Many Americans have seen destinations like Britain and Italy, and many are looking to return with a tour that offers a completely different experience than is typical for those famous destinations, says Steve Born, chief marketing officer for the Globus family of brands. That’s why the company has launched a new series of tours under the “Undiscovered” umbrella.
Do you see any unique opportunities in light of global happenings?
Travelers are looking for that combination of must-see plus that “next” spot that’s just enough off-the-beaten-path. Agents should strike now to use their superpower — the power of suggestion — to contact their clients with that specific trip that will push them beyond where they’ve been. The international travel climate (and value) is so strong now, it’s the time to strike.
What are some of the newest trends you are seeing?
They are revisiting a familiar destination for a new / different view. They’re seeking immersive experiences as well as customization and personalization opportunities. Off-season travel is extending the “traditional” travel season.
How have you modified your offerings to meet these trends?
With so many American travelers having experienced destinations like Britain and Italy in some form, there’s a huge demand for those wanting to return via a tour, but with a completely different experience of the destination beyond the tried-and-true cities. In 2018, we unveiled a new series of tours under an “Undiscovered” umbrella, starting with “Undiscovered Italy.” In 2019, we introduced “Undiscovered Britain” offering a wide selection of Globus and Cosmos tours built completely around the idea of exploring each country’s lesser-known towns, villages and hamlets. We have introduced 18 “Undiscovered” tours — including 11 new itineraries — in the past two years. It’s paid off. Italy has seen sales soar more than 40 percent (year-over-year) and Great Britain witnessed similar growth, up more than 30 percent (year-over-year). Additionally, more than ever before, travelers want the control to personalize their experience, both in terms of how they shape their vacation package and what they do once they’re there. We’ve introduced “Your Way” travel both for Avalon and Monograms, providing the ability to choose the length and structure of the cruise and independent package. For Avalon, we offer Avalon Choice, providing our guests with a choice of included excursions on each cruise, from classic to active to discovery (local encounter) experiences. And for all brands, we offer the ability to pre-purchase optional excursions pre-trip or on-trip, allowing them to select from a huge range of add-on experiences beyond all that’s included. Also, we’ve introduced travel apps for Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon giving all of our travelers the ability to tailor their adventures in destination. We’ve seen dramatic growth and interest in off-peak travel to Europe. The value (40 percent savings vs. highseason, on average), the absence of crowds, temperate weather and unique view of a destination during the winter months are big drivers. And with more and more Americans finding flexibility in their work schedules, it’s easier to get away any time of year. We have an entire product line, Escapes by Globus, dedicated to this off-season travel.
What are some of the challenges on the horizon for tourism in general?
Real or not, there is — at least — a perception of “overtourism” in the world’s must-see destinations. Regardless, we believe, wholeheartedly, that we are advocates for the destinations and sites we visit and positively contribute to thoughtful tourism vs. “overtourism.” Our robust travel portfolio is diverse and spreads as far as Africa and as wide as Australia. In highly trafficked areas, the Globus family of brands has diversified excursion offerings, taking guests on cobblestones less traveled via foodie walking tours, painting classes, cooking lessons, hiking, biking and canoeing. And, while we take small groups to the world’s most popular places, in the past two years, we have also introduced a series of off-the-beaten-path itineraries, inviting travelers to explore and experience more of the world. In addition, Globus now offers off-season Escapes to the world’s most popular destinations, helping balance the flow of traveler traffic, while continuing to positively contribute to the local economy year-round.
What is your focus on the U.S. travel agent for 2019/20?
Agents are moving to an independent flexible/modular work path and schedule faster than Americans are reaching retirement age. The Globus family of brands aims to be the first business partner for this new-age agent and to go beyond the typical product and promotional content that suppliers typically push and into a true business consultation role.