Touring and adventure operators urged to create longer multi-centre packages

Touring and adventure operators have been urged to collaborate more to create longer multi‑centre packages to satisfy growing consumer demand.

Once in a Lifetime Holidays founder Joan Jones (pictured) said an increasing number of customers are requesting tours followed by beach stays or cruises, but very few companies offer those types of packages. This means agents have to spend time sourcing holidays from different operators and working out how to connect them.

She urged operators at last week’s Atas Summit to take advantage of a “huge opportunity” by linking elements to create packages.

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“We want to build tours into holidays and our challenge is putting those together because there aren’t many companies that do every holiday type, so we have to build them ourselves,” she said. “There is a huge opportunity for more collaboration and creativity in the touring and adventure space and to add beach stays or cruises on to tours.

“A few years ago, I did the Inca Trail in Peru, which was amazing, but I was exhausted afterwards and would have loved to have gone to Mexico for a beach stay. Where do you see an operator offering that package? Operators could be more inspirational and create that type of trip.”

Steve Cox, head of retail sales at Premier Travel, echoed Jones’s thoughts and told operators they are missing out on a sector of the market with the finances to pay for a more bespoke holiday.

“Customers want a tailor-made holiday. They have the money and want to spend it, so the operators can make it happen,” he said.

Jones went on to warn operators she would stop working with them if they failed to maintain commission levels after dropping the price of a tour, adding that she had severed links with companies for doing so.

“We’ve worked with a touring company that would reduce the price of a trip for a customer and then reduce our commission alongside it,” she said, adding: “Don’t guarantee a commission if you lower it. That will make us stop working with you.”

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