Insider Journeys: six months on

Insider Journeys: six months on

Insider Journeys has emerged from its first six months as a fresh faced brand with a truckload of experience.

They left Travel Indochina behind in February 2015 and launched a complete rebrand to focus on imagining stories and going deeper into experiences.

And at the other end of the first tunnel, the brand has emerged with tangible results.

The company’s Small Group Journey forward sales revenue and passenger numbers are both up over 10% year on year, while results have been particularly strong for destinations for which a new brochure has been released:

  • Japan sales are up 69% year on year since the brochure was released in April 2015;
  • India sales are up 109% year on year since the brochure was released in August 2015.

Insider Journeys managing director, Paul Hole, is uplifted by the results, and attributes the strong showing to better connecting with what travellers want.

“It’s about seeing stories that inspire travellers” Hole told trade media at a briefing last night.

“It’s not about ticking off the bucket list anymore; it’s about meeting people and telling stories.”

“Today it’s not about the photograph of the Buddhist temple, it’s about meeting the monks of that temple, it’s about the exchange that our travellers have with those monks, it’s about the insights that they take away from that meeting. That’s what’s important to them.

“Experiential travel is not just a trend. Our customers are telling us that it is the future of travel and it’s booming.

“I’m extremely proud of our results to date since the rebranding. Such a significant rebrand can result in a significant dip in awareness and sales. We have defied this trend and delivered strong returns in the first six months since introducing Insider Journeys to the market.”

Insider Journeys Asia River Cruising Front CoverA recent travel survey has also shown the travel agents are also relating well to the brand change.

88% of travel agents reported being aware of the rebrand, 95% were able to identify Insider Journeys’ key travel style, nominating Small Group Journeys, while 70% reported a likelihood to use Insider Journeys for their next Asia booking.

Likewise consumers have rated Insider Journeys well, with 97% indicating they would travel with Insider Journeys again in reviews collected by the independent review company Reevoo.

But Insider Journeys isn’t resting on its laurels, instead making sure they stay ahead of the curve.

“It’s not about putting a new lick of paint on it,” general manager, customer experience and marketing Joe Ponte told trade last night, adding that on top of new products, staff and BDM training has been reorganised to make sure they reflect the brand message.

“This is not a brand evolution, but a revolution.”

Ponte described the fresh brochures being unveiled as “easy for agents and customers to understand,” and said the new products take “small group touring and smash it together with river cruising.”

Along with several new itineraries in the latest portfolio of Small Group Journeys for 2016, there was also the introduction of a new product style combining small boat river cruising and small group journeys into one product offering, the comprehensive guide provides the insider knowledge on small group journey travel in Asia.

The first such offering is its ‘Mekong & Beyond’ small group journey, which combines a complete river cruise and land tour for a 16 day two country exploration through Cambodia and Vietnam that includes 7 nights’ hotel accommodation and 8 nights’ cruising.

Insider Journeys SGJ Front CoverThe 2015-17 Asian River Cruising brochure features itineraries across Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, India, and China, the most comprehensive cruising brochure yet, which also includes information on three new river cruise ships, the Mekong Eyes, Pandaw, and RV Anawrohta, operating on more than 25 river cruises.

The beautifully crafted ‘Pandaw’ ships have also been introduced into the Insider Journeys stable and their new itineraries include:

  • A 15 day The Mekong: From Laos to China river cruise on the mighty upper Mekong River, from Vientiane to tropical Xishuangbanna in southern Yunnan, China, with an overland side trip to Burma.

From $11,932 (AUD) per person twin share.

  • An 11 day Red River Vietnam river cruise on the Red River Delta cruising into Ha Long Bay. The RV Angkor Pandaw sets sail from Hanoi on a round-trip adventure that includes scenic national parks, historic villages and hilltribe communities.

From $4,618 (AUD) per person twin share.

“We’ve continued to expand our river cruise offerings to keep up with travellers’ seemingly insatiable appetite for new experiences along Asia’s fascinating main rivers,” Hole added.

“Increasingly, passengers are discovering how river cruising throughout Asia provides a unique opportunity to gain greater access and deeper insights into a way of life that has remained relatively unchanged.”

“I don’t think of us being in the travel industry. I think of us as being in the happiness business,” Hole concluded.

“The fact is that every day, together we make it possible for our travellers to have these types of travel experiences. And when we get that right, we can quite literally change and enrich people’s lives.”

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