Interested in working with Canada’s leading small ship expedition cruise company? We spoke with Adventure Canada’s Matthew James Bradley-Swan about what travel advisors should know about the product & how to sell it.
For travel advisors seeking to offer truly unique experiences to clients, expedition travel may be just the thing. Not only are commissions lucrative, but working with the right partners and pairing the right experiences with your clients will nearly guarantee repeat business and referrals in the segment.
One company interested in expanding its relationships with travel advisors is Adventure Canada, a family-owned and operated business, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
“With only 200 passengers and fleet of 20 Zodiacs, our expedition vessel, The Ocean Endeavour, is welcoming, comfortable, safe and appealing to those who seek the road less travelled,” Matthew James Bradley-Swan, director of business development for Adventure Canada, tells CT Magazine. “Each of our voyages offer access to remote locations, opportunity for learning from engaging experts and a healthy dose of humour.”
What more should you know about Adventure Canada? We asked Bradley- Swan a few questions to help guide your product knowledge and sales growth.
Describe the Adventure Canada client.
Our clients are simply superb. Well-travelled, well-educated and with a true spirit for adventure, our guests are an interesting and engaged collective. Many are Canadians looking to learn more about their own country. We’re also seeing a growing number of guests from around the world as our global eye turns towards the Arctic and specifically the Northwest Passage. Our guests demand genuine experiences, something we are well-suited to deliver, as our handpicked teams include staff from the very regions to which we travel. They often have specific passions that have led them to Adventure Canada. Our reputa- tion for delivering exceptional natural his- tory experiences, photographic instruction, cultural immersion and musical offerings attract specific interest groups and highly discerning clients.
What are the booking patterns of Adventure Canada travellers?
Our clients are booking anywhere from six to 18 months in advance. Arctic programs are often close to sold out a year in advance. Programs in the Maritimes and throughout Newfoundland & Labrador have a shorter booking window, with clients booking four to eight months in advance. Each expedition is only run once each season, and guests look to secure their specific cabin needs well in advance. Adventure Canada often has a waitlist in anticipation of our catalog release, so if you have clients interested, be sure to get their name on it to ensure they don’t miss out.
For travel advisors interested in growing their business in this segment, where can they find these clients?
Special interest groups are a good place to start. There are many travel clubs that look for new and interesting opportunities. These can be university and college alumni associations, musical ensembles, photography organizations, recreation groups, book clubs and social clubs. Usually there is a ring leader looking to travel the world and has a good following of people ready to trust their judgement.
What questions should travel advisors ask clients to qualify them for an Adventure Canada experience?
Asking questions is definitely the best way to help your client determine if the Adventure Canada experience is right for them. Here are a few to start with:
- Do you have a sense of adventure? What fills you with wonder?
- Are you interested in connecting with real people? Do you enjoy connecting over music, art, sport and through community gatherings?
- What do you know about Canadian geography? Do you know that it is some of the most stunning in the world and some of the least explored? How does in-the- field learning complemented with advance presentations and reflective discussions appeal to you?
- How comfortable are you with itinerary changes and flexible plans?
What must travel advisors know about Adventure Canada and its product to properly sell it?
- Our expeditions are true adventures, and weather, sea and ice conditions may alter the presented plan.
- The Ocean Endeavour has 20 Zodiacs, four loading platforms and a shallow draft. This allows unparalleled access to remote destinations.
- The quality and number of expedition staff on any Adventure Canada expedition is higher than the industry standard; with 130 expedition staff and crew, that is one helping hand for every 1.52 guests.
- Expedition staff are available to guests in the field, onboard, on deck, at meals and in the Zodiacs.
- We welcome all age groups onboard our expedition. However, guests must be in good health due to uneven terrain, limited infrastructure and remote destinations we visit. Our programs are not wheelchair accessible.
- We have special promotions for single travellers, families and multi-trip clients.
- Our Environmental Discovery fee of $250 USD is added to each guest. This goes to support local and national organizations in the regions we visit.
- Pricing is in USD, however payments made in CAD are accepted and incentivized.
TOP SALES TIPS:
Help your clients understand the cost of travelling in the Arctic. They will see that an expedition is a cost-effective way to visit with the added bonus of internationally recognized educational content.
Help your clients understand the array of education they’ll experience. The onboard teams of 30-plus covers everything from geography, geology, natural history, culture, politics, climate change, photography, music, art and local perspectives. Staff are only onboard for one or two expeditions, which is almost unheard of in the expedition industry. It allows for a level of energy, dedication and daily engagement not met elsewhere.
Adventure Canada truly cares. Founded by Matthew Swan in 1987, Adventure Canada is now run by the second generation – Matthew James and his two sisters, Cedar and Alana – and office staff, who have worked together for years. The shipboard staffers are like family, too. Together, the team ensures its programs are ones that they are proud of and that clients are getting excellent value.
Local ties make Adventure Canada stronger. Adventure Canada works closely with communities, and depends on culturists with local connections to interpret and enhance its experiences.
Travellers build the business. Past travellers and personal recommendations have helped establish an enviable reputation; Adventure Canada’s repeat and referral rate is 35 per cent.
2017 ADVENTURE CANADA EXPERIENCES
What unique opportunities are available for Adventure Canada guests in 2017? Here’s a sampling:
- Circumnavigate Newfoundland June 5-15 with The Once, a local musical sensation.
- Celebrate Canada’s birthday in the historic Saint Lawrence with Canada Day on the Magdalene Islands, onboard the Mighty Saint Lawrence itinerary, June 25-July 4.
- Sail with internationally renowned author Margaret Atwood, Inuit activist Aaju Peter and explorer Les Stroud on Heart of the Arctic, July 18-30.
- Join special WWF Canada guests, Alanna Mitchell and internationally acclaimed photographers David Doubliet and Jennifer Hayes on the Arctic Safari, July 30-Aug. 10. Special emphasis will be placed on exploring the complexities of conservation work in the Arctic while searching for wildlife.
- Explore Canada’s most remote parks through a partnership with Parks Canada on the Out of the Northwest Passage expedition, Sept. 7-23, and Greenland & Wild Labrador, Sept. 23-Oct. 7.