It might be a millennial couple going on their honey- moon in Bora Bora, a multi-generational family taking a privately guided tour in Asia, or a retired couple cruising in the Galapagos; luxury clients come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s your job to help them determine the vacation that will fit them best.
CT Magazine recently spoke with Shirley Rourke, wholesale manager at Goway Travel, which she says has a range of “tried and tested” product to appeal to high-end travellers, and a team ready and willing to aid travel advisors in selling luxury product. But what makes Goway an ideal partner? Here’s what you need to know to start out:
- Goway has a variety of luxury offerings within its brands (Asia, Africa, Central & South America, Downunder, Europe and Idyllic Islands).
- Each of Goway’s brands offer “Stays of Distinction,” which are options chosen for their uniqueness, hospitality and quality of service, often in stunning locations. (“Many are the finest accommodation you will find and include private and small group touring for a truly unique special experience,” Rourke says.)
- Luxury to Goway is not just accommodation but also the ingredients that go into its touring experiences, from group or private tours to rail journeys and cruises. Examples are Belmond’s Eastern & Oriental Express, which plies its way through countries such as Malaysia and Thailand; Rovos Rail, which offers
a “luxury vacation on wheels” through South Africa; the Road to Mandalay cruise ship, which sails through the wonders
of Myanmar; and the Aqua cruise vessel, which sails along the Amazon River.
- If it needs to be said, keep in mind that selling luxury travel means more commission and more interesting products to sell.
- Have a client who wants high-end experiences on a budget? For affordable luxury, look to Asia, a continent that offers spectacular experiences at a fraction of the price found around the rest of the globe.
- Trying to plan a one-of-a-kind honeymoon? Goway has curated unique options, including over-the- water bungalows in the Maldives and the islands of Tahiti.
- Want to make your clients feel like movie stars? A top selling high-end Australia itinerary is Ultimate Australia - Sydney, Ayers Rock and the Reef. Cruise Sydney Harbour like a local with no more than 10 guests, stay in a luxury tented camp at Uluru (Ayers Rock) with private touring, and then relax in the rainforest and out on the Barrier Reef in true luxury.
- Planning a family vacation but mom and dad need some space? Goway offers luxury family getaways that include the nanny, so that everyone – even the parents – get time to relax.
TAKE 5 WITH SHIRLEY ROURKE
Wholesale Manager at Goway Travel
Why might travel agents choose to work with Goway when it comes to selling luxury experiences, versus other options in the market?
Some of the other options in the market only cater to luxury, or only cater to luxury group travel, or are specialized just in one or two destinations. Goway provides the client choice: we have six speciality brands offering over 90 countries, all styles of travel, and 47 years of experience doing it! We appreciate that not all luxury clients want the same thing. Some may wish to combine five-star experiences with an adventure product and we fully cater to that. For agents, they do not need to call multiple operators as we are their ‘one stop shop’ and can arrange everything.
What educational resources exist to help travel agents build their luxury business with Goway?
We have weekly webinars which help train agents on all our destinations and products. Our team of destination experts undergo a serious training program and are therefore very knowledgeable and make the quoting and booking process easy for agents. Our destination experts travel to the areas they sell regularly, and are able to offer personal tips on the destinations, be it restaurant suggestions or must- do attractions that may be off the beaten track and which agents may otherwise not necessarily know about. We also offer FAM trips to our agents so they too can experience first-hand what they are offering to their clients. In addition, we host events throughout the year in conjunction with our partners, whereby agents can come to meet the suppliers and learn about their products directly.
How does Goway work with agents and their clients to help close the sale?
We ask a lot of questions. We want to get to know the clients; their likes, dislikes, interests, reason for travelling. Only then can we help personalize a trip for them. We create a customized quote then work together with the agent to fine tune it into the perfect trip. It’s team work! If an agent is new to a destination or needs some assistance, we recommend the agent invites their client into a conference call with Goway. Our brochures are free for the agent or client and are great resources, as is our extensive website. We offer agents personalized marketing material on gowayagent.com to help them sell, a Goway Rewards card once they have booked, and we offer their repeat Goway clients a discount on vacations with us.
What are common questions you receive from travel advisors? How do you address these questions/concerns?
Often, agents are afraid to upsell or offer luxury products because they often do not believe they have this type of client. In our experience, just because a client has seen a cheap vacation deal and has requested that from their agent, it does not mean that this is the right product for the client. Recommendations are powerful.
How can travel agents “upsell” luxury getaways with Goway?
Most of our packages can be customized so there are a lot of ways an agent can upsell with Goway. Agents can offer their clients hotel or room upgrades, VIP meet-and-greet services or fast-track arrival, upgrades to Premium Economy, Business or First Class airfares, upgrades to private touring and specialty excursions (think: a hot air balloon safari in Africa or in the Outback of Australia; private island dinners in the Maldives; palace stays in India; and helicopter visits over Iguassu Falls). If clients can dream it, we can deliver. We also offer VIP luggage bags and ticket wallets.