What is your key strategy for this year, and why?
Our key strategy is to continually and proactively respond to the needs of our travel professional clients with an innovative marketing approach. We’ve invested in our technology to source more complex data to analyze booking trends, resulting in the proactive development with targeted marketing programs.
For example, the “We’ve Got You Covered” campaign, providing complimentary cancel for any reason waiver with full commission protection, is a direct result of the need to instill confidence with the consumer, while providing agents additional leverage to close a sale during uncertain times.
What are your newest destinations or products?
One of our newest destinations is Sri Lanka. We are seeing significant growth in Asia, and with our office based in Singapore, along with travel investments through our U.S. office, we have the in-depth knowledge and expertise to deliver tailored experiences.
Generally speaking for all ID Travel Group product, we are continuously evaluating and updating our portfolio. Each year we undergo a rigorous review of our properties to remove product no longer meeting our standards.
Can you take us behind the scenes? How do you determine which new destinations to go into next?
Since we are exclusively dedicated to travel professionals, we look to our clients to offer us their feedback on destinations that are in demand. Each year, we make a significant investment to evaluate destinations, new products and services — upward of 80 trips a year, to determine which locales are up to par with our luxury standards — as we do not take on any product that we have not personally experienced. Our agents rely on this expertise.
We also maintain our relationships with key industry professionals who understand our niche business model and have successfully managed luxury resorts. For example, we’ve followed many general managers as they spearhead new properties; we believe in supporting our partners that have a proven track record to exceed client expectations.
When you go into a new place, what do you do to create product that’s ready for today’s consumer?
At ID Travel Group, we don’t create, we validate. We determine if a hotel or service is “ID Approved” by having our seasoned staff and executives personally experience each aspect that makes the hotel unique. Our criteria is set high, and partners know this. They will seek our recommendations on offers, new services and luxury touches to enhance the client experience.
Are there any key challenges this year for your business?
Every year there is a different challenge, and the key is to proactively and intelligently tackle the issue by offering alternative solutions through innovative marketing programs. This year our bookings are very strong, although the booking window is much shorter. As a result, we are seeing delayed bookings for next winter and are working closely with partners to develop programs encouraging an earlier booking window.
Any unique opportunities in light of domestic or global happenings?
These happenings are resulting in a shorter booking window; optimistically, our repeat travelers are spending more per trip resulting in significant growth in our ADR. This is the result of our proven expertise and consumer trust in using a travel professional that has delivered value. The opportunity today is to look for benefits to enhance the client experience and earn repeat loyalty. Surprise and delight.
What is your focus on the U.S. travel agent for 2017?
Everything we do is focused and in support of travel professionals — our only customer for 33 years. We will continue to invest in our expertise, high-touch service and luxury fam trips, along with providing products and campaigns such as strategic commission protection and aggressive loyalty programs. We have every confidence in our travel professional partners and will continue to do all possible to offer them the innovative tools necessary to drive mutual success.