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Elizabeth Crabill has always been knowledgeable and passionate about expanding a brand and its product. So when Crabill was named CEO of CIE Tours International in May 2016, that’s exactly what she set out to do.
Crabill joined CIE Tours — the largest Irish-owned travel company that serves the North American travel market — and quickly identified a huge potential for growth. Three years later, CIE Tours has announced a major expansion to Iceland and Italy, in addition to exclusive new itineraries. Below, Crabill shares the most noteworthy news from CIE Tours.
Can you tell us about how CIE Tours has developed its growth strategy?Over the years, we’ve developed an incredible foothold in Ireland and Britain because our tours are filled with Irish hospitality, warmth and immersion in the local culture. We’ve taken more than 3 million travelers to Ireland and Britain.
However, we realized that we weren’t offering enough variety for our North American travelers, especially if our customers weren’t ready to repeat a destination. So, we asked our customers and our travel agent partners where people would like to go. Iceland and Italy were at the top of the list.
Can you highlight a few of your newest best-selling itineraries? The Taste of Iceland and Ireland trip is selling quite well; it combines the outdoor experiences of Iceland, which are quite accessible, with the natural beauty of Ireland. Travelers will visit the city of Reykjavik as well as Gullfoss Waterfall and the Blue Lagoon before heading to Dublin via the Dublin Airport, which has extensive services connecting to other European cities.
We’re also offering new culinary tours from June to September, and our seven-night Irish Foodie Tour is the most popular. It’s jam-packed with exceptional experiences. For instance, guests will hop on a vintage double-decker bus for a tea tour in Dublin; sample cheeses and yogurt at a goat farm in Glendalough; and partake in a chocolate-making workshop with an award-winning French pastry chef in Kerry.
Why does CIE Tours continue to succeed in the niche travel market? While clients can travel to Ireland with many operators and have a great time because Ireland is a lovely destination, CIE Tours brings a couple of special benefits to the table. CIE Tours has the largest number of native Irish guides and drives — more than 130 guides and drivers — and many of them have been working with us for a few decades.
And our packages are unique because they are pretty much all-inclusive. The meals and excursions are built-in to the price of the tour. Many of the other travel companies in Ireland provide a core itinerary, but require clients to pick, and pay, for additional experiences.
How does CIE Tours work with travel advisors? We’re in the middle of a complete overhaul based on customer research, and a new travel agent portal and website will launch later this year. We also have the largest national sales team for Ireland and Britain product, and we provide excellent support to our travel advisors.
The DetailsCIE Tours International www.cietours.com