It’s spelled ‘Exoticca’ with two Cs, just one of many distinctions that sets it apart from other small group tour operators. First launched in 2013 in Barcelona, Exoticca eventually made its way to the United States in 2018 and, finally, Canada in 2019, growing exponentially to the point where North America now accounts for 70% of all global sales. Leading the team in Toronto is Mike Quinto, VP of Sales-Canada, who sat down with Travelweek for this week’s edition of Take 5. From fall booking incentives to travel agent fams, he gives us the rundown of what travel agents need to know.
1. For travel agents who are still unfamiliar with Exoticca, can you give us an overview of what you offer and who you cater to?
“Exoticca is a small group tour operator that is able to meet each individual client’s needs, no matter what they are looking for. With Exoticca your clients perfect vacation is only a few clicks away. At Exoticca we don’t believe that one tour suits all, we understand that every client has different needs and expectations, and with us you are able to fine tune our tours to do exactly what your clients want. You pick what tour you want, what dates you want, you pick out the exact flights your clients want, you pick out if your clients want more free time or more optional excursions, you can pick what level of accommodation your clients want, and you can even make the tour private, all with a click of a few buttons.
“If you haven’t seen our website, it’s one of a kind, and truly separates us from everyone else. We have incredible pricing on our tours. We pay commission on all components including airfare within 30 days of deposit, not when the clients travel. We use local guides, small group tours (16 pax on average), unique and authentic accommodations including castles, palaces, Havelis, Riads, Ryokans, luxury dome tents and more!”
2. What’s one key differentiator about Exoticca that sets it apart from other tour operators in Canada?
“It’s hard to pinpoint just one key differentiator, however our style of touring allows clients to have guided sightseeing with a local guide in the mornings, while allowing clients to have free time in their afternoons to do what they want in destination. We don’t try to fill up every hour on our tours, we like to see all the major sites with local guides, but then let the clients enjoy their afternoons at leisure, something that is very rare in fully escorted touring.”
3. We’re now in the fall season, typically a slower period. Are you offering any booking incentives/promotions to keep the momentum going?
“Yes we are! We currently have some incredible sales on right now. Clients can go do a 10-day tour of South Africa, with flights for only $2,699. We have a sale on our 9-day Portugal tour, with flights for only $1,899 per person, and our amazing Ecuador and Galapagos 12-day tour is on sale with flights for only $2,999 per person. So there are some incredible deals out there right now for clients.
“On top of that, we are offering a bonus commission of $200 for agents making their first booking with us.
“Some great destinations to visit this fall would be going to Iceland and seeing the Northern Lights, or visiting Europe and taking advantage of the amazing Christmas markets that will start to pop up in November. For hot destinations, Peru, Galapagos, Brazil/Argentina, and South East Asia are great places for clients to be travelling to this fall.”
4. What kind of feedback have travellers given you about your tours? And can you give us an example of a suggestion that a traveller has made that you’ve actually taken and implemented to improve operations?
“Currently we have an “Excellent” rating on Trustpilot with over 17,000 certified reviews and an average rating of 4.5/5. We also send an email to each one of our travellers once they get back from their tour with a survey to help improve each of the products we create.
“The best example I can think of happened about nine months ago, when some customers commented that everything was perfect on our tours. However, they felt the tours were too busy and we had too many included excursions on our trips. So we decided as a company to listen to our clients and offer less included excursions, have some more free time and even full free days. We then decided that on those times or days to offer an Optional Excursion for the travellers who prefer to have all their travelling time fully covered.”
5. What do you want travel agents to know, either about the company or what’s in the pipeline for the remainder of 2023?
“We have some amazing things in the pipeline for the rest of 2023 including releasing our FAM schedule for 2024, a brand new loyalty program for travel agents and – the most exciting thing – a Cross Canada Road show where we are doing a beautiful 4-course plated dinner and certification trainings in 12 cities across Canada. If you haven’t registered yet, you most definitely should! The link is here.”
For more information about Exoticca go to https://www.exoticca.com/ca/travel-advisors.