Embrace the opportunity to diversify your business and build back better, says Atas account director Claire Brighton
What a difference a year makes.
When we held our first Touring and Adventure Month last year, we were emerging from another lockdown and grappling with furlough and ever-changing Covid travel rules.
We had amazing feedback about how our inaugural event helped agents. Now it has returned again this April, shining a spotlight on a sector that’s seeing bookings bounce back as restrictions ease.
It means our Touring and Adventure Month comes at the perfect time to help agents maintain the momentum of the sales peaks and learn about a lucrative, burgeoning sector. Operator members of Atas tell me they are ramping up trade activities as business returns and some are seeing double‑digit growth on pre-pandemic levels.
After two years of not travelling, there’s plenty of pent-up consumer demand – and many clients have two years of savings too.
The US is proving popular, especially tours to immerse yourself in its musical heritage or explore the wide open spaces of its stunning national parks. Clients are also making a beeline for the natural attractions of Costa Rica and Canada, the cultural heritage of Peru and destinations that are opening up in Asia. Even Australia and New Zealand are now back on the map. Closer to home, Europe is selling well, with Italy a clear favourite, both for escorted tours and adventure breaks.
Activity holidays are flourishing as consumers rediscover the joys of walking and cycling – and they’re not just for the younger generation either.
Talking of the generations, our members are reporting more multigenerational and family bookings, as parents and kids look to explore and learn together. I’m also seeing more of our operator members visiting agents in stores and taking them on fam trips, both of which are invaluable ways of spreading the word about our sector.
We know agents are very busy, so we’ve designed our Touring and Adventure Month to fit around their schedules. All the training will be on video on our website, touringandadventure.com, so they can watch whenever it suits, and we’ve created themed weeks throughout April to make it easy to focus on the parts of the sector that interest them the most.
We know agents are very busy, so we’ve designed our Touring and Adventure Month to fit around their schedules
The first week is about escorted tours, then expedition cruising, youth and family holidays, and finally adventure. The training will show agents how there is a holiday for every customer, whatever their age, interests or budget.
Our members will offer inspiring content that agencies can use to drive sales, along with selling tips about destinations, activities, value-for-money options and what’s included on tours.
Even if agents are very busy with bookings, I urge them to set aside time to take part in our themed weeks. Perhaps agencies can appoint one member of staff to be their touring and adventure specialist, and they can share their learnings with colleagues during April.
As I outlined at our conference in Birmingham last October, it is no longer a niche sector and the earning potential is huge. And I’ve since heard more stories from agents who have embraced these types of holiday after our event and are reaping the benefits.
We’ve seen a significant rise in the number of agents in Atas, which is heartening, as they are seeing how we can help their businesses, and we’re adding value for our operator members and associate members.
Touring and adventure is no longer a niche sector and the earning potential is huge
Talking of events, watch this space during April as we will be revealing details about the return of our regional events, which offer agents and operators the chance to network face to face.
We’re also finalising exciting plans for our annual Atas Conference, which will return this autumn, bigger and better than ever.
So, be ready for those ‘save the date’ announcements and get involved in Touring and Adventure Month. It’s a super opportunity to turbo-charge your sales, diversify your business and build back better after the pandemic.
Find more about Atas at touringandadventure.com
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