G Adventures’ Vietnam Hike, Bike & Kayak trip includes kayaking through Halong Bay’s limestone karsts, trekking the Mai Chau area and cycling through small towns. // © 2012 G Adventures
Certain tourism products are exclusively committed to enhancing well-being, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work with your favorite companies. Given the wellness niche’s positive outlook for success, many popular brands are ramping up their well-being offerings or already offer many of the key components of a vacation that maintains or kick starts a healthier lifestyle. According to Melissa McKee, U.S. marketing and public relations specialist for G Adventures, it is easy to customize and book a G Adventures trip for a well-being client. The company can customize a client’s trip and is particularly well-suited for those looking for a small group vacation that prioritizes cultural immersion and sustainability, while offering local food, opportunities to be active in nature and free time to experience indigenous spa therapies and other personal interests.
Are your trips a good option for those who want a well-being vacation?
The places we travel to have loads of options geared toward those interested in their general well-being from both a food and fitness perspective; and the overall wellness that comes from being enlightened when interacting with local people and learning new things. While physical transformation is not really a goal, we love changing people’s lives — it’s one of G’s five core values and internal transformations are very common on our tours. Visit GAdventures.com/Travel-Stories/Love-Changing-Lives/ for more about that.
Restaurants that serve food prepared with locally sourced, fresh, organic, non-processed ingredients are all over the globe, and our Chief Experience Officers (CEOs), or tour guides, are sure to point them out to our travelers and bring them there for meals. Likewise, spas are all over the globe, and there’s generally enough free time to visit them.
Travelers interested in well-being will not be disappointed, as there are many opportunities for this while on our tours. Also, our trips are designed with lots of free time to allow for our travelers to customize the tour to their interests.
How can the cultural immersion that G Adventures offers promote well-being?
We see more people who want some well-being in many trips, yet are most interested in experiencing the destination in a meaningful way. While our trips are not specifically designed as ‘well-being vacations,’ the increased knowledge of a culture and its traditions that comes from the leisure time to explore wellness components are found on the majority of our tours. At G Adventures, we try to bring a local slant to well-being. When in Granada, Spain, for instance, our CEOs can recommend a Turkish thermal bath which is abundant there due to the Moorish influence, and we’ve allowed time at the Dead Sea on some tours as well. Yoga and other general wellness classes are a global trend, and our guests have the option to visit them on our tours.
Which of G Adventures’ trips is the best at integrating healthy eating (non-processed foods, possibly organic vegetables and fruits, etc), relaxation, physical activity and cultural immersion?
Our Amalfi Coast Local Living and Southern Tuscany Local Living tours both have a strong food influence with the three- and four-course dinners prepared with locally sourced ingredients mostly grown or raised on the very farm/agriturismo that hosts the groups. The Amalfi Coast tour combines great meals with a number of hikes in the region, offering a great vacation focused on well-being. A nearby spa can round out the fitness and food aspect with some quality relaxation as well.
How do G Adventures trips promote health and relieve stress?
According to Leah Griffin, innovation manager at G Adventures: ‘Many of our active tours can help keep our travelers in shape, and as an ex-CEO who led in Central America, I can recommend a massage therapist in nearly every town we travel to in that region. We take out the stress of traveling by handling the logistical details, and our CEOs are highly knowledgeable about the destinations they lead in to be able to recommend restaurants and local businesses that promote health and well-being.’
In addition, we have certain activities that we offer that promote exercise. Biking in Napa Valley and hiking the Inca trail are just a few. It’s a given that exercise attributes to well-being and travel tends to get even the most sedentary person moving.
What are some of the questions that a travel agent should ask their client in order to properly match the client?
These questions give us an idea of what we can match them with: How much activity do they want? What level of activity? Are they more interested in food, exercise or cultural immersion? What type of activities do you like to partake in?
What is the typical demographic for a G Adventures trip?
A big part of the experience is our small international groups. On average there are about 10 travelers on one of our trips, depending on the destination — the maximum is usually never more than 16. The age range varies. We like to say our trips are defined by a state of mind, not an age. But on average, our travelers are aged 30-55.
What percentage of your trips is booked by travel agents?
In the U.S., we have grown dramatically over the last few years by developing strong relationships with key consortiums. The ultimate goal for us is to drive the business through the doors of our established agent partners. The percentages are skewed based on our reach globally, which is roughly 80 percent. Here in the U.S., we expect it to be higher.
Do you feel that travel agents understand how to sell your trips? What can they do better?
According to Ron Fenska, U.S. director of sales for G Adventures, ‘Not yet, but that is the exciting part for us in the U.S. market! As our sales and marketing team grows, it will allow us the opportunity to reach our agent partners face to face and be able to offer them the necessary training to assist in understanding their own businesses better and to be better prepared to offer the type of travel that G Adventures represents.’
In addition, many travel agents may shy away from the ‘adventure’ aspect of our company when, in reality, we are really all about small groups, immersion in a culture and traveling sustainably whenever and wherever possible.