In a recent interview with Collette Vacations president and CEO Dan Sullivan Jr., Sullivan said that Collette is dedicated to the agent community and that the tour operator works hard to drive business to agents.
“We want to be the best partner to agents, and I think we are,” said Sullivan. “Clients can make a direct booking — almost every company that I know of takes direct bookings — but our goal is to drive business to the agent. We go direct less than other organizations in the industry.”
Sullivan believes that Collette’s commitment to agents has driven sales over the past year.
“I think agents have shown us that they value our commitment to them by booking with us,” said Sullivan. “Our sales are up 61 percent.”
Sullivan also welcomes communication and feedback.
“I have an open line to Collette’s agent partners,” he said. “They can call me anytime.”
Through its partnerships and its value-added amenities, Collette Vacations has made itself desirable and an easy sell.
“Collette has something that both agencies and clients want, so agents end up booking with us,” said Sullivan. “We are the preferred escorted partner for the Smithsonian. We have launched our small tour division, Explorations, and we are the preferred tour operation for the AARP.”
In addition, the tour operator is careful to direct clients to agents through its partners.
“They almost always go through an agent because that’s how we advertise,” said Sullivan.
Another way that Collette capitalizes on value is with added perks such as its door-to-door service for clients.
“We pick people up at their home and take them to the airport and take them home at the end of their tour,” said Sullivan. “When clients are choosing between three different tours, they think, ‘do I want to go to the airport and have it included? Yes.’ It closes the deal. That’s a very important differentiator for us.
Collette’s complimentary sedan service encompasses its whole line of products — including its Smithsonian Journeys and its new Explorations small group tours — and is available in 91 gateways.