Pent up demand following a dip last year, coupled with “a very strong proposition” on rates and free flights have the stars aligned for Insight Vacations as travellers rebound back to Europe in 2017.
Insight Vacations’ Global CEO, John Boulding, in Sydney this morning told Travel Weekly the “mood has changed” regarding travel to Europe following months of geopolitical uncertainty, evidenced by an instant uptake in bookings for its new Europe 2017 programme, released just this past week.
“Our key message is our guests can travel with ease and confidence, and get great value. When you’re on your own, you’re on your own,” Boulding said, referring to the benefits of travelling in an escorted group capacity.
He added that with Insight Vacations’ relatively small group size of a maximum 40 passengers, they are somewhat more nimble to change hotels or plans should unfavourable conditions arise, using the recent Turkey incidents as an example.
“We deal with 800,000 people a year travelling to Europe. We’re there on the ground to take care of passengers 24/7.”
To further bolster sales, for first time Insight are offering fly-free packages on 16 days or more Europe 2017 tours, plus heavily discounted flights on those outside the parameters. Three out of its top five Europe and Britain 2017 bestselling tours meet the criteria, which coupled with a favourable sterling, are giving momentum to early bookings according to Boulding.
The new 2017 Europe programme nett land and air combined rates are lower year-on-year due to the currency fluctuations caused by Brexit, making for even more compelling reasons to book early, Boulding said, however stipulated they were not a “price led operator”.
Two new Scandinavian itineraries, as well as a 15-day tour of Warsaw and the Baltic States are also on offer in the new 2017 programme. A series of new Signature Experiences are also expected to set Insight apart from competitors, with guests provided exclusive access to various sights but also artisans, chefs, storytellers and local experts. For the first time in 2017, guests on a number of Premium Italian itineraries will enjoy a private after-hours dinner inside the Vatican Ethnological Museum.
Boulding also said a push to ensure key messaging differentiating its two various product offerings under the Insight umbrella, Premium journeys and Luxury Gold, was important to the success of the two identities to fuel further growth. While both offer luxury escorted tours, Gold guests are spoilt with Michelin fine dining options and enhanced private VIP experiences.
New this year is the expansion of its Luxury Gold to a worldwide portfolio featuring 15 new itineraries, nine new countries, two new continents and a voluntourism extension for the first time.