Tour Talk

Globus Focuses on the Simple Life

written by | Posted on December 1st, 2009

Working on the theory that being the best need not be complicated, Globus—which knows something about being the best, considering our readers selected it as Best Tour Operator, Europe for 10 consecutive years, Best Tour Operator for Travel Agent Support for two consecutive years and Best Tour Operator, Asia for three consecutive years—kicked off a new marketing initiative aimed on getting back to the basics, while simplifying agents’ lives.

“Our new campaign embodies a shift in thinking: a promise to improve our agents’ days, their business and their clients’ experiences,” says Steve Born, v.p. of marketing. “To simplify lives is an easy task for a supplier and an absolute necessity for our agents to succeed.”

The whole idea of the campaign is to focus on the simple approach by focusing on client triggers—giving agents hooks they can use to prospect travelers and grow business. For instance, if a client is interested in traveling to Italy for the first time, they might say to their agent, “Can I get around if I don’t know Italian?” or, “I want a hotel in the middle of it all.” After hearing “first time” as well as “worry about how she will navigate the city,” an agent might recommend one of Monograms’ Italian packages, with a Monograms Local Host on site to point first-time travelers in the right direction.

The advertising, too, will reflect that simplicity, as well as support to agents. “We want agents to get exactly what they need as quickly as possible,” says Jennifer Halboth, director of marketing for the Globus family of brands. “Where there were three pages of information, there’s now one. Where there was one page of copy, there’s now a sticker on the outside of a box or a searchable website. This initiative—from print advertising to e-mail communication and training—is designed to give agents the quick and useful insight they need to thrive.”

The new Globus initiative is coming on the heels of record bookings for 2010 driven by a number of factors, including aggressive pricing, river cruise sales with Globus’ Avalon brand and pent-up travel demand by consumers eager to travel internationally again.

“Our 2010 business is astoundingly good. What I mean by that is we have more travelers on the books at this point in time for the coming year than we’ve ever had in our history. Part of that is the return to travel, but also a part of that is a change in the market and a change in our product mix, some of it with more pre-formed group sales and Avalon sales, a river cruise contingent that’s really looking for that early booking,” Born explains. “Part of that is influenced by the fact there seems to be a pent-up demand, particularly for international travel, and the other part is just a good leading indicator that travel is coming back for 2010. It’s really encouraging.”

Still, Born says, the biggest change came about when they looked at their pricing and realized a whole lot of external factors, from exchange rates to market forces, had a major negative effect on 2009 pricing. For 2010, however, the company was able to squeeze up to 20 percent off Europe packages without changing one thing from the 2009 product. Globus also sat down with its major air partners and managed to negotiate still another 20 percent off airfares, which, combined with the land deals, will definitely make 2010 the year to travel.

There’s also a host of new Globus product to sell and, Born says, “I would say the new product is highlighted by the Monograms and the Avalon brand. We’re introducing two new ships in 2010 for Avalon so that growth and river cruise growth overall, is strong.… The other is Monograms, we continue to build that product and there’s a lot of stuff that’s new there, but part of it are new packages and destinations. So overall worldwide, there are about 20 new packages on Monograms.”

There’s still another new Monograms product big ship cruise agents are going to love, Born says. “We’re going to be introducing early in January a style of Monograms that’s a pre/post cruise package.… We’ve aligned all of the 2010 big ship cruises with dates of embarkation and disembarkation cities and we offer a 2-night package in each of those cities that can be either a pre- or post-stay. They can easily add air, which sometimes is a very difficult proposition with what the cruise lines offer. We include the transfer from the port to the hotel; there’s an option for a half-day sightseeing tour the next day, as well as a transfer to the airport. So it’s an easy all-inclusive package priced more aggressively than what they’ll find from their cruise line partners and every element of it is commissionable. So that’s a style of Monograms that’s really going to add some juice and excitement to the product when we introduce it.”