|Travel Impressions has added the once-forbidden destination of Cuba to its portfolio.|
As part of Travel Agent's ongoing coverage of Travel Impressions' "Best of the Best" awards, we got the skinny on the tour operator's new tours to Cuba, its new branding design and its new loyalty program for agents.
Travel Impressions has added the once-forbidden destination of Cuba to its portfolio. Effective Monday, Travel Impressions will be accepting bookings for its "Rhythms of Cuba" and "Expressions of Cuba" tours, operating under the People to People program, one of the 12 pre-approved travel categories licensed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of Treasury.
As far as how these tours differentiate from the Cuba tours sold by Travel Impressions' sister operator, Apple Vacations, Erin McCarthy, vice president of marketing for Travel Impressions, says there are different departures and different itineraries in Travel Impressions' Cuba offerings.
Jeff Clarke, CEO and President of Travel Impressions, also noted that while Apple is targeting all travelers to Cuba, Travel Impressions is specifically targeting the affluent client.
The tours will depart from Miami International Airport and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. Agents can arrange connections from all major U.S. gateways.
Travel Impressions is working with U.S.-based Cuba Travel Services, a Cuba-licensed operator that charters flights from Miami to Cuba with Sun Country Airlines and American Airlines. Connections to Miami can be arranged from all major U.S. gateways.
The 11-day/10-night "Rhythms of Cuba" tour, with up to two departures per month from Miami International Airport (MIA) between February and October 2016, offers travelers an in-depth journey through the once-forbidden destination. After a pre-night stay in Miami (included), travelers arrive in Havana where they are introduced to the city’s history, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Havana, the University of Havana and a sugar-factory-turned-museum, as well as the vivid cultural scene of danzón (the official music genre of Cuba), baseball and paladar (family-run) dining.
Travel Impressions is also launching an eight-day/seven-night "Expressions of Cuba" tour. Two direct departures from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) per month from February through October 2016 feature four days in Havana contrasted with the views of Pinar del Rio, the artisanal culture of Matanzas City and agriculturally significant Varadero, where travelers will learn the difference between salsa and danzón, get an up-close look at rural life, and enjoy classic rum and cigar tastings.
Travel Impressions also revealed a new branding with sleek new imagery and options for white-label customization for agents to personalize when communicating with clients.
The new look and feel—anchored with the tagline, "Your success is our destination"—features a modern logo and a full collection of new marketing collateral to communicate its targeted messaging with agents through consistent and themed branding.
The new brand identity was designed to evoke a sense of both traditional and contemporary values, with the tagline "Your success is our destination," reaffirming that Travel Impressions is dedicated to remaining B2B and supporting these partnerships. The decision comes after a period of significant growth across all sectors at Travel Impressions, particularly within the groups market, as well as the agent-dedicated wholesaler’s rapidly expanding portfolio of rental properties in the Villa Experience.
New Loyalty Program
Working in tandem with its just-announced new branding and slogan, Travel Impressions is taking its commitment to travel agent partnerships to a new level with LoyalTI First, a new loyalty program launching January 1, 2016.
The program will reward every booking with LoyalTI points beginning with the first sale, offering agents more chances to earn with monthly promotions designed to help travel partners maximize profitability.
Once enrolled in LoyalTI First, travel agents will earn LoyalTI points for every booking, with opportunities to increase their rewards with exclusive bonus point offers on some of the most popular hotels and airlines. Points will not expire so long as travel agents remain active with at least one booking every 12 months.
Travel agents can redeem their LoyalTI First points on a wide variety of rewards via Travel Impressions’ electronic Folio Reward Catalogs, categorized by point levels. Items range from hotel accommodations to consumer electronics and other merchandise. Points become redeemable within ten business days after the actual departure date once travel is confirmed. Agent partners will find these points within their transaction history.
To be eligible, travel agents must register for LoyalTI First at www.TravelImpressions.com. Registration begins December 1, 2015.