Cruises complement escorted tours by giving customers a taste of what they could see if they had more time in the destination, Insight Vacations’ CEO has said.
In an interview with Travel Daily, John Boulding, CEO of Insight Vacations and director of sales Paul Melinis explained cruise customers that are more focused on the destination than the ship are more likely to turn to an escorted tour and revisit the destinations with more time on their hands.
While the two may initially compete to win the first holiday purchase, he is confident there is a switch after.
“Customers get a taste of destinations on a cruise and then like to go back and experience the real thing,” said Melinis.
Boulding added: “It depends on whether the customer travels for the destination or ship, but people really need to do a tour to see a country properly as with us, the flexibility is endless and the regimentation isn’t there.”
His comments came as Insight Vacations prepares to launch its 2014 brochure which covers all of Europe except Kosovo.
New destinations include San Marino, Andorra and Moldova with an expanded Country Roads programme and welcome receptions on all tours.
The brochure will be available from travel agent stores from 21 October but can already be accessed online.
Boulding also believes Insight Vacations has a step-up on other operators by having more inclusions in its holidays, whether it’s more legroom; free WiFi on coaches or the dining options available.
“With the level of inclusion and flexibility we have, we are not selling on price but the quality of what we offer. I would say to travel agents to not be afraid of putting our brochure on the counter, as there is so much included and there is something for them. There is an important market here in the UK for premium travel; essentially the baby boomers that have time on their hands and want a quality experience,” said Boulding. “Our escorted tours now have more of a focus on authenticity; our customers want to learn more about the country they are visiting and immerse themselves in the culture when they are there.”