Things have been pretty quiet on the wholesaler front ever since COVID-19 reared its ugly head, but this week’s wrap points to some encouraging signs of recovery.
Intrepid says thank you on National Travel Agent Day
The Intrepid Travel team have penned a letter in celebration and recognition of travel agents to celebrate National Travel Agent Day, which took place on 6 May.
“Since the start of the global pandemic earlier this year, the travel industry has been turned upside down. And although we don’t know when we will get past this, we know that we can’t do it without you,” the letter read.
“Over the course of the past month, with our global operations suspended, we have been collecting letters from travellers all over the world through our #BeTogether initiative.
“Today we’d like to share the first letter that we’ve written: a genuine thank you to you, our agent partners.
“Today is a day we celebrate travel agents all over the world, so we wanted to take the opportunity to express our gratitude for all the work that you do. We know that creating the best travel experiences for your clients is not always an easy job, although you make it seem so effortless.
“So, thank you. Thank you for inspiring your clients to travel with a company that puts sustainability front of mind. Thank you for the adventurous souls you have introduced to our style of travel. Thank you for your dedication. For the early mornings, for the late nights, for the long calls, for the longer email chains… for the passions stirred, for the dreams created.
“Thank you for working with us to change the way people see the world.
“We know this is a challenging time for the entire travel industry, but please accept our sincere appreciation for your continued support, kindness, and understanding. It is difficult now, but we know that together we will get through this – stronger than ever.
“We can’t wait to continue making travel dreams a reality, together. In the meantime, we are never more than a call, email, or live chat away!
“From your friends at Intrepid Travel, we’re here for you.
“Thank you and take care.
Wendy Wu Tours moves offices
Wendy Wu Tours has moved to level 19, 15 Castlereagh Street, Sydney NSW 2000.
The team is still working remotely and will advise as soon as they return to their new office.
As outlined above, the phone numbers will remain the same:
Reservations: 1300 727 998, Phone: 02 922 8888.
More virtual travel experiences from G Adventures
While we all continue to hunker down, G Adventures is bringing the world to our living rooms with a live small group tour to Central America and Mexico, a walking tour of Antigua, and a salsa lesson in Ecuador, all to be enjoyed virtually.
Hot on the heels of the first virtual live small group tour to Italy, which drew in more than 750 virtual travellers globally over two departures, G Adventures hosted a Central America and Mexico as the next destination, to be led by chief experience officer (CEO), Jon. The tour ‘departed’ on Sunday 10 May 2020 at 10am AEST.
For travellers looking to familiarise themselves with the region, Jon has also hosted a new, pre-recorded virtual walking tour of the beautiful city of Antigua, Guatemala. Travellers can join Jon on a tour of the city to learn about some of Antigua’s best-kept secrets, stunning lookouts, and local eats by following this link.
Inspired by ‘Your Moments’ experiences on G Adventures tours, virtual moments cover everything from cooking and wellness to hands-on learning experiences. These will be broadcast once a week, live on G Adventures’ Facebook and Instagram channels. The latest virtual moment is a salsa lesson with CEO Ando, from Ecuador, and is available to watch on G Adventures’ Facebook and Youtube channels. This will be followed by a beginner Italian lesson with CEO Stefano Paris. Travellers will learn the basics and will be available to view from May 11, 2020.
Finally, to bring a much-needed dose of humour to Zoom calls, G Adventures is also introducing animated, animal-themed virtual backdrops. Wildlife is making its way into cities more than ever before, and while we would never endorse being this close to animals in real life due to our animal welfare policy, we can get behind these virtual non-socially-distanced animal backdrops, featuring a friendly giraffe, penguin, sea lion and more. Click to download.
G Adventures will continue to add elements and destinations to the new Virtual Travel Experiences. For more information please visit www.gadventures.com/blog.
Bench Africa launches ‘Home’s Cool’
With many travel agents and clients at home with children, attempting to juggle their work with the pressures of homeschooling, Bench Africa is providing a new level of support.
‘Home’s Cool’ is a downloadable pack of activities and learning opportunities for children created by the wholesaler.
Although the first pack is largely aimed at younger children, there are activities within for older kids, or the young at heart. Each week for the next month, Bench Africa will release a new pack for children of all ages.
The first downloadable pack can be found here.
Crooked Compass launches domestic offering
For the first time, the Australian-owned small group tour operator is offering a collection of domestic itineraries, for travel from November 2020 and throughout 2021 and 2022.
Short-term, this creates a niche offering for Australian travellers; long term, key product is now in place to market internationally, particularly to the US and UK, once borders re-open.
Driven by the demands of Crooked Compass’ sophisticated traveller, less focus is placed on hotel star ratings and more emphasis on the exclusivity of the experiences offered, considered a different kind of luxury by the operator’s clientele.
In keeping with the Crooked Compass ethos, experiences are immersive, culturally sensitive and promote sustainable practices.
The collection will include all states and territories, with additional itineraries such as ‘Torres Strait Islands & the Remote Reef’ and the collection’s flagship luxury itinerary, ‘Australia by Air’, to be released in coming months.
In response to COVID-19, Crooked Compass is offering piece-of-mind on 2020 bookings, honouring 2020 pricing and waiving change fees for bookings postponed to 2021 and 2022. Additional health and safety measures will be implemented on 2020 departures.
ATG restructures with the good of its partners and customers front of mind
The APT Travel Group (ATG) has integrated its reservations call centre with its Australasian sales team to create a single customer-focused team – the customer experience, sales and service team.
This newly created division will be headed up by Susan Haberle, who has moved into a new role of general manager sales, formally head of sales Australasia. Susan will continue reporting to Debra Fox, chief commercial officer.
This has opened an opportunity for ATG’s national sales manager, Scott Ellis, to take on additional responsibilities, which includes heading up the business’ groups division as well as having overall responsibility for the New Zealand sales team.
World Expeditions introduces no-deposit bookings
World Expeditions has introduced a no-deposit booking offer to give travellers the peace of mind to book their next adventure.
The offer is designed to remove any financial risk to travellers, with zero deposit fees applicable upon booking one of the company’s Australian and New Zealand trips in 2020 and 2021.
As well as the no-deposit booking offer, World Expeditions’ domestic divisions have further enhanced their robust operating procedures and practices, adding new measures around COVID-19 to ensure travellers’ safety and minimise the risk of spreading the virus.
The new practices include new screening procedures for clients pre-departure, mandatory temperature taking on tour, rules to ensure all passengers travelling in group vehicles wear masks, and deep cleaning of vehicles and equipment, along with new rules governing food preparation.