 15 years in business.

1. GLP Worldwide works mainly with small to mid-size niche cruise lines. What companies are on your client roster?

Law: We were one of the first operators to offer luxury river cruises with AmaWaterways and quickly became one of their highest volume cruise representatives in Canada.

AmaWaterways provides luxurious all-inclusive river cruise vacations on the scenic waterways of Europe, Russia, Vietnam and Cambodia. With an innovative product and rapidly-growing fleet of custom-designed ships, we are proud to represent a line that enjoys a reputation as the leader in river cruising.

To fill the increasing demand for programs to unique destinations we have been working with Hurtigruten for over 10 years. Their Norwegian heritage dates back over 150 years when the Norwegian government decided to create a connection between the north and the south. Today, we offer expedition voyages to Spitsbergen, Iceland, Greenland and Antarctica as well as scheduled daily departures along the Norwegian coast. The beauty of Norway’s fjord-indented coast has been known as the ‘world’s most beautiful voyage’ for many years.

We are proud to be the GSA for Variety Cruises. These ships provide passengers with the ultimate private-yacht experience: offering upscale mega-yachts with only 25-36 cabins, operating scheduled cruises and charters in beautiful destinations worldwide such as Greece and the Greek Islands, Italy & Malta, Seychelles, Cuba, Costa Rica & the Panama Canal, Rivers of West Africa and Cape Verde. Our excursions are in small numbers and the docking location is right in the heart of the port visited.

We continue to fill the demand for interesting and unique cruise programs and are proud to represent and bring Hapag-Lloyd cruises to the Canadian market. The cruise line has four luxurious ships, each with its own special character, hundreds of destinations, on-board and shore programs.

In the Berlitz Cruise Guide 2014, The EUROPA was the only cruise ship worldwide to be awarded the designation five-stars-plus.

Newly built, the EUROPA 2 has also been awarded highest rating of five-stars-plus for the first time. The expedition ship HANSEATIC offers small groups of no more than 183 guests an exclusive five-star service – the only five-star expedition ship. The BREMEN is an expedition ship in a class of her own. As you are taken closer to remote regions, the entire crew works with passion to create a friendly atmosphere and bring you four-star-plus luxury.

European barge cruising is becoming increasing popular with travellers and small groups. It is a personalized holiday experience that has been around for decades but only recently capturing the interest of an increasingly discerning Canadian traveller.

GLP is thrilled to be representing an exquisite line of luxury barge itineraries with innovative programs from the infamous Lochs of northern Scotland to the picturesque rivers in France’s Burgundy and Provence regions. We have selected the finest operators of such ships. Painstaking attention to detail and the high level of service, delicious cuisine and wines make this a perfect fit in our lineup of tours.

We’re also proud to have Cuba Cruise on our roster as it offers a fascinating itinerary which showcases a different way to see the beauty that Cuba has to offer outside of the resort.

As a Cuba Cruise passenger, ‘Your Cruise’ can include visits to a total of six UNESCO World Heritage sites and four National Parks and Preserves. You will walk down cobblestone streets, up mountain paths, through rainforests and, of course, on fabulous world-famous beaches. Each night you’ll enjoy the incredible food, entertainment and comfort of your world-class ship. Experience the best of an all-inclusive resort and a cruise vacation, combined with a Cuba that few people ever get the chance to experience.

We’re also exceptionally proud to be the GSA for Fred. Olsen Cruises. Our cruisers feel at home, relaxed and invigorated on a Fred. Olsen cruise because they do their utmost to make every part of your cruise experience special. The crew will get to know you by name, what your favourite drink is and what makes you smile. Friendships that last are made on every Fred. Olsen cruise holiday – with crew members and fellow passengers alike. Visiting over 300 ports of call worldwide, often people will arrange to cruise with friends they met on their previous trip, or when their favourite members of staff are on board.

In addition to these excellent small ship programs, we also offer a wide range of custom land programs for groups throughout Asia as well as African Safaris.

2. With all the intense interest in unique vacations these days – particularly cruise vacations – are you also seeing an upswing in inquiries for the cruise lines you represent?

Law: Yes we are definitely seeing an increase in the demand for unique and upscale programs. We have seen consistent growth in small-ship cruising that offer an alternative to mega-ship voyages.

With an improving economy and increased consumer confidence, passengers are looking towards luxury programs that offer a unique, yet intimate experience.

Canadian travellers are becoming increasingly savvy and often looking at programs that include soft-adventure excursions or exotic locations. Our entire product line up has been meticulously selected to fit the needs of the discerning Canadian traveller.

All our prices listed in brochures and on our website are in Canadian dollars – so easy for the agent and their clients to know the exact price of a trip.

05.02_web_GLPFF

3. GLP Worldwide is celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2014. Will the company be marking the occasion with promotions / agent incentives?

Law: We are incredibly appreciative of the support we have received from travel agents the past 15 years. They are the big reason for our success and growth as a company.

We are planning many special incentives, commission over rides, fam trips, promotions and other surprises. Agents should stay tuned.

4. GLP also organizes special interest tours. What’s one of the more intriguing tours the company has put together recently?

Law: There are a number of special interest programs we have each year. Last year, we ran an exclusive gourmet food and wine program with Food Network celebrity host Bob Blumer. Bob accompanied passengers on excursions as well as hosted cooking demonstrations and wine/food seminars. It was a great way to learn a few culinary tricks from a program, sample what he created while in a luxury cruise atmosphere and setting.

Another program of particular interest is the Catholic event of World Youth Day. We’ve been working with the Catholic youth since 1997. In 2011, we brought over 1500 youth from across Canada to participate in World Youth Day in Madrid, followed by 300 youth to Rio de Janeiro in 2013 and we are looking forward to upwards of 2000 youth for Krakow in 2016!

We are also in the process of developing musicjourneys.ca – Music Performance Tours. These performance tours will afford the opportunity for Canadian choirs, ensembles, orchestras and other musical groups to travel and perform at some of the world’s most prestigious music festivals under the direction of renowned artistic directors.

Some upcoming festivals include the Rome International Choral Festival, featuring Mass participation at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on June 22, 2015, and a formal finale concert at Rome’s famed Saint Mary above Minerva Basilica on June 23, 2015; and the Mozart Choral Festival in Salzburg, Austria, June 24-28, 2015.

5. How can agents learn more and get in touch with GLP Worldwide?

We have recently revamped our website at glpworldwide.com which has a wealth of information on all our cruise and land products, pricing, itineraries, terms and conditions.

Agents should know we can also customize group tours whether it is a special interest group like birdwatchers or a family reunion and cater it to fit all budget levels. We are happy to come in and train any agency specific to your clients’ needs.

You can call us at (905) 258-7778 or toll-free at 1-866-760-1987 or e-mail me directly at alaw@glpworldwide.com. We are here to help you sell and service your clients. Or even drop by our office to say hi! We’re GLP Worldwide Expedition Travel and Tours, at 1211 Denison Street, Unit #26 in Markham, Ontario.