Recently John Hanratty, chief marketing officer, and Mark Grundy, managing director - Asia at Avanti Destinations, stopped by Travel Agent’s New York offices to offer an update on the tour operator’s new tours in Asia.
Now in their second year, the new Asia tours marked the first new program for Avanti in 25 years, says Grundy, who described initial sales as “phenomenal.” This year Avanti has expanded the program to include Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, South Korean and Taiwan.
“We really wanted to take ownership of the Asia space,” says Grundy. “So far, forward sales for 2017 have been through the roof.”
The new Asia destinations appeal to Avanti’s customers who are looking for highly experiential travel options. Clients are high net worth and about evenly split between Millennials and Baby Boomers, Grundy says. Expanding into Asia has also allowed the company to offer a superior hotel product than would be possible at a similar price point in other destinations.
“The value of a dollar goes a long way in Asia,” Grundy says, noting that a strong U.S. dollar since the recent presidential election has continued to keep costs in check.
Where are clients headed? Japan, Thailand, China and Vietnam are the company’s four most popular destinations in Asia, says Grundy, although Cambodia and Laos are up and coming, particularly as add-ons.
Further ahead, Grundy says Avanti will be looking to add new countries in 2018, although no details were available yet as the company focuses on meetings with DMCs and fam trips to train its staff in the new destinations.