Aussie Company Offers High End All-Inclusive Vacations

Travel Agent recently met with Chris Tallent, CEO of Voyages Hotels & Resorts, and Nicholas Baker, executive general manager for the Sydney, Australia-based company, on their swing through Los Angeles. Tallent reveals that the company will be adding a full-service spa to its Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, a unique resort offering a range of accommodations for up to 3,000 guests. Options at the resort are wide-ranging, from five-star hotels to a campground. The spa will be in the Sails in the Desert Hotel, the premier hotel for Voyages Ayers Rock Resort. Targeted for a March 2008 opening, the 500-square-foot spa is expected to eventually double in size. Look for treatments featuring indigenous products.

 The Emma Gorge Waterfall in El Questro Wilderness Park, Kimberly, Western Australia

In addition to Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, the company has 12 properties throughout Australia. Six of these are all-inclusive resorts: Voyages Longitude 131° in Urluru Northern Territory; Voyages Wrotham Park Lodge in Outback Queensland; Voyages El Questro Homestead in Kimberley, W.A.; and VoyagesBedarraIsland, VoyagesLizardIsland and VoyagesWilsonIsland, all in the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland.

Voyages Hotels & Resorts' all-inclusive product is similar to high-end offerings found in the Caribbean and the Riviera Maya. The company was also inspired by the safari camps of South Africa, which balance luxury accommodations with an up-close nature experience. The company recently added complimentary alcohol to its all-inclusive package.

"Our guests at LizardIsland have the option of putting in an order for a picnic hamper filled with their favorite food and wine," explains Baker. "They can then have a boat bring them to one of our 24 private beaches, where they can spend the day in privacy."

Ayers Rock Resort's Sails in the Desert, on the doorstep of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia's Northern Territory

Voyages Hotels & Resorts also books its own tours, such as diving and snorkeling, rainforest hikes, camel rides, motorcycle tours and wine-tasting excursions. This boosts the per diem booking rates, resulting in healthy commissions for travel agents. "Voyager is all about what happens outside the room," says Tallent. "When an American goes to the Outback they want to pre-book all the tours." Longitude 131° and El Questro Homestead will continue to offer their tour program as part of the all-inclusive package.

The family business is a growing segment for the company. Family-friendly resorts include VoyagesHeronIsland, VoyagesDunkIsland and Voyages Ayers Rock Resort. Even though the all-inclusive resorts are adults only, Voyages dropped the age limit from 16 to 12 years of age. Tallent reveals that the company is mulling over opening the adults-only resorts to families during specific periods.

Lizard Island is adjacent to 24 white-sand beaches that provide access to the Great Barrier Reef

The company targets upscale clients, especially well-heeled couples looking for a hassle-free vacation that doesn't skimp on service and quality. The price per night, per couple at VoyagesLizardIsland is $1,340. The average stay is four nights.

"Our relationship with the trade is paramount to what we do," says Tallent. To that end, the company does 76 percent of its business through travel agents and wholesalers.

Travel agents make initial bookings through the trade sales department (+61 2 8296 8010, [email protected]). Tallent notes that however complicated the question, Voyager has experts at each resort to handle the inquiry.

A room at Brampton Island, a Voyages Hotels & Resorts property

Opportunities for Agents

Baker notes that this month's Australia Tourism Exchange will be welcoming substantial numbers of travel agents for the first time, primarily graduates of the Aussie Specialist program. Baker invites visiting agents to contact Voyages Hotels & Resorts to arrange visits and overnight stays at special rates. Voyages Hotels & Resorts is a firm believer in having agents experience its properties first-hand. Interested agents can contact Trish White, the company's sales and marketing manager for North America, at 310-545-3430 or [email protected].