Contiki welcomed the media, travel trade and social media influencers to Toronto’s Drake Hotel last night (Oct. 10) to celebrate the launch of its 2018/19 Europe summer brochure – with the new Independent Insider travel style taking centre stage.
Contiki Canada President, Gabrielle Nydam, was joined by Vice-President Sheralyn Berry, Jeff Element (president, The Travel Corporation Canada) and Brett Tolman, global CEO, The Travel Corporation at the event, which also saw millennial influencers Nadine Sykora, Andrew Gunadie and Michael Rizzi take to the stage to share reflections on their own travel experiences.
The new Independent Insider travel style, Nydam told PAX, was the culmination of extensive research into the travelling habits and preferences of millennials.
“One thing that we found with millennial travellers is that… 67 per cent of them wanted more choice, they wanted more options and different alternatives,” she commented. “They wanted to have more freedom on trips, but then 74 per cent still wanted more social connection and they wanted the social component.”
Replacing the ‘Easy Pace’ travel style, Independent Insider’s main selling point is the freedom and flexibility it offers travellers. With a tagline of ‘Designed for Freedom,’ it features no structured itineraries, with multiple start and end destinations on each trip – while retaining well-known Contiki features such as Trip Managers with local knowledge, and hotel and transportation coverage.
“They [millennial travellers] want Contiki, but they want to dial up choice and freedom,” said Nydam. “So we saw it as an opportunity of reaching our independent travellers, but designing it in a Contiki way.”
The new Independent Insider itineraries are offered for several European cities with trips ranging from 3-12 nights – offering three nights in each city, with travellers having the option to choose between one, two, three or all four destinations.
Immersive food experiences are also to the fore in the new offering, with emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients and authentic, region-specific meals.
Sheralyn Berry, vice president of sales, Contiki Canada; Gabrielle Nydam, president, Contiki Canada; Jeff Element, president, The Travel Corporation Canada.
The brochure itself, meanwhile, features 26 new trips, with Berry noting Great Britain, Portugal and Iceland as three of the most popular destinations among the new offerings. Also notable is the extension of the Early Payment Discount by a month, now extending from Oct. 18 until Feb. 21, 2018 – “giving travel agents the opportunity to make sure that they’re offering the best deal to their client,” said Berry.
Other new features highlighted at the event include a new partnership between Contiki and Air Canada Vacations, which will allow travellers to avail of air packages on top 5 European experiences, and use $50 vouchers towards free-time add-ons.
Berry also emphasized the significance of the evening’s theme, centred around the question of how travel can make us better humans. “Some of the biggest feedback, the biggest stories that we’ve come back with is, ‘this last trip really changed me,’” she said. “People see travel as an opportunity to grow as an individual, and that’s definitely a theme this year when it comes to everything that we’re doing.”
Agents can win one of Contiki’s new Europe trips for 2018 for themselves, a loved one or an old customer by entering its forthcoming contest – set to launch on Oct. 18 – and sharing their thoughts on why travel makes better humans.
The full video of the event, including the panel discussion with social media influencers, can be viewed by clicking here.
Agents can also get a closer look at Independent Insider below.