“In today’s world, it’s all about choice and flexibility,” says Stéphanie Bishop, managing director at Globus family of brands.
The tastes of today’s traveller is constantly evolving, and with that, so is the definition of touring.
At Globus family of brands, a family-run, privately-owned tour operator now in its 91st year, the essence of seeing the world (and creating compelling packages that customers will love) is guided by three pillars – freedom, price point and unique experiences.
Those pillars are the backbone to Globus’ upcoming offerings and itineraries for 2020.
“A lot of companies have great products, but how you bring product and programs to light to meet the needs of an evolving traveller is really what it’s all about,” Bishop told trade media at an informal press conference hosted by Globus on Wednesday (Sept. 11) at The University Club in Toronto.
Globus’ 2020 itineraries are vast and wide-ranging, running the gamut of escorted tours, river cruise and independent travel packages.
Diversity and variety are at the forefront of the company’s new brochures (hot off the press just yesterday), which feature 61 new travel adventures, said Bishop.
Ever thought about an adventure into Northern India? How about a tour through Irish manors and castles? Or maybe a Russian River Cruise on board the M.S. Chernishevsky?
In short, Globus’ travel options for 2020 are endless. “There’s a million ways of travelling,” Bishop said.
Among the company’s new initiatives include adding the Mediterranean to its popular Undiscovered series, an off-the-beaten-path program that shows the local, authentic sides of destinations, beyond the usual tourist spots.
Globus launched the series in 2018, starting with an Italy-based program called “Off the Beaten Piazza,” which was followed by "Undiscovered Britain," a program in partnership with VisitBritain launched earlier this year.
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The Undiscovered series is just one example of how Globus is offering more choice to today’s discerning traveller.
“There’s still a lot of misconceptions about touring, from the pace to scheduling,” Bishop said. “In today’s world, you can tour more independently.”
And it pays to have an expert team of tour directors on the ground, in destination, to help guide the decision-making process on how tours should look and where they should go.
“Our product people are extremely passionate about their regions,” said Chris Jones, Globus’ newly-hired director of marketing. “They take on relatively small regions, they read all the reviews that come in from surveys. They really know the nooks and crannies that they want to take their guests to.”
Travelling the Globus way
The tours offered by Globus span across four unique brands, each designed with a different type of traveller in mind:
- Globus – first-class, fully escorted vacations with 182 itineraries across 68 countries. Perfect for baby boomers, empty nesters, retried couples, groups, multi-generational/families and ocean/rivers cruisers.
- Cosmos – fully-escorted value vacations with 126 itineraries across 64 countries. Perfect for solo travellers, young couples, repeat travellers, multi-generational/families, groups and teachers.
- Monograms – independent travel packages with local hosts with 123 itineraries across 42 countries. Perfect for past touring clients, independent/FIT travellers, first-timers to a destination, honeymooners, baby boomers, multi-generational/families, cruise clientele, young professionals and girlfriend getaways.
- Avalon Waterways – small ship river cruising with 80 cruises across 20 countries. Perfect for ocean cruises, retired couples, empty nesters, baby boomers, second honeymooners and groups.
According to Bishop, the tours that are most popular are the “Panoramas” packages offered under the Globus and Cosmos brands.
These are comprehensive trips that cover multiple countries/states/provinces.
“Which tells me there’s still a lot of first-timers out there,” Bishop said. “There’s a lot of Canadians who have not been to Europe. First-timers are discovering touring.”
Baby boomers are also driving the touring scene.
“They’re re-discovering touring and all of its diversity and flexibility,” Bishop said. “They’ve been there, done that, they’ve travelled for business, they’ve had successful lives. Now, it’s their time to have a good time.”
Intimate, customizable experiences are at the heart of what travellers are looking for, said Bishop, and that plays a key role in how Globus approaches its products.
“It’s all about experiences. [Travellers] want to be connected,” Bishop said.
Touring also isn’t the regimented experience it once was, Bishop noted. Cosmos Lite, for example, is an arm of the Cosmos brand that lets travellers plan their adventure, à la carte, by offering the freedom to pick and choose how they want to spend their day.
Touring doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank either.
“People might think it’s expensive to take a tour. It really isn’t when you break down what’s included,” said Bishop.
In addition to seeing multi-generational travel and more young people enter the fold, Bishop said Canadians are becoming more open to seeing Europe off-season, during the fall/winter, when they, traditionally, would fly south to warmer climates.
This is where Globus’ “Escapes” option comes into play. Now in its third year, the program offers off-season vacations combining itineraries in popular destinations, minus the crowds.
And don’t be surprised if you see more Canadian musicians on board with Avalon Waterways.
Following the success of singer Jann Arden hosting a cruise, more Canadian artists have come onto the cruise-hosting scene, including Johnny Reid, Sam Roberts and Jim Cuddy.
In praise of travel agents
“We live and breathe with our relationship with our retail travel agent partners. They’re the backbone of our business,” said Bishop.
Travel agents selling Globus can access nine BDMs across the country, in addition to a dedicated groups and inside sales department.
And there’s a reason for that.
“A lot of people thought the age of the travel agent is gone and I can tell you that’s so far from our reality,” Bishop said. “They’re very important and an integral part of our success. We value them tremendously.”
While booking travel can be a complex business, it’s Globus’ mandate to assist agents so they can ultimately shine for their clients.
“Our goal is to make them look like they’re the tour operator,” Bishop said.
Globus’ new itineraries for 2020 span across North America, Europe, South America, Asia and the South Pacific.
Travel agents are urged to visit agentlingo.ca for more information on the itineraries, as well as trade-specific training and resources.
There’s also a new Facebook group for agents to help facilitate training and discussion around Globus’ four brands. Members are encouraged to ask questions – to both the Globus team as well as other travel advisors – and share photos.
To join this invitation-only group, agents are requested to contact their local BDM or visit www.agentlingo.ca.
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