Jeffrey Stutin, former vice president of sales and marketing for Extraordinary Vacations Group, early this month was named president of Maupintour, a tour operator owned by Extraordinary Vacations Group. Stutin spoke with Travel Agent about his plans for Maupintour and the initiatives he is leading to raise agent awareness of the company.
"We are trying to grow the tour business and accelerate our FIT growth," Stutin says, who replaces Jeff Cohen. "We want to make sure that agents know what we offer—there are still a lot of agents out there that don't know us."
To remedy that, Stutin says the Fort Lauderdale-based company is reaching out to agents through e-mails and sales calls, specifically to discuss the company's FIT products.
"It's really one-stop shopping for agents," he says. "We can do air, hotel, train tickets, museum tickets and customize the trip...which makes it easier for agents, because they don't have to call seven different places."
Maupintour is also trying to establish a preferred relationship with a consortium. "The agency community is key to our growth," he says.
Another key to growth, according to Stutin, is ensuring clients know why Maupintour is different. "The biggest difference is our limited group size—we limit tours to 20 to 24 people. We even have some groups that go out with a dozen people," he says. "We have professional tour managers with an average of 20 years experience and because of the small size of our groups, we use more boutique hotels and do more plated dinners. We can do more things with a smaller group size."
Stutin, who got his start in travel in 1986 with Norwegian Cruise Line, has spent most of his time in marketing positions in the cruise industry. Though Maupintour offers roughly 30 cruise vacations, most trips are land excursions.
Stutin expects a smooth transition into his new position.
"I was with Certified Vacations for five years and overall, I think the
travel business is pretty similar," he says. "The cruise industry and
the tour industry are really competing against each other."