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REASONS FOR HOPE:Globus ready for re-start with 6-point plan

Even though the coronavirus pandemic is continuing and Canadians who travel internationally must (mostly) quarantine for two weeks upon return, Stéphanie Bishop sees signs of hope for the travel industry.

The Globus of family of brands’ (GFOB) managing director for Canada points to an (albeit limited) re-start of touring by the company, including three trips in Canada; recent vaccine breakthroughs; solid interest from consumers, including some new bookings for 2021 and a “strong” 2022; and continuing strong relationships with agency partners – something she calls “the power of family” – that provide tangible business insights and solutions and which go beyond simply offering “optimistic sentiment,” such as paying commission at the time of final payment.

“The industry in general is really well positioned for reasons for hope and from our perspective we certainly feel that way,” says Bishop. “Obviously, we’re not out of the woods, but there are lots of reasons for hope. The devil will be in the detail, but all of that will fall into place. We’re feeling pretty good – the trends that we are seeing suggest that probably the second half of 2021 will be quite good.”

Bishop’s vantage is shaped in part by many GFOB clients rebooking trips from the first half of 2021 into the second part of the year (Globus tours are scheduled to re-start around the end of March) and 2022, but she notes that fully two-thirds of the company’s future travel credits have yet to be redeemed, which she believes is a big opportunity for travel advisors to engage with clients.

“Canadians at the moment are being a bit cautious, and understandably so,” she says, “but, boy, once they see more positive news, we anticipate it’s going to be very good for the travel advisors.”

And the positive news is coming, she believes, with steady advancements in testing, vaccines, and safety, etc.

“I think all those things will come together,” Bishop told Travel Industry Today. “The quarantine is going to be lifted one day and borders will reopen; but our focus at the moment… is getting the advisors, the industry, ready for the time when people are actually travelling. We can help them, we can provide them with the tools, and be ready. What I’ve heard (around the industry), is that everybody is getting ready for that big moment!”

To that end, Globus has surveyed its own extensive suite of product offerings – some new, some tried and true – to help agents put together a pandemic-friendly plan to get clients ready to travel agent.

Private tour, cooking school

Dubbed “6 ways to plan the perfect path back to travel for 2021,” the list includes:

1. Small-Group Discoveries

With travellers increasingly looking for small-group options in 2021, Globus Canada director of marketing Chris Jones, says the company has expanded its options to all itineraries in North America and Europe, in addition to existing options on exotic product. Group sizes average just 24 guests and the price difference is similar to a typical room upgrade. “We expect this new product to be very popular” says Jones – and especially for Canadian tours as Canadians look to travel in their own backyard. He adds that new Canadian product will be launched soon.

2. Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

The trend of travellers looking to get off the beaten track is likely to grow even further in 2021 and beyond, says Jones, who believes Globus and Cosmos “Undiscovered” tours in Italy, Great Britain, the Mediterranean, and (new for 2021) North America fill the bill. The latter features nine itineraries, ranging from Quebec to Alaska. “This is the evolution of touring, and in particular the evolution of Globus and Cosmos,” says Jones, who notes that the series was experiencing double-digit growth before the pandemic.

3. Off-Season Escapes

Another growing niche for Globus for a number of years, the off-season Escapes programs allows clients to see bucket-list sites without out the crowds and at a cost 30 to 40% less than high season. Simply put, travelling November through March “means milder temperatures, fewer crowds and better deals,” says Jones. Tours include the Scottish Highlands, North of Ireland, Switzerland, Sicily, and Southern Italy.

4. European Private Tours

Private touring was introduced by Globus in 2018 and has now been launched for Cosmos. Designed for parties from two to two dozen – and especially popular amongst multi-general family groups, according to Bishop – the program gives travellers the benefits of taking a European tour while handpicking their travel companions. Additional amenities include a dedicated tour director, private transportation and local guides, VIP sightseeing, and greater flexibility. “You pick a tour itinerary that’s in our brochure collection and its exactly the same itinerary, but within your own little bubble,” says Bishop.

5. On Your Own Exploration

GFOB’s Monograms brand is designed to give travellers the ability to do so independently, but with the expert on-trip logistical support of the company, including an on-site local host. For 2021, North American itineraries in New Orleans, Nashville, San Diego, and San Francisco – “ideal for long weekend getaways” – will be available, joining London, Paris, Rome, Florence, and Venice.

6. Boat-ique-Style Sailing

Avalon river cruising

River cruising is the ideal way to cruise without a crowd, says Bishop, not to mention providing the ability for guests to enjoy an intimate environment and explore small ports “in storybook settings.” Like a hotel on the river, vessels accommodate on average 150 guests, though some are much smaller.

Bishop says that “while the world has certainly changed,” its commitment to guest safety, comfort and peace of mind has continued across its all its brand and travel styles. And to that end, the company offers a travel assurance program with enhanced on-trip procedures and protocols as well as a “peace of mind” booking policy that gives guests the flexibility to change their trip dates with penalty.

“What is most important moving forward, to get to the other side of the tunnel,” she says, “is to ensure that guests feel confident and comfortable with that travel experience.”

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

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