TORONTO — At long last, Brendan Vacations has arrived in the Canadian market.
Specializing in Ireland and Scotland, the popular TTC Tour Brands company – with more than 50 years of expertise – has been working on establishing a presence here since 2017. Of course, two of those years were COVID-19 years.
But if the pandemic taught the industry anything, it’s perseverance, and Brendan Vacations got a strong round of applause at its much-anticipated Canadian launch, held at Archeo in Toronto’s Distillery District.
The reception was hosted by Melissa DaSilva, President of TTC Tour Brands, North America and Catherine Reilly, Managing Director, Brendan Vacations.
“Brendan Vacations is all about taking care of you personally,” said Reilly. “We know you’re very supportive of Brendan’s sister companies [at TTC Tour Brands]. Now we need your support for Brendan.”
She added: “Ireland and Scotland are all we do.”
The vast majority of bookings for the Ireland & Scotland specialist come through travel advisors – as many as 98%.
‘EPIC’ GENEALOGY EXPERIENCE
Several of Brendan Vacations’ local travel partners based in Ireland and Scotland were also on hand for the launch, including EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum.
David Cleary, EPIC’s head of sales, offered an interesting look at what EPIC can do for Brendan Vacations travellers.
Taking a few details about the Irish-born grandfather of one of the travel advisors in attendance at last night’s launch, Cleary provided fascinating details about the travel advisor’s family tree, going back to her grandfather’s birth in Ireland, his siblings, his parents and more.
EPIC offers this genealogy service to all, with 30-, 60- or 90-minute consultation options. For an upgraded package, clients can reach out to EPIC three months in advance of their trip and the EPIC team will get to work on tracking down all sorts of personalized genealogical findings, for an extensive presentation once the client arrives in Ireland.
“History remembers the victors. Genealogy remembers them all,” says Cleary. “We want to tell the story of Ireland’s history through genealogy. And when Brendan Vacations clients sit down with EPIC’s genealogists, it makes the experience very real for people.”
Cleary added that tracing one’s roots is as popular as ever, even more so, but that the legwork involved can be more than people realize. “We have a lot in common with you,” he told travel agents last night. “People can plan their own vacations too. But it can be a lot of work, and that’s where you come in. We do the same with genealogy. We’ll do the work and we’ll make it personal.”
More information about EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum can be found here.
GUIDED TOURS, FIT, RAIL & MORE
Millions of Canadians have Irish and/or Scottish ancestry, and that makes Brendan Vacations’ travel product compelling for many travellers. On the other hand, there are plenty of Canadians who have no background with either country and who still love the destinations. “People seem to feel a connection regardless,” Reilly told Travelweek.
She said Brendan Vacations will be hosting fam trips – one travel advisor at last night’s event won a spot on an upcoming fam – and it also has e-learning opportunities through the TTC Agent Academy portal.
Here’s a look at trip styles with Brendan Vacations, including guided, locally hosted rail and more …
- Guided Vacations: A fully planned itinerary that includes activities and meals, a Travel Director and driver (set departure dates)
- Private Chauffeur: An intimate travel experience that is fully customizable with the help of Brendan Vacations experts. Itineraries include the finest accommodations with expert guidance offered by the team (can be done at any time pending accommodation and activity availability)
- Locally Hosted Rail: With the freedom to explore on their own, travellers make their way around Ireland and Scotland onboard a train where they can take in views of the countryside’s with overnight stops in iconic cities. Travellers will meet with Brendan hosts in each city to gain expert advice on what to do in each place (can be done at any time pending accommodation, activity availability and rail schedules)
- Self-Drive: Travellers who value independence can curate their own road trip by working closely with Brendan experts to book accommodations, a rental car and activities (can be done at any time pending accommodation and activity availability)
- Lux Self-Drive: Travellers can enjoy the finest amenities with the luxury of traveling at their own pace (can be done at any time pending accommodation and activity availability)
- Accommodations: Brendan Vacations uses their long-standing relationship with the best hotels in Ireland and Scotland to offer guests a large selection of 3-5 star accommodations from hotels to B&Bs, castles, manors and resorts. Travellers on customizable trips can choose to upgrade their stays with more lux and unique accommodations. Notable accommodations include Abbeyglen Castle; Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort; The G Hotel; Ashford Castle Hotel; and Dromoland Castle.
- Activities: Brendan Vacations works to provide guests with a wide variety of activities from must-see popular attractions to hidden gems. Guests traveling on customized itineraries can choose their favourites and work with a Brendan expert to schedule tours and map out an itinerary to seamlessly
include each activity. Activities range from walking tours to whiskey tastings, sustainable travel experiences, active adventures and more. Notable activities include: Galway Walking Tour; Guinness Storehouse Tasting; Edinburgh Military Tattoo Day Tour; Game of Thrones Tour; and Blarney Castle.
Like TTC Tour Brands sister companies including Trafalgar, Insight and more, Brendan Vacations also offers MAKE TRAVEL MATTER Experiences. Through TTC’s TreadRight Foundation, Brendan offers responsible travel experiences on 90% of their itineraries.
For more information about Brendan Vacations click here.