Many clients heading to Europe want to tour their chosen destination or destinations at their own pace. Yes, many tour operators offer such diversity in their product offerings, including customized tours, that agents are sure to find something to suit their clients’ needs, but there are, as you know, those clients who insist on vacationing on their own. That said, many travelers are a bit wary of renting a car and heading into the unknown, but Jeff Coggin, assistant v.p. of travel agency sales, Enterprise Holdings Inc., has quite a few tips that are sure to, as he says, “remove customer barriers to renting internationally.”
Authentic. Local feel. Regional flavor. Immersive experiences. These are concepts many hotel brands are now using to describe their properties, but Destination Hotels, according to Marie Torres, v.p. of branding and marketing, has been conducting business this way for over four decades.
AC Hotels, one of Marriott International’s four lifestyle hotel brands, is “designed,” says Marriott International’s v.p. of lifestyle brands Toni Stoeckl, “for all those creative, well-traveled, entrepreneurial spirits, millennials and other travelers who are constantly on the go."
Loews and Starwood launch new hotel brands.
Goway’s World’s Most Idyllic Islands brochure is a page-turner. The aquamarine waters of the South Pacific beckon on each page; photos of the high-end to luxury resorts are dream destinations; and the island packages offer immersive experiences spilling over with romantic moments and outdoor adventure.
Blue Sky Tours was the first in the industry to create a completely customizable Hawaii vacation, says Levi Sanchez, Blue Sky Tours’ marketing manager. “That spirit is still alive today in the care we put into making each booking perfect for our customers’ Hawaii vacations,” he points out.
Robert Veden, destination manager, Africa & Indian Ocean at Cox & Kings, The Americas, spoke to contributing editor Carla Hunt about the luxury landscape in Africa.
Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts offers upscale clients what they call True Waldorf Service.
Yes, you read right—the company you’ve come to know as Swain Tours is kicking off 2014 by rebranding to Swain Destinations, but don’t worry, the ownership and culture of the organization will remain unchanged and the core values of the family-run business will remain steadfast, the tour operator stresses.
It was just after a scrumptious lunch of trout, fresh tomato and cucumber salad, Georgian cheese and bread, boiled and seasoned potatoes, and ajapsandali (an eggplant dish with bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic and spices) at Valodia’s Cottage in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia when travel agent Elizabeth Koon from Coronado, CA, exclaimed, “You know, Georgia is the new frontier for the sophisticated traveler!”
The booking agents at Jacada Travel, a luxury private-guided tour company headquartered in London, are referred to as “travel designers”—experienced and independent globetrotters who go beyond the pre-set menu of a travel itinerary to build individual, customizable trips, while always keeping the client’s interests in mind.