To appeal to different types of travellers, Collette offers up various tour styles, whether to appeal to those seeking river cruises, faith-based tours or city stays. Explorations is Collette’s small group tour option and in high demand, as more travellers seek the type of trips this style represents, which are more personal and authentic experiences. How do you know if Explorations is right for your client and what do you need to know to close the sale? Collette and CT Magazine have compiled this useful sales tool for your information:

So, what is Explorations?
Explorations is Collette’s small group touring option, hosting about 18 passengers on average. As such, travellers get to enjoy sights and experiences that aren’t typically accessible through traditional coach tours, while enjoying a more personal and culturally immersive vacation, veering off the beaten path to capture the spirit of the region. Guests of Explorations tours stay in boutique accommodations, enjoy authentic culinary experiences like speciality tastings and chef-led demonstrations, and are in constant contact with local people, who truly reveal the essence of a destination.

The client:
Explorations tours attract travellers who:
- …are looking to take-in a destination with a more hands-on approach, immersing themselves in local culture, whether through food, people, or off-the-beaten path experiences.
- …are well-seasoned travellers looking to get more out of the destinations they visit – i.e. more authentic experiences than what they’ve had before.
- …simply want a small group experience. Many times, guests have done larger group tours and now want a tour with fewer people.

How Explorations differs from Collette’s Classic tours:
The big differentiator is the size of the group. With Collette’s Classic product line, tours are designed with a full coach that hosts about 40 to 44 passengers. With the Explorations option, the maximum number of passengers is 24 (the average is about 18). The Explorations tours may also have more immersive elements (depending on the tour), where guests have the opportunity to participate in more cultural- and culinary-focused activities while on tour.

Questions to qualify your clients for Explorations tours: 
- Have you taken a guided tour before? (To gauge their travel experience and/or comfort level with travelling.)
- Are you looking for a more intimate experience with a smaller group?
- Are you looking for a culturally immersive and/or local authentic experience?
- What kind of accommodations do you want?
- Is the culinary experience important? (Explorations incorporates more local cuisine and inclusions.)

 

Volterra
Credit: Pixabay / Skitterphoto

 

EXPLORATIONS SUMMARY:
- Small groups
- Boutique accommodations
- Interact with locals
- Authentic culinary experiences
- Culturally immersive adventures

THE TOP FOUR PERFORMING EXPLORATIONS TOURS ARE:
- Tuscan & Umbrian Countryside
- Italy’s Treasures
- Countryside of the Emerald Isle
- Journey through Southern France

A SAMPLING OF UNIQUE EXPLORATIONS EXPERIENCES:

TUSCAN & UMBRIAN COUNTRYSIDE:
11 DAYS – Visit a family-owned winery for a tasting and have a home-hosted lunch in a charming country home. Spend time in the hill town of Volterra to visit the Guarnacci Museum and witness an alabaster carving demonstration at a local workshop.

ITALY’S TREASURES:
12 DAYS – Explore a local farm and indulge in a cheese and wine tasting. Explore the rugged coast and remote fishing villages of the Cinque Terre.

COUNTRYSIDE OF THE EMERALD ISLE:
11 DAYS – Tour Kilkenny’s Medieval castle. Feel like special guests of royalty when spending two incredible nights in an elegant historic castle.

JOURNEY THROUGH SOUTHERN FRANCE:
13 DAYS – Stroll amid the narrow streets and half-timbered houses of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val. See Provence, through the lens of artists like Cezanne and Picasso.

NORTHERN ITALY FEATURING THE TREASURES OF PIEDMONT:
10 DAYS – Venture by boat to the stunning Borromean Islands, pausing at the enchanting town of Pallanza to explore its colourful streets. A truffle hunter and their dog demonstrate gathering techniques of this rare delicacy.


OTHER COLLETTE TOUR STYLES:

CLASSIC: Collette’s flagship collection of tours, these itineraries blend must-see sights with other exclusive inclusions travellers might never experience on their own.

SPOTLIGHTS: Travellers immerse themselves in one destination and enjoy in-depth exploration, with a single hotel stay.

RIVER CRUISE: These inclusive itineraries feature small, intimate vessels for travel through a variety of beautiful waterways, with guided excursions to introduce travellers to the people and places along the river.

FAITH: Collette’s collection of religious tours capture the reflective and humble surroundings of the world-famous spiritual places they visit.

 

Levandula
Credit: Pixabay / 858106

 

TAKE 5 WITH NALINIE SHARMA
Marketing Manager, Collette

What are the top European destinations for Collette this year?
Iceland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Britain/Ireland always remain strong for us.

What should travel agents know about Collette’s Europe program to best present the options to their clients and then to close the sale?
Among other things, we offer best in class travel protection (guests can cancel up to one day prior to departure and get a full cash refund), free airport-to-home private sedan service on air-inclusive bookings, hundreds of guaranteed departure dates for peace of mind, and travel loyalty credits for repeat travellers.

How can travel advisors upsell clients on European itineraries?
As a few options, agents can sell clients:
- different pre- and post-night extensions to our tours
- various on-tour optional excursions
- book them on back-to-back tours, or
- air upgrades to Elite Airfare.

What is the value of booking European programs with Collette?
At Collette, we pride ourselves on offering inclusive itineraries (we include a lot of the must-sees and experiences as part of the tour) and the authenticity that comes with our amazing culinary and dining experiences. In addition, our professional tour managers – those with Collette and our local guides – know the destinations fully, so travellers always get the most out of any tour.

How does Choice on Tour apply to Europe itineraries?
Choice on Tour is also a definite value-add for travel agents to emphasize, as it allows guests to choose options that best suit their tastes, rather than being stuck on an excursion they wouldn’t necessarily choose, if they had the option. For example, on the Portugal, Spain & France tour, they can either opt for a walking tour of Hapsburg Madrid or take a leisurely panoramic tour with included entrance to the Prado Museum. In Ireland, they can choose between a trip to Killarney National Park or enjoy a Muchross House Tour – so clients really get to make the most of their touring experience.

 

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