Nigel Osborne, president of Virgin Vacations, says his business mission is to build Virgin Vacations into the leader of affordable, life-enriching vacations by forging a strong relationship with the travel agent community. In an attempt to push group sales, Virgin Vacations is launching a new program called “Group Therapy.”
Virgin Vacations has recently appointed a group sales manager to work with agents in the field. He has escorted over 50 groups on both land and cruise excursions, allowing him to better advise groups to create well suited itineraries.
As part of the Group Therapy program, agents will have a range of benefits they can offer to clients. To Virgin, it is important for travelers to have access to destination and group itinerary experts so that they can leave the planning to someone who is trained to create custom itineraries and offer travel advice or guidance.
“It takes a lot of the guesswork and stress out of traveling,” explained Osborne. Virgin’s experts are also able to give helpful tips on saving money and adding even more value to their trips.
Other benefits of the Group Therapy program include:
• Mailers and flyers
• Website to host the group’s page where agents desire
• Pre and post cruise vacations/shore excursions
• Access to destination and group itinerary experts
• VIRGIN BONUS: For every 15 travelers that book with Virgin Vacations, the next one is free, allowing an extra passenger or agents to go along on an escorted tour of their choice
Virgin Vacations recently completed a customer profile of travelers to determine who a Virgin customer is. The results showed that Virgin customers are travelers that prefer travel by air over driving, show a preference towards international versus domestic destinations, and are looking for unique hotels and experiences. These results enable Virgin to profile agents’ customers as well as design programs for agents to market.
With help from suppliers in Europe, South Africa, South America, and Australia, Virgin Vacations is able to provide its customers with “Virgin Extras” such as a sunset tour or an extra attraction visit.
Virgin Vacations aims to deliver the “right product, at the right price, and with the technology to enable travel agents to book it,” three key initiatives for a successful business according to Osborne.
The technology involved with Group Therapy will allow agents to set up an affiliate or a distribution point online which will also allow them to receive point-of-sale material ensuring that the customer is confident they are getting a great price without sacrificing quality.
Osborne believes Virgin Vacations is merely responding to popular demand by creating this program. “Oberammergau packages have created a lot of buzz and high demand for both group and individual itineraries.”
Virgin Vacations Oberammergau travel packages from $2,249 includes nine days of sightseeing throughout Germany and Oberammergau, guided tours, some meals, and the famous Passion Play held once every 10 years.
Also recently launched is Virgin Vacations pre/post cruise packages to Rome, Venice, and Barcelona from $749 allowing travelers to enhance their Mediterranean experience.
Agents can now sign up to receive Virgin’s newest newsletter that features deals for their clients. As of June 10, Virgin will have a New Hotel Program that will incorporate a seamless booking engine and a minimum of 10 percent commission.