Wholesalers

Agents give tour operators the edge: Back-Roads Manager

We all know that agents are valuable when it comes to booking a holiday, but what about from the trade perspective?

According to Back-Roads Country Manager, Dennis Basham, tour operators and wholesalers rely on travel agents to keep them ahead of the curve and on-trend with their products.

In an exclusive chat, Basham told Travel Weekly one of the key ways they choose their next destination or tour product is through the feedback they get from agents.

“We try and stay ahead of the trends and emerging destinations by talking with our preferred agents and tourism partners and incorporating this into our program,” Basham said.

“Back-Roads Touring is preferred with all major agency chains in Australia & New Zealand and this is where the majority of our business comes from.

“Touring can be considered confusing especially if bundled with other products. Most often an agent is required to also assist with airfares, pre/post accommodation & insurance, so why not let the experts take all the hassle out!

“Guest feedback also plays an important role here,” he added.

“With high repeat clientele we are often the first to hear where our guests want to go to next via their feedback!”

Dennis Basham
Dennis Basham

Basham admitted that OTAs have made a big move into the traditional travel space, and it’s a part of the landscape wholesalers can’t afford to ignore these days.

“Many of our guests have done their research online prior to booking so our presence online is quite crucial in helping passengers in the research and dreaming phase of the purchase,” Basham told TW.

“There are a couple of OTAs who present touring well, however there are opportunities to improve in this area.

“Personally I think there is room for both as everyone likes choice and flexibility to book with who they want and when they want.”

As for his secret marketing sauce, Basham revealed it was about authenticity and word of mouth.

“For me the secret is to keep doing what we do well by sticking to our true DNA of authentic local experiences and guides, delivering unique, mostly all-inclusive tours to destinations not commonly experienced by bigger operators,” he said.

“This allows us to continue to be different and it is our hope that agents automatically think of Back-Roads when they identify this is the type of touring their clients would appreciate.

“By continually being great at what we do, we hope word of mouth continues to spread and often this is the best form of marketing.”

Back-Roads has added new products recently to cater for changing demand, including “barges in France and sailing in Croatia and Italy”, which Basham explains helps to expand the product “beyond traditional small coach touring experiences only”.

Back-Roads has even added the option of a Dubai stopover tour, for travellers wanting a niche way to break up a long-haul flight to Europe.

The majority of Back-Roads tours start in major capital cities, making it easy for international travellers to access.

But that’s not where they stop, Basham assures us.

“Once on route, Back-Roads tours certainly move to a more regional focus to take a more scenic journey, avoiding busy motorways.

“Our guests tell us they enjoy the flexibility of having a driver & guide who bring their expertise to the trip but also enjoy the leisurely paced itineraries and free time to self-explore.

“Our guests often compare our tours as a self-drive itinerary without them having to do the driving which is why I believe our tours are so popular. They are after unique experiences where they can mix and mingle and feel like a local.”

Basham also told TW that the younger crowds have started making appearances on tours.

“We are starting to see a slightly younger audience on tour breaking away from the cliché that coach touring is only for those in their 60’s, 70’s or 80’s,” he said.

“I believe that because we offer small group touring for between 15-18 guests we attract more single travellers as it is not as intimidating for them when travelling alone.

“Back-Roads touring started over 25 years ago as the Battlefield experts and the product range and offering has grown from there.  Our new 2018 brochure has just been released and we now offer 50 tours with over 700 departures, many already guaranteed.

“But it doesn’t stop there, we have big plans to keep growing!”

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Aviation

British Airways suspends flights to Cairo

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has updated its travel advice to Egypt in line with this move by the UK airline.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Tourism

NTIA 2019 winners revealed!

Did you attend the NTIAs as a finalist but got so blind that you can’t remember if you won? All is revealed here.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Passenger cops $150,000 fine for “one of the most serious cases” of flight disruption

Turns out there are serious consequences for disruptive mid-flight behaviour, especially if it’s so bad that you prompt a military escort like this woman did.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Industry heavyweight urges stronger regulations for commercial Airbnb operators

It turns out around 50 per cent of Airbnbs are commercially run, as opposed to travellers renting out their space or uni students listing their cupboards for a quick buck.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Wholesaler wrap: Chimu Adventures milestone, AAT Kings deals extended + more!

It’s Monday, and Travel Weekly has just the thing to help you sober up from the NTIAs (and no, it’s not a Bloody Mary): a wholesaler wrap!

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Boeing dedicates more than $70 million to families for 737 MAX near-term relief

by Christian Fleetwood

Boeing expects to recognise an impact to earnings as a result of the 737 MAX grounding when it releases its second-quarter results this week.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

STUDY: Aussie travellers among the most confused and inconsistent tippers

Ever arrived in a new country and realised you have no idea who you’re supposed to tip for what? Find a few handy pointers for you and your clients right here.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Tourism

Travel DAZE early bird ticket deal ends Friday, with a further 15 per cent off all week!

We’ve taken the early bird ticket deal to the next level with a 15 per cent discount for this week only! You can thank us by sending chocolates and booze.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Airline apologises after Tweeting which seats are least likely to survive a crash

It’s something we’ve all thought about while mid-air, but do we really want to know which seats are most likely to survive a plane crash? Well, thanks to this airline, we now have an answer.

Share

CommentComments

Breaking News

Wholesalers

Wendy Wu comments on CEO departure

Much like Elvis, Wendy Wu Tours’ global CEO has officially left the building. Here’s what the lady herself had to say about it.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Flavour of the Week: Small Group Touring Co.’s new recruit, Linkd Tourism secures Port of Seattle + MORE!

Flavour of the Week induces two things on a Friday: nostalgia over Craig David and a succession of travel professionals falling asleep at their desks.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Airbnb’s giant ‘Wienermobile’ is sure to satisfy your hot-dog-loving clients

by Christian Fleetwood

In what is a quintessential Friday story, Travel Weekly has delivered this ‘franktastic’ and ‘blunderful’ news for all your hot-dog-loving clients.

Share

CommentComments