With more than 83 years of tour operator experience tucked under their respective belts, the Globus family of brands—Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and its river cruising product, Avalon Cruises—could be more than expected to have a pretty good grasp on vacation planning.
And they do, as evidenced by the fact that for the 11th straight year they captured Recommend’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Tour Operator, Europe and for the fourth straight year, they were named Best Tour Operator, Asia by Recommend readers. But what makes them particularly effective and undoubtedly what’s engendered the obvious loyalty of the agent community, offers Steve Born, v.p. of marketing for Globus, is the company’s ability to not only respond to the needs of the marketplace, but its focus and commitment to agents as genuine travel industry partners, perhaps the very reason they’ve been awarded the Best Tour Operator for Travel Agent Support for three consecutive years.
“Our perspective is that we really take action and create programs, policies, product, service levels—everything on behalf of the agent. It’s almost like the voice of the agent is present here literally and figuratively every day. That’s something that you can’t create artificially—you either have it or you don’t,” Born says. “I think that the Recommend award is testimony to the fact that that’s what we live and breathe and if it helps an agent’s life and makes things easier to sell and more specifically sell our vacations, then we’re on the right track.”
While Globus is more than pleased with that 11th straight win in the European marketplace, Born is fairly pragmatic about the award, pointing out that after 83 years of developing and improving its European product—which is, after all, right in the backyard of its parent company—Europe vacations are primarily what the company has not only cut its corporate teeth on, but it’s also the market they know better than anyone else.
Which is why, he says, “We’re particularly proud of the Asia award because Europe is mainly what we’ve been known for over the last 83 years. So for us, Asia has been identified as an emerging destination and something that we really committed to both from the product support and the agent support years ago. So I think in this case, that’s a reflection of that dedication to the area. I think it starts with the combination of our product—we have touring product, independent product and river cruise product in Asia—because there’s a lot to choose from.”
More importantly, he points out, “I think that we were in the forefront in trying to build the China business both on land and in river cruising and in addition, I think our range of products in Japan and our leadership there is probably testimony to that. So, when you have the product, along comes the sales support and the marketing support to go with it.” As a result, he adds, “The fact that agents are recognizing that and seeing us as a real player to Asia is particularly rewarding.”
That commitment to its current Asia product line has also been expanded into the evolution of even more, with its more independent-style touring company, Monograms, adding three new vacations to Asia in 2011 in an effort to reach out beyond what Born calls the “tried and true” Asia vacation product.
“One is Flavors of Vietnam and Cambodia, which has become more and more an emerging Asian destination. Then we have the Best of Thailand—you know Thailand has shown growing appeal from the U.S. and our agents so we’re trying to tap into that,” Born explains. “We also have a new India vacation under the Monograms brand. So I think that by trying to reach out beyond those tried and true standard Asian destinations has been something that helped us.”
There’s still more new Asia product coming in from the Globus side, with two new tours for 2011, one of which is called Intriguing China and Tibet, that’s one of the company’s small group journeys allowing just a maximum of 20 travelers on those vacations. “That does a couple of neat things,” Born explains. “One is that it provides all the benefits of an escorted tour experience but does it in a way where clients have a little bit more intimate access behind the scenes that a small group affords.”