For nearly 45 years, Apple Vacations has specialized in providing the ultimate vacation experience for travelers. According to Tim Mullen, co-president of Apple Vacations, the tour operator can book a client’s entire vacation “from flights to hotel transfers to excursions. Apple Vacations is a one-stop-shop for personalized vacations.” The only responsibility left to the traveler is making sure they arrive at the airport the day of their trip.
But Apple’s customer-care services don’t stop there. Upon arrival at the resort, vacationers can count on the assistance of a hotel-based Apple representative (from Amstar Destination Management Company) to answer any questions they may have about the property or excursions booked prior to arrival. “With more than 500 Amstar representatives in Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawaii, our clients are ensured a quality vacation experience,” adds Mullen. Even prior to arriving at the destination, Apple Vacations is at the airport greeting clients before check-in, and again at the destination airport to escort them to the hotel’s transfer service.
And what destinations are Apple Vacations’ clients traveling to? Mullen says the company sends more holiday trippers to Mexico and the Dominican Republic than any other tour operator worldwide, and is among the nation’s largest tour operators to the Caribbean and Hawaiian Islands. But it’s not just the beach that beckons. Apple Vacations offers travel deals to popular ski resorts in Colorado and Utah; European itineraries with accommodations; packaged hotel and tour itineraries in Central American destinations like Costa Rica and Panama; and air plus hotel packages to the Caribbean and Mexico. Furthermore, clients can personalize their vacations by choosing from myriad excursions available at the different destinations.
Additionally, Apple Vacations ups its customer service with its corporate ideal, The Apple Advantage. “The Apple Advantage provides travel agents and their clients with exclusive air inventory on Apple’s vacation flights, charter-only rates at the best hotels and other vacation extras, available because of Apple’s buying power and close relationship with hotel partners,” says Mullen. Another example of how The Apple Advantage comes into play is the tour operator’s hotel ratings systems. Since 1979, Apple Vacations has been monitoring client satisfaction through questionnaires that allow vacationers to rate the hotels and resorts where they’ve stayed, which, Mullen says, is a benefit for travel agents and their clients.
eye on 2013
What’s new for Apple Vacations in 2013? Mullen says it’s all about providing travel agents with cutting-edge marketing tools, such as the company’s exclusive high-definition videos. “We have sent teams of award-winning cameramen to Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean to capture resorts, destinations, excursions, restaurants, attractions and more. Apple Vacations is making these edited video vignettes available to travel agents first before they even hit Apple’s website.” The videos can be shared with clients, agents’ social media platforms and embedded directly on the agency’s website. Apple Vacations also works with travel agents across the country by providing marketing support as well as reward points agents can use toward free trips and merchandise, not to mention 5 percent commission on all published air packages.
To date, Apple Vacations’ top selling destinations are Cancun, Riviera Maya and Punta Cana. Mullen says he has seen a shift in accommodation offerings within these destinations, noting the “overwhelming growth of all-inclusive hotels. Today’s all-inclusive resorts are nothing like the big box all-inclusive from 10 years ago—our hotel partners like Secrets and Dreams, Iberostar, RIU, Palace and Hard Rock are all investing in gourmet menus, onsite golf courses, over-the-top spas and luxury in-room amenities to provide a top-of-the-line guest experience.”
In response to client demand, and anticipating a growing interest in Mexico’s Pacific coast, Apple Vacations has increased its 2013 vacation flights to the area by almost 30 percent. This winter, the company will add 11 new flights to Mexico and the Caribbean from multiple U.S. cities, as well as expand operations into three new markets that include Austin, TX; Des Moines, IA; and Kansas City, MO to such destinations as Punta Cana in the DR; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Mexican destinations like Cancun, Los Cabos, Huatulco and Puerto Vallarta.
“Mexico’s Pacific coast has a lot to offer vacationers,” says Mullen. “Destinations like Los Cabos, Ixtapa, Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit and Huatulco feature modern resorts, soaring mountain ranges, amazing sunsets and great values that compete with Mexico’s ever-popular Caribbean coast.”
Apple Vacations: (800) 517-2000; applevacations.com