A focus on Ireland, better rates for single travellers and more choice are the key elements in Trafalgar’s 2015 Europe and Britain program.
The tour operator invited its travel industry partners to a launch event Tuesday at Toronto’s Ciao Wine Bar, officially announcing the company’s 2015 European itineraries and updated web site, which offers more user interactivity through a social media-friendly interface.
Wolf Paunic, VP of Sales, said that for the 2015 season, Trafalgar has developed 14 new itineraries for Europe and 28 of the company’s trademark Insider Experiences, such as a trek to Ireland’s Torc Waterfall and a guided walking tour along the top of Pont-Au-Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct located in southern France.
“We really wanted to put together something different, not just in name but in substance,” said Paunic, “and with the new brochure we’re talking a lot about the Trafalgar difference, such as our Insider Experiences.”
Liesa Bissett, Trafalgar’s Product Development Manager for Europe, offered attendees a glimpse of the new itineraries, including Classic Italy and Rome, Madrid to Rome, as well as special interest packages such as a tour of the continent’s WWI and WWII battlefields. She added that in 2015, Trafalgar will also be returning to Egypt, following the country’s recent political upheaval, as well as offering a new package called Secrets of Greece and Corfu (a Greek island in the Adriatic Sea) – another popular destination that has been affected by recent internal strife.
While Italy remains Trafalgar’s top destination for clients, Paunic said that the company will focus on Ireland in the coming year (which he said is thanks in large part to the acquisition of Brendan Vacations by The Travel Corporation), offering itineraries that will take travellers to all corners of the Emerald Isle. Among the highlights are the opportunity to stay at Ashford Castle (formerly owned by the Guinness family of stout beer fame and offered through Trafalgar’s Hidden Treasures program) and a tour focused on the sights of Northern Ireland.
Travellers will also have more choices when it comes to add-on excursions offered by Trafalgar in its 2015 itineraries, which are laid out in the brochure in such a way that they can be easily customized by travellers and agents, said Paunic and Bissett. Those options include travels based on a traveller’s personal interests, such as visits to wineries and sites such as the Moulin Rouge in Paris.
Following client feedback, Paunic said that Trafalgar will also be catering to single travellers by waiving or significantly reducing single room supplements in many of the packages offered, usually by about 50 per cent.
“They felt penalized because they have to pay more, so we’ve addressed this by creating portfolios that have been branded for the single traveller,” he said.
Bissett said that Trafalgar’s Cost Savers itineraries remain popular with travellers, including tours of Turkey and the Balkans for 2015.
“It’s about giving them a choice – whether they want the all-inclusive Insider package or a budget-conscious itinerary where value is a priority – we managed to find itineraries that are very similar,” she said.
And while few details were revealed, Paunic also said that the company’s popular Travel Talks events will be updated for 2015.
Trafalgar will unveil its 2015 Asia program at a similar event in Toronto on Sept. 23.
PHOTO: (From left) Marie Anne McRae, VP Strategic Partnerships; Rares Dumitru, Sales Manager, Central and Eastern Ontario; Liesa Bissett, Product Development Manager Europe; Maurizio Mazzola, Sales Manager, Greater Toronto Area; Katherine Chin, PR and Digital Media Specialist; Jeff Element, President, Travel Corporation; Nicole McCallum, National Marketing Manager.