Virgin Atlantic has urged agents to ensure they are in the running to be one of four partners taken to Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island for a trip worth £30,000 per person.
The reward trip, part of the airline’s Sky High Club incentive scheme, is being lined up for October 2024 and was unveiled during Virgin’s headline sponsorship of the Travel Weekly Agent Achievement Awards in July.
It will feature two nights in Antigua as well as five on the 74-acre Caribbean island purchased by Branson in 1979.
Nick Johnson, Virgin Atlantic’s senior account manager for agency sales, described the opportunity as a “once-in-a-lifetime trip”, adding: “If you’re not a member of Sky High Club yet, then sign up.”
Johnson spoke to Travel Weekly in the Maldives during the second Sky High Club trip, which hosted five agents across SAii Lagoon Resort, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa.
The agents flew back direct to Heathrow in Upper Class on the first Virgin Atlantic service from Malé on October 23.
Johnson said sales for the route had been “good”, adding that the flights provide trade partners and customers with a greater choice of direct services to the Maldives. Previously, British Airways was the only airline offering a direct route.
Virgin Atlantic’s flights from Heathrow will operate until March every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, with return flights from Malé running on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
Johnson said Virgin Atlantic’s overall trade sales had performed well in recent weeks, adding: “We had a strong September campaign, so thank you to our trade partners for their support, and we’re now ramping up for peaks.”
Among the new destinations being promoted are the Turks and Caicos Islands, with departures from November, as well as Bangalore and São Paulo from May, with the latter offering connections across South America through Latam.
The first Sky High Club trip took 14 trade partners on a Virgin Voyages cruise from Miami to Key West and the Bahamas in June.
Johnson said: “We’ve got more than 4,000 agents signed up to Sky High Club. It’s a simple scheme to register bookings, earn points and then points can be spent on more than 150 high street stores and restaurants, as well as Virgin Atlantic products. There’s also a chance to go on VIP experiential trips and have one-off experiences.”
He added: “Currently we have an incentive to win a trip to Sir Richard Branson’s vineyard, Mont Rochelle, in Cape Town in December and next year will be the once-in-a-lifetime trip to Necker Island for four agents.”
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