Avalon Waterways has 16 ships sailing in 2016, Monograms has 69 itineraries and Latin America is growing like a good thing for Globus and Cosmos. There’s always news with the Globus family of brands, says Managing Director Stéphanie Bishop, in this edition of Friday 5.
1. What is the Globus family of brands’ fastest growing destination?
Bishop: “We are delighted to report that it’s Latin America. Between our escorted and independent tours, as well as Avalon river cruises, we are seeing strong demand and are expanding our product accordingly.
“We’re very pleased to see the response to our new South America itineraries by Cosmos, our budget-friendly coach product, and can report that by early 2015 every departure for the whole year was sold out! In 2016 we have five Cosmos itineraries and are up to six from Globus into South America. Monograms, our pre-packaged independent touring company, is up to 21 itineraries in South America, including a new Colombia tour and Galapagos Islands cruises.
Monograms can truly be a travel agent’s secret weapon, delivering pre-packaged independent tours which look like a labour-intensive FIT. And at Avalon, there are three options including two Galapagos cruise itineraries (one with Peru, one with Ecuador) and a Peruvian Amazon cruise.
“And don’t forget Central America. Globus has added a second Costa Rica escorted tour; while Monograms offers Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica. Even one to Mexico!”
2. How would you describe the differences between Globus and Cosmos, your two escorted motorcoach brands?
Bishop: “Good question! Globus is, of course, our classic brand, with over 85 years of experience. What sets Globus apart is our signature Local Favourites culinary and cultural treats and insights provided on every tour. Plus we offer free WiFi is offered on every coach (obviously, where available).
“For 2017 Globus will have departures to Europe and North America, including Hawaii; and our Exotics brochure we feature Central and South America, the South Pacific, Asia and Africa. Another key feature is that on many of Globus’ exotic itineraries we offer Small Group Discovery tours for no more than 24 clients.
“Cosmos is our value-brand, and we help clients save money by accommodating them in hotels which might not be in the heart of downtown, but which are still a very acceptable product. Also we feature fewer inclusions and more free time, so Cosmos is a good suggestion for travellers who want the convenience and security of a coach tour but with more time to explore on their own. It’s also a great choice for the solo client, as we offer an optional guaranteed share program: today fully a third of Cosmos clients are solo travellers.
“Destination-wise, Cosmos is offered in Europe, Morocco, Oman, North America including Alaska and Hawaii, and South America.
“Lastly, both companies offer faith-based tours to Europe and the Middle East; and Cosmos additionally to Mexico.”
3. How would you describe a typical Monograms client?
Bishop: “Monograms is actually great for a range of clients. Let’s say you have a client who wants to do a fairly complex itinerary in Britain or Europe, but doesn’t want to rent a car. We have 69 itineraries to choose from, and you don’t have to get involved researching train schedules or figuring out which hotels will be just right.
“Or for clients wanting to head somewhere more exotic, such as China, India, Africa or Brazil but want the security of knowing that their vacation is perfectly planned to include top-notch hotels, ground transportation and a just-right amount of sightseeing. It’s a one-stop solution, saving-agents hours of research and providing the customer with a perfect combo of structured time and independence. Truly a win-win.
“In a nutshell: Monograms is great for FIT clients, whether they are first-time or seasoned travellers, extended families or even solo travellers.”
4. River cruising one of the hottest trends: what’s particularly popular with Avalon?
Bishop: “Europe is of course our largest destination, with 16 ships available in 2016 – the average age being, I should point out, just under three years old. Apart from the wonderful itineraries and all that fabulous food, passengers tell us they love the window-facing beds on our 12 Panorama-class ships. Plus the generous floor-to-ceiling windows, which open over two metres, really bring the sights and sounds of Europe into your stateroom.
“I also think our themed cruises are a great idea, with options from wine and culinary to wellness, history, music – even beer and golf!”
5. Do you have any programs/incentives for travel agents?
Bishop: “Of course! We firmly believe that an agent who has experienced our product will return home impressed with it and will go on to sell it with confidence.
“As long as an agent can report five travelled passengers in the past 12 months, we offer agent rates of up to 50% off Globus and Cosmos to Europe and North America (excluding Hawaii); up to 60% off Avalon in Europe. There’s up to 25% off all Monograms product and Globus and Cosmos to Hawaii, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, South and Central America, Egypt, Africa, Turkey, the Middle East and the Galapagos.
“And when agents invest in their education by taking our three Specialist Programs, they’ll receive such incentives as Sail 3 and Travel Free with Avalon; Book 5 & Fly with Globus; and Book 1 and travel for 50 per cent off with Monograms. These three courses are available on our travel agent website and are ACTA and CLIA accredited.
“We have an excellent 88-page Travel Agent Guide and Group Planner with all the details of how we can partner with you (and reward you with travel perks!) available at agentlingo.ca; or the hard copy version can be ordered through Go Direct mywurldtravelagent.com; or from email@example.com (or 1-888-268-1928).