Contiki launches 2017-18 program in Vancouver

10-26-2016 12:16 pm
By: Christina Newberry

Contiki Holidays Canada welcomed 45 agents to a launch party for the new 2017-18 itineraries last night in Vancouver. With 21 new itineraries in Europe and five in Asia, there was plenty to talk about.

“Contiki Canada didn’t want to do just a Europe launch,” Sheralyn Berry, director of sales, told PAX. “Asia and Latin America are becoming hotspots.”

The new Asia itineraries take Contiki into India for the first time in 40 years, and adds Singapore as a new destination. The company has also added 600 seats for its popular Thai Island Hopper itineraries.

That said, Europe represents 75 per cent of the Millennial-focused travel company’s business, and Greece remains the top-selling destination, making the new Greek Week itinerary featuring small groups of up to 25 passengers a potential top seller for 2017-18.

In a nod to the way Millennials travel, Contiki has also launched new Limited Edition Summer Series itineraries that allow passengers to explore destinations based on one of three themes: Snap, Munch or Boutique Local.

“Snap is all about upping your Instagram game,” Berry told PAX. “You’ll learn from a professional photographer how to take that beautiful sunset picture or that group shot. You can use a professional camera or, like most Millennials, your phone.”

Munch, of course, is for “the foodiest of foodies,” Berry told PAX. “You’ll eat your way through the Mediterranean, learn how to cook pasta and taste wine throughout Italy.”

Boutique Local highlights “the cutest little small boutique accommodations and little cocktail bars,” Berry said. “These are Pinterest-style rooms for those who don't want to stay in the big, beige European hotels.”

With all of those social media-worthy experiences and photos, Contiki is recognizing Millennials’ desire to connect online with a tour manager-led Facebook group for each tour and free Wi-Fi at all hotels. The first 100 megabytes of Internet use on the coach are also free, Berry said, and after that packages for further coach access are available.

As Millennials face changing schedules – unknown exam dates, new jobs, and so on – Contiki has implemented a 'Freedom Guarantee' that allows passengers to book any trip with a $200 deposit that will not be lost if they change their dates, itinerary or even postpone travel for one to two years.

“There are no penalties at all for changing your mind,” Berry said.

With 35 per cent of Millennial travellers seeking advice from travel professionals, it’s important for agents to recognize that not all young people are looking for the same experiences, Berry told PAX.

“Don’t assume that every student wants high energy." Further, since Millennials spend more money on average on travel than Baby Boomers, “don’t think when a Millennial walks into your office that they’re looking for the cheapest option.”

She said agents should use qualifying questions to match a potential client with one of Contiki’s eight travel styles: Discovery Plus, High Energy, In-Depth Explorer, Easy Pace, Camping, Sailing and Cruise, Festivals and Short Stays, and Winter and Ski. “Agents are really starting to grasp onto this,” Berry said, noting that the sales team can help agents match clients to travel styles if they are at all unsure.

Currently, 40 per cent of bookings coming in to the sales centre are for winter in Europe, Berry said, with passengers booking only 30 to 60 days in advance.

The 2017-18 Contiki Europe brochure is available now, and Asia brochures will be available by mid-November.

For more information, visit contiki.com.

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