Insight Vacations executives, including president Phil Cappelli (far right), at the Travel Agent Ambassadors Council gathering in New York // © 2017 Insight Vacations
Feature image (above): Luxury Gold clients in Venice, Italy, visit Doge’s Palace. // © 2017 Luxury Gold
Phil Cappelli, president of Insight Vacations, celebrated with top travel agents at the company’s Travel Agent Ambassadors Council gathering in New York in May. He described 2017 as Insight’s best year ever, noting that 95 percent of its bookings come through the trade and that it has added five new directors of sales and marketing (DSMs) in the past few months.
Agents in attendance strongly praised the Luxury Gold product and itineraries that combine tours and river cruising via Insight Vacations, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and Luxury Gold. There are eight combination itineraries this year, including two new river cruise -tours in France and the Dalmatian Riviera. These include the 22-day Elegance of England and France (on the new Joie de Vivre) and the 24-day Danube Delights and the Dalmatian Riviera itinerary.
All the combined products bring together the special events, luxury land travel and elegant river cruising of the three partners. And the company will soon announce more destinations, including Costa Rica, Japan and Montenegro.
Cappelli says agents responded quickly to Luxury Gold, and Insight is working with new consortia and agents as a result. The company is seeing a lot of new millennial agents and is matching them with millennial DSMs. Insight and Uniworld are placing a priority on getting travel agents on trips so agents can speak directly about the product to clients.
Cappelli is encouraging agents to qualify clients carefully for its luxury journeys, which offer very deep, authentic access to local culture in areas that grew up along the rivers and deeper into the land.
“We are doing what Red Carnation Hotels does with its properties: putting together the very best,” he said. “For instance, Luxury Gold includes at least one Michelin-rated restaurant, and travelers get special experiences such as exploring the Vatican when nobody else is visiting. We not only elevated the hardware, our traveling concierges make the whole journey easy and special. And we are attracting people who normally would travel on their own; they are drawn by our unique experiences.”
He noted that the average age of guests is 59, and they are booking these trips to celebrate milestones — a cue to agents to keep tabs on special anniversaries, birthdays, retirements and other life events. Several of the agents celebrating outstanding sales nodded in agreement, adding that the experience of selling combined trips also provides opportunities to sell each of the partners separately afterward.