Globus Busts Myths About Coach Tours & River Cruises
with Anna Kroupina
We've seen coach and river tours evolve drastically over the years, but that message hasn't fully reached some consumers' ears, Stéphanie Bishop, Managing Director of Globus family of brands, told trade media at a breakfast held at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
"There are misconceptions that I answer every day, so it's very relevant," said Bishop. "We want to update perceptions, not change them. We want to educate people."
L-R: Chris Jones, Director of Marketing, and Stéphanie Bishop, Managing Director, Globus family of brands.
By hosting the event at the Hockey Hall of Fame, Bishop said they took a page out of their own book, and chose a venue that shattered preconceived ideas of Globus.
“It’s something that people wouldn’t expect,” she said.
Bishop and Chris Jones, Director of Marketing at Globus, shared some of the most common coach and river tour misconceptions with consumers. Here are Globus' five "mythbusters":
Myth #1: River cruising is for old people who love statues and classical music.
"Travel transcends age; it's about interests and experiences," said Bishop.
Travellers cannot be pigeonholed into favouring certain activities based on their age. Cruising is about individual tastes, and even the definition of luxury is different to each one of us, said Bishop.
"Avalon is all about choice," added Jones. "Every port of call has multiple excursions for people to enjoy, both Discovery or Active based."
It could, for example, be discovering a cathedral, hiking into a cave in France to taste wine, joining a tour by a local famous author in Budapest, or canoeing along the Danube.
"It's about choice, flexibility, and the journey. That's the backbone of how we think about travellers; not age. You have to think in terms of experience," added Bishop.
Myth #2: Coach touring is about following someone around with a mini flag.
Coach tours have long evolved from catering to an aged population and dutifully following a guide, says Bishop.
With new technology – such as Globus' new "Whisper" headsets – Globus allows travellers to be more connected than ever, and thereby gives them the freedom to see the sights at their own pace.
Bishop added that private coach tours have been a hit with small groups of friends and family travelling together, such as multi-generational travel or girlfriend getaways.
Myth #3: "Authentic experience" is just marketing buzzword that travel companies are cashing in on. No tour company has anything unique.
The days of cookie cutter travel are gone, says Bishop, and travellers will find a wide variety of travel styles and types of tours to choose from.
Bishop and Jones in the Esso Great Hall at the Hockey Hall of Fame, standing among major NHL trophies and the prized Stanley Cup.
Globus tours feature ‘Local Favourites' that allow guests experience a destination like an insider. And with the brand's GoApps, clients can access their itinerary, maps and suggestions for sightseeing right on their phones without using data.
Travellers also select companies they engage with based on its values, said Bishop.
Myth #4: River cruise operators are all the same, so I should recommend that clients shop by price and the best deal.
"People will pay for experiences. It's about the value of what they're getting, not the price. The best deal is not about the price," said Bishop, adding that it's important to ask the right questions, qualify the traveller, and match the client to the right product.
Each cruise line has that little unique draw that sets it apart from the competition. For Avalon, it's their Panoramic Suites, said Bishop, boasting a wall-to-wall panoramic window with beds facing the exterior.
"Agents know our brand and where our value is and if you work with travel agents, you're going to get fits you," added Jones.
Myth #5: Clients can choose FIT or an escorted tour; there is no happy medium.
This is where Globus' Monograms product comes in, essentially a FIT tour, but with an escort known as a "Local Host" who is there to answer questions, provide area expertise and arrange excursions.
"It's taking that perfectly planned vacation, but having the logistics taken care of," said Jones, calling it "the little brand that could."
It's All About Relationship
As the direct line to the consumer, travel advisors have an important role to play in debunking these myths for the consumer, says Bishop.
"We would not exist without our relationship with the trade."
To help agents expand their knowledge of the Globus family of brands products, the company's BDMs (nine BDMs and one home-based/independent consultant rep) will host advisors on Avalon river cruise FAMs this year. All told, approximately 300 agents from across Canada are expected to participate.
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry