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Comment: Green shoots are sprouting into fully fledged travel plans

As we approach the final months of this year, the picture of recovery is starting to look clearer, says Chris Townson, UK MD of Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold.

We’ve talked a lot in the past eighteen months about the green shoots of recovery. Many times over that period the concept of recovery was bounced around as being ‘here’ and ‘now’ and many times over those hopes were dashed as we navigated our way through more standstills and disjointed travel.

But as we approach the final months of this year, the picture is genuinely starting to look clearer and brighter, especially with the US opening its borders to travellers from the UK and Europe, testing requirements reducing and the government finally shrinking its red list to just a handful of countries. Confidence and bookings are bouncing back in abundance – those green shoots are sprouting into fully fledged travel plans – and here’s the really good news – those travel plans are bigger and better than they have ever been before.

That’s not to say they are not mindful. Insight Vacations’ new worldwide programme for 2022 will see one of our signature Make Travel Matter experiences on every single trip, making it even easier for our guests to make a positive contribution or get a greater understanding of the people, planet and wildlife in the destinations we visit, and we know this is what guests are looking for.

But they also want to travel in more style and comfort, and with a travel company that is going to hold their hand through the changing travel landscape and requirements in each destination. This trend towards luxury means there is a real opportunity for brands and agents at the higher end of the market. At Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold, we’re seeing a definite move towards guests travelling for longer – in some cases linking two or three itineraries together – and spending more to stay in higher grade accommodation. If travellers are going to make the effort to go abroad, with all the form filling and day 2 testing still in place, they want it to be special. They are also making up for lost time, especially those that make up our typical audience demographic. In many cases they haven’t seen a drop in their income, and at the older end of market they are more acutely aware of the passage of time, so they want to make their next holiday really count.

So what does this mean for agents? It means that the opportunity is there to upsell at every step of the way. Many travellers will be looking for a more luxurious experience across the board, travelling in smaller groups with a more bespoke service, in top-of-the-range hotels, with finer dining and with more VIP exclusive experiences included. They may want to add pre and post accommodation to allow them to acclimatise and make the whole trip more leisurely.

And we can facilitate all that for them – working with premium and luxury escorted touring operators like us make that process seamless for agents. We have meticulously put together breath-taking itineraries that deliver time and time again at the very highest level. Very soon your clients could be having a private dinner overlooking the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, staying in downtown LA in a stunning hotel with the highest open-air bar in the western hemisphere or having sundowners amongst the wildlife in Kruger National Park – things that still didn’t seem possible just three short weeks ago. The opportunity is definitely here and now, and our team is here to help make it happen.

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