Billy Stewart, Sales Manager, The Americas, Topdeck

“We pack our trips with authentic and local experiences”: Topdeck

Billy Stewart, Sales Manager, The Americas, TopdeckMillennials want unique and local experiences – without missing out on the big-ticket bucket list sights. Topdeck delivers, says Billy Stewart, Sales Manager, The Americas.

1. Topdeck is well-positioned with Millennials who tend to travel no matter what’s going on in the world. How has the Canadian market performed for Topdeck so far in 2016?

“This year has seen a lot of events worldwide, but Canadians are resilient and have continued to travel. Travel is such an eye-opening experience, which Canadian millennials continue to embrace as a chance to encounter new cultures and challenge their perspectives. At Topdeck, we’re committed to offering a safe platform for young travellers to explore the world and make friends along the way.”

2. What are Millennial travellers looking for these days and how does Topdeck cater to that?

“Millennials are after unique and local experiences without missing out on the big ticket bucket list sights. Because of this, we continue to develop our itineraries to include a mix of both, along with plenty of free time for travellers to wander off the beaten track armed with the expert recommendations of a knowledgeable Trip Leader. According to our research, experiencing a new culture (86%) and eating local foods (69%) were listed as common travel motivations ahead of partying (44%) and shopping (28%). That’s why we pack our trips with authentic and local experiences such as home stays in Vietnam, camping in the desert in Morocco, wine tastings in Italy and France, game drives through Africa and a tribal welcome ceremony in New Zealand by the local Maori.”

“And with 98% of millennials ranking ‘eating local cuisine’ as something that is very important (more than five out of 10) when they travel, we make it a priority to introduce our travellers to the local flavours of each destination they visit on a Topdeck trip. Street food tours in Bangkok and Hanoi led by a local, a picnic under the Eiffel tower complete with everything from escargot to éclairs, freshly made curries and pap on campsites in Africa and pork knuckle in Munich are just some of the ‘foodie’ experiences our trips offer.”

3. Millennials are very much about ‘the individual’, and that’s true for their travel style too. What are some of the benefits of group travel that they might not have thought about?

“Planning a trip can be very time consuming and stressful. We take the hassle out of the process, making all the arrangements for accommodation, transport and included activities, which means travellers spend less time fretting over what to see and where to stay next and more time on enjoying each destination. Having a knowledgeable Trip Leader on hand is like having a human guide book for each destinations, helping millennials avoid the tourist traps and get tailored recommendations to suit their interests – from where to find the best pho in Hanoi (served curbside from a hole-in-the-wall shop in the city’s old quarter) to where to get the best view of the Eiffel Tower for that Insta-worthy photo. What’s more, travelling in a group is a great way to make friends thanks to all the new and exciting experiences shared with like-minded people — a lot of Topdeckers meet lifelong friends or partners on our trips!”

4. Topdeck recently launched some new Asia trips. What are the highlights?

“Following the success of our first season operating in Asia, we’ve added a Hostel Plus range to the existing Hotel range to offer even better value deals, amounting to 16 new trips including two new countries, Myanmar and China. Our nine-day Majestic Myanmar trip takes travellers through the new Burma, seeing the famous sunset on Mandalay Hill, as well as more untouched regions of the country (such as the stunning Inle Lake on a guided boat tour).

“Thanks to our use of local Trip Leaders, we’re able to provide truly authentic experiences with a focus on supporting local communities such as sustainable farm visits, home stays, and, what is certainly one of the highlights of the new China itineraries: a visit to a Panda conservation centre in Chengdu. Tobogganing down the Great Wall is another key highlight!

“Finally, building on the popularity of our Bali Island Hopper, we’ve introduced a new Bali Active itinerary, offering travellers the chance to cycle, yoga and surf alongside high ropes courses, massages and white water rafting, which is expected to be very popular!”

5. What other destinations are trending for Topdeck?

“We’ve seen significant growth in our sailing product this summer following the addition of an Ibiza itinerary that showcases the island’s beautiful ‘other side’ beyond the clubbing scene. The smaller groups, included meals and relaxed pace with multiple stops give young travellers the ideal way to both recharge and still see the sights between swim stops in Greece, Turkey, Croatia and Ibiza. Japan is another destination that’s been very popular in 2016, which we expect will continue to grow in 2017.”