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Comment: Why escorted touring must now be top of mind for agents

Glen Mintrim, Wendy Wu Tours chief executive, says demand for touring is higher than ever and agents need to tap into this sector

A new year and a new opportunity for travel and now, more than ever, there is absolutely no better time, in the wake of the anxiety-inducing pandemic, for agents to recommend an escorted tour to clients.

Previously there were people who shied away from escorted touring, citing that being in a group wasn’t for them, but now ‘being in a group’ is what matters most.

Formerly independent travellers are now drawn to the safety and reassurance of touring, drawn to the attraction of the care and service of a guide.

The guide’s role has undoubtedly become so much more integral, not only to make the experience exceptional but also providing that level of confidence, reassurance, and security that everything is being carried out to plan. Never has there been a time when that all-in-one, total level of comfort and reassurance, matters the most.

So how can agents maximise the opportunities in escorted touring?

First and foremost be confident that client demand is there, people want to travel, and clients are waiting for you to reach out to them.

Go out to clients with suggested itineraries based on what you know about them. Be specific and deliberate in this, as this will ignite the sales process.

Speak to Atas operators such as ourselves who can help you with this, matching specific tours with your clients’ interests.

This level of attention and service will make all the difference, where it’s that high-level of personal service that is the differentiator. The quicker you act, the more confident your clients will feel.

Being a member of Atas is also a great benefit for us and our fellow member suppliers as it means we can work very closely with travel agents to share our marketing, training, tips and other insights and information.

Through online channels, and in person at events and conferences, Atas brings agents and operators together throughout the year – and the association has been especially busy promoting the great peaks offers that are available for agents to sell during this key turn-of-year period.

Confidence, reassurance, and safety – while ensuring the same level of authentic experiences – are the new parameters in travel; they matter most to your clients.

Escorted tours have really come into their own now, taking away all the pain points, worries and stress of travel and, as such, the value of an escorted tour is now greater than ever.

When agents articulate this to clients, they’ll get them on a great trip, giving their clients a fantastic time and, for the agent, great earning potential with commissions based on the value of the overall tour.

The most important thing is to be the source of truth and facts for clients. There are so many myths and mistakes concerning travel and it’s our obligation to keep people posted about what is really going on in travel right now.

People are travelling: we’re testament to this, and have continued to operate tours throughout 2021, with a series of highly successful tours in Scotland, scoring some of the best customer satisfaction levels we’ve ever seen.

We have expanded our European touring programme for 2022 with a range of holidays in Portugal, Italy, and Greece, all making travel so much more accessible, plus running groups to Sri Lanka in February and March.

Safety has always been and remains our number one priority and, as such, we have introduced new health and safety measures across all our hotels, transportation, and excursions, ensuring all holidays go above and beyond the safety requirements expected from our customers.

So, our obligation with Atas, as one industry body, is to remind people that life is about adventure and experiences, and not to put off travelling, but rather to seize the opportunity and to see the world, while we can.

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