In pursuit of ‘The Ultimate Contiki Experience’

In pursuit of ‘The Ultimate Contiki Experience’

In pursuit of ‘The Ultimate Contiki Experience’

With Contiki’s EB2 campaign, agents can win a trip for two to Europe with airfare from WestJet, a Contiki travel pack and $500 in spending money, says Sheralyn Berry, Vice President of Sales for Contiki Holidays Canada, in this edition of Friday 5.

1. Contiki’s EB2 campaign is all about inspiring young travellers to book their dream trips early. Has Contiki seen a shortening of the booking window in recent years?

“Contiki has seen a shortened booking window than in previous years. What we witnessed last year, for example, is that during the early months of January and February, young Canadians were booking three to six months in advance. However, as we got closer to the summer travel season, millennials would book anywhere from 30 days to three months out. This mainly occurs with our European product and some Asia trips.

“As for our other regions such as Latin/South America and South Pacific, customers must book in advance due to limited space. Not to mention, given the travel time between Canada and Australia, we see that clients are planning in advance as they don’t only want to maximize the time in those regions, but they also want to stretch their loonie further.”

2. We’re now just past the half-way point in the campaign. What’s been the response so far?

“Our ‘Early Bird 2’ campaign has been doing well so far, especially our Thailand segment that took place in the latter half of the campaign. We still have another three weeks left with France currently being on offer and Ireland on offer beginning March 15! We are hopeful that these two destinations will perform well since France and Ireland are very popular for Contiki and millennials.

“We are also optimistic that our travel agent partners will maximize on these deals for their clients, as well as their chances to take advantage of our generous booking incentive that offers them a $25 Amazon gift card for every booking made on a trip that journeys through the featured destination(s).

“While each destination’s offer has only been promoted for a two-week period, agents and their clients will still be able to redeem that offer in question up until March 31. In addition, when agents sell five Contiki trips (that are seven days or longer), they will be entered to win ‘The Ultimate Contiki Experience’ in partnership with WestJet that includes a trip for two to Europe with airfare from WestJet, a Contiki travel pack and $500 in spending money.”

3. Have you been happy with the travel trade’s response to the EB2 campaign?

“We are always appreciative of our travel agent partners’ support and they have shown time and time again their eagerness to sell Contiki to the millennial customers. With that said, there is always room to improve on promoting non-sun destinations to the millennial market during the winter and spring months. With the introduction of ContikiU, we are providing more resources to educate our trade partners on how to grow their millennial customer base.”

4. Contiki recently launched its ContikiU eLearning program for agents. What are some surprising insights to the Millennial market that agents will learn about through ContikiU?

“For one, millennials aren’t as price conscious as we may believe. They are more influenced by experiences than cost. Secondly, they do their research extremely well and use all resources available to them – from social media, to travel agents, to online booking sites.

“Ultimately, they are looking for expertise in the region they want to travel to. Case in point, we find that many of our travellers have already done their research on the destination they desire before contacting a travel agent.

“Another fact that may surprise agents: 30% of Contiki purchases are made by the ‘gifter’ demographic – that is parents and grandparents of millennials. With this insight, it’s a great opportunity for travel agents to tap into this market and their database to grow their millennial sales, and we’ve dedicated one of the 12 modules in ContikiU to help agents with this.”

5. What’s selling really well for Contiki in 2017 and 2018?

“Our current 2017-18 Europe program is doing extremely well for us, with a 91% DEFINITE departure rate for our Europe and UK trips! Many of our European itineraries are strong sellers, but our multi-country trips such as ‘European Horizon’ and ‘European Highlights’ have been extremely popular with young Canadians. Ireland is also another popular region with our travellers. No surprise here, given that the Emerald Isle is generally a favourite for all age groups! Italy is always popular and millennials flock to this bucket list destination in droves.

“Another beloved destination (and personally my own), Greece has always done well for us and we have received an incredible response to the new ‘Greek Week’ trip. I mean, who doesn’t love crystal blue water?

“Looking away from Europe, Asia is our second best selling region with Thailand leading the way. To illustrate how popular Thailand is for our travellers, we added 600 more seats to the ‘Thai Island Hopper’ products for 2017 and 2018 due to increased demand from young Canadians looking to feed their wanderlust.”

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