3 ways to sell a premium tour

With premium touring product on the rise, Laura French asks three operators how to sell a more comfortable kind of guided adventure

1. “Target clients looking to combine active trips with added comfort”

Brian Young

Brian Young, managing director EMEA, G Adventures

Young’s 30-plus-year career has taken him from a Club 18-30 rep to G Adventures managing director for the EMEA region. Drawn to the company’s focus on purpose-driven travel, he continues to drive innovation in the industry and establish the operator as a trendsetter in sustainable adventure travel.

“We launched our premium-focused Geluxe Collection late last year because we realised there was a gap in the market for upgraded trips that focus on being active but also provide one-of-a-kind accommodation, elevated dining and a focus on community and culture.

It’s been our most successful launch to date in terms of the speed of uptake and number of bookings, and we’re getting a lot of first-time customers, especially through our trade partners – so it’s a good idea to target clients who might not have thought about touring before to capture a new segment.

When selling a premium tour, it’s key to emphasise the unique experiences and accommodation. Geluxe tours include a ‘Your OMG Day’ where travellers can choose between two different, standout travel experiences – from a 4×4 safari in the Sahara to a rowing boat ride and yoga session in the Himalayas.

We also include at least one exceptional property, chosen for its impressive history, design or surrounding experiences, so highlight this too. Spread the net wide: our premium tours are proving especially popular with 40-plus females travelling solo, but we’re also seeing a lot of couples looking to connect with like-minded travellers and immerse themselves deeper into the destination, so don’t limit your market.”

Canyoning in Costa Rica

2. “Highlight the ease of touring in logistically challenging destinations”

Richard HeyRichard Hey, head of agency sales, Cox & Kings

As head of agency sales for Cox & Kings – one of the world’s longest-established travel companies, dating back to 1758 – Hey draws on more than 20 years’ experience in the industry. He is passionate about building relationships with agent partners and crafting extraordinary journeys for discerning clients.

“One misconception about escorted touring is that it means being herded onto a large coach with limited flexibility in the itinerary, so be sure to dispel that myth. Our premium tours feature small groups, expert guides and bespoke itineraries tailored to our clients’ interests, so make sure clients are aware of this.

The benefits of a luxury escorted tour are manifold, especially in more unusual or logistically challenging destinations. For clients who haven’t been on an escorted tour before, agents should highlight the ease and peace of mind that comes with expert planning and 24/7 on-the-ground support.

In remote locales such as the Silk Road and Machu Picchu, a premium tour ensures a smooth trip without sacrificing comfort or memorable encounters. This is perhaps why we see strong demand for farther-flung destinations like India, Egypt and Japan, as well as epic train journeys and African safaris.

It’s also important to highlight the value a premium tour can provide. Cox & Kings’ global connections translate into unbeatable value, and our tours include nearly all meals, porterage and gratuities, so clients know how much they’re spending from the get-go.”

Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji, Japan

3. “Do your research to offer the right product”

Kelly walker

Kelly Walker, director of sales UK, Europe and Ireland, TTC Tour Brands

As director of sales for the UK, Ireland and Europe at TTC Tour Brands, Walker works across the group’s Contiki, Trafalgar, Costsaver, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold portfolios. Walker joined the TTC Tour Brands team in January 2024 from easyJet holidays, where she had been head of distribution.

“For a premium tour brand, it’s all about going that extra mile. It’s not necessarily down to how many Michelin-starred restaurants or five-star hotels are featured, but those exceptional moments that stay with you – and this is what we’re finding our guests are wanting more and more.

So, highlight those extra-special experiences, whether it’s meeting a Navajo expert while exploring Monument Valley, as featured on Insight Vacations’ Enchanting Canyonlands tour, or meeting a local oyster farmer, offered on the Country Roads of Croatia itinerary.

I also recommend emphasising the focus on sustainable, conscious travel that premium tours often highlight: our Make Travel Matter experiences are centred on responsible travel and are chosen based on the positive social or environmental impact they have, so be sure to draw on this when selling. But my top tip is to get to know your client inside out.

What do they need to see on an itinerary to tick all their boxes? A client’s first tour experience won’t be their last if you really get to know their needs, whether it’s checking the pace of the tour will work for them or that the dining options will suit their taste. Make sure you do your research to offer the right product; customers will thank you with loyalty and repeat bookings.”
PICTURES: G Advenutres; Unsplash/Manuel Cosentino; Alex Treadway

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