Earlier this year, Claire Hanney found herself in Jodhpur, India, riding around in a Jeep.
But, it wasn't just one Jeep ride, it was several - and although the sightseeing was surely incredible, it's not what she was there for.
Currently the head of travel experiences for Luxury Gold, Hanney's job is, quite literally, to seek out and test new luxury experiences in order to curate one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime experiences for your clients who are looking for an elevated luxury holiday.
While in India, Hanney was looking for the best-of-the-best tour guides to lead excursions for the brand's India trips. In the end, she ended up going with a "fantastic gentleman, who also happened to be the mayor of the town," because she was impressed by the connections that he had with his local community; this in turn directly translates into the overall guest experience for Luxury Gold travellers, as they feel much more comfortable being in the hands of an individual who knows and cares about the country they're visiting.
"We constantly conduct trials to figure out what would work best for our guests," Hanney explained. "We make sure that every single aspect of the journey is curated and of the standard that we expect, and then we fine-tune what we already have to ensure every guest walks out happy, because 'mediocre happy' just isn't good enough."
Last night, Luxury Gold and Tourism Ireland hosted a private dinner for members of the media and a select group of travel advisors who are familiar with the brand's luxury product. This year, Luxury Gold has partnered with Tourism Ireland to show off several of the unique luxury experiences available in Ireland, which include a stay at Ashford Castle. The destination also ties in well with the brands' commitment to offering gourmet, Michelin meals, which was highlighted through a culinary demonstration by Chef JP MacMahon, who was flown in from Ireland to create a special meal using ingredients that "go beyond North America's obsession with the potato."
In 2019, Luxury Gold saw a 22 per cent growth in Canada alone, which it owes largely in part to the efforts of its trusted travel advisors.
"We don't currently do any consumer advertising," explained Brad Ford, president, Insight Vacations & Luxury Gold. "Anything and everything we do is channelled through our travel agent partners."
"Luxury Gold is 99 per cent a B2B trade model and our survival depends on you," enthused Brett Tollman, CEO, The Travel Corporation. "Today, it's all about the consumer and they have incredible power, and all that comes with the web, and we're dependent on it as much as you are, so all of our resources go into supporting you."
Who are your Luxury Gold clients?
More often than not, a luxury client is hiding in plain sight.
As Ford pointed out, "luxury" doesn't necessarily come with a steep price tag. Instead, it's about offering your clients an exceptional experience that they can't have anywhere else, whether that means dining with a duchess in the palace gardens, or signing up for an archery lesson or falconry experience at Ashford Castle, which is currently on offer for Luxury Gold's 2020 experiences.
Luxury Gold trips are perfect for clients who enjoy small, intimate group travel that is as flexible as it is customizable. The maximum group size in Europe is 40, but the average group tends to be 32. In Asia, the group size is 18-20 travellers.
According to the team at Luxury Gold, there are seven reasons as to why travellers should consider a luxury holiday with Luxury Gold. They are:
- The opportunity to enjoy exclusive, VIP experiences;
- Exceptional dining venues, often in places that require special access;
- Staying in luxury hotels with guaranteed five-star accommodation;
- Your personal Travelling Concierge, offering guests 24/7 support with absolutely anything they need along the way;
- Luxury travel experiences in every sense;
- A commitment to giving back, through the TreadRight Foundation; and
- Travelling with a company that has strong family values.
While luxury is more about the experience than it is the overall cost of the trip, the brand is still mostly popular with a slightly older clientele, who have started to settle down and start managing their funds, some of which is largely allocated towards finally being able to splurge on a luxury vacation.
"The millennial traveller is certainly conscious of luxury, and certainly interested in travelling in a luxurious manner," Ford explained. "We definitely see a lot of young couples and upwardly-mobile people who are looking to travel with Luxury Gold and have these incredible experiences, which include VIP after-hours experiences, and Michelin dining, but our sweet spot is definitely Baby Boomers, as the concept of time becomes a central figure of why people want to travel in this manner."
At the core of all of its trips, Luxury Gold is proud of its partnership with The TreadRight Foundation, a joint initiative for the TTC's family of brands.
"In a time when some people may turn against tourism as they view it as a polluter of the planet, we're doing our part with TreadRight, where we hope to protect our planet by reducing our footprint and doing what's needed to give back, which includes taking people off the beaten path to avoid promoting overtourism," said Tollman.
With today marking the United Nations' World Tourism Day, with a theme of "Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all", Tollman reiterated the importance of promoting sustainable travel experiences for a unified, peaceful world.
"Travel and tourism helps bring down bridges and tear down walls, rather than put them up, which is what some people intend on doing these days," he said.
About the 2020 Worldwide Collection
The 2020 Worldwide Collection features a mix of old favourites and new adventures, including to Colombia, which is a completely new destination for the company. Three new itineraries include: Elegance of the Pharaohs, Art, Culture & Cuisine of Colombia and Vibrant Eastern Canada & the USA.
In partnership with Tourism Ireland, Luxury Gold is offering several luxurious experiences in Ireland, which has seen a spike in visitors from Canada this year, as more than 4.5 million Canadians claimed Irish ancestry in 2018.
According to Dana Welch, manager for Canada, Tourism Ireland, there are five reasons your Canadian clients will love a luxury experience in Ireland, including:
- Luxury history and heritage;
- People, hospitality, and authentic experiences;
- Ancient heritage: including castles, historic houses, and gardens;
- Canadian connections; and
- The food: Ireland's culinary scene is rapidly expanding beyond the standard pub fare Canadians recall.
Trusted travel advisors can encourage their clients to book early to get the best deals possible with the biggest choice of journeys and departure dates. Luxury Gold is currently offering a 10 per cent Early Payment Discount if guests book and pay in full by Dec. 18, 2019.
For a full list of the exciting 2020 itineraries and Chairman’s Collection experiences, click here.
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