TORONTO — It’s been “the year of yes” for Luxury Gold. The upscale travel company’s team said yes to just about every retail travel agency conference, training session and trade show in an effort to spread the word about Luxury Gold, and answer a whole lot of questions from travel agent partners.
The one question that VP Sales, Insight Vacations, Carla Brake, who’s also on the Luxury Gold team, hears most often is: Is Luxury Gold escorted or FIT? “There’s still a little bit of confusion out there. But it’s getting better. Luxury Gold has been around for five years and finally now it’s taking ownership as its own brand in the marketplace, it’s getting its name out there. It was needed.”
Brake joined Brad Ford, President, Insight Vacations at an afternoon tea event yesterday at the Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto to launch the 2019 Luxury Gold collection to top travel agency partners.
The short answer is, Luxury Gold offers high-end escorted travel, with small groups topping out at 40, and with many departures capped at 24. Luxury Gold itineraries include “the perfect balance of iconic sights and free time”, says Brake.
While the vast majority of Luxury Gold’s trips are escorted, the company can also in fact do bespoke FIT itineraries, for as few as two travellers, in Ireland, Scotland, southern and eastern Africa and, new for 2019, Greece.
The impressive 2019 Luxury Gold brochure, recently released at 172 pages, spans six continents with trips to Britan, Europe, USA, Canada, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador & the Galapagos, Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Japan, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Egypt and South Africa.
Italy is a perennial top seller, with with 12 or 16 day ‘Ultimate Italy’ flying off the shelves year after year. New this year and sure to sell well are the 12-day Ultimate Ireland, with two nights at Ashford Castle (part of sister company’s Red Carnation Hotel Collection) and the eight or 22 day Remarkable Russia with Trans-Siberian Express option.
Heading into 2019, advance bookings for Luxury Gold “are absolutely amazing” and sales are up 40%. “That’s unheard of,” says Brake. “It’s the right offering, with the right experiences, and it’s getting out to the right travel advisors.”
She sums up Luxury Gold’s 7 selling points: Exclusive VIP Experiences; Exceptional Dining; Your Travelling Concierge; Small Group Journeys; Luxury Hotels including several in the Red Carnation Hotels Collection; Luxury Travel; and Sustainable Travel. The Travel Corporation’s One Tree Planted initiative ensures a tree is planted (in Vietnam for Luxury Gold travellers) each time a client opts for eco-friendly e-docs. The sustainable travel ethos is also a big part of the itineraries. For example one trip, Imperial Rajasthan, comes with a ME to WE option. TTC Chief Executive Brett Tollman just did the trip “and loved it,” says Brake.
The one thing to remember, says Brake, is that Luxury Gold “is not a motor coach company. We are a travel company. We use multiple modes of transportation. We use the bullet train in Japan, we use Uniworld river cruise ships, we use safari vehicles … there are a lot of great choices.”
Luxury Gold also offers the best possible commissions, and maximum repeat business. The company has a 35 – 40% repeat rate, says Brake.
“We’re here to support you in any way possible.”
Luxury Gold’s early booking bonus is worth 10% off bookings made by Jan. 31, 2019.