With group travel mostly shuttered across the globe this past year, tour operators have had a lot of time to think about how the pandemic will reshape their businesses and the future of travel.
Last week, two leading tour companies, the Globus family of brands and Intrepid Travel, provided some insight into their expectations when they launched new product lines that aim to give travelers deeper dives into the destinations they visit.
Globus, one the largest operators of traditional coach tours across some the world’s most popular destinations, introduced Choice Touring by Globus, which the company said offers classic itineraries but with more excursion options.
Intrepid, meanwhile, unveiled a line of premium trips designed to meet the expected post-pandemic rise in demand for more upscale yet socially responsible travel.
At Globus, chief marketing officer Steve Born called Choice Touring “more than just a product introduction. We believe it is going to be a new way to tour and possibly pave the way for the future.”
The trips that will launch in September across 13 of the company’s most popular itineraries in Europe and North America offer two or three excursion options on select stops, such as a distillery tour and golfing in Scotland, kayaking and trekking in California, cooking classes or truffle hunting in Italy, even sailing on the Portuguese coast.
Born said the company sees three key audiences for the product: those seeking more flexibility in guided travel, repeat guests who want to dig deeper into a destination and family and multigenerational groups.
The tours will be offered in Scotland, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Canada and the U.S. And the line could be expanded in coming years, he said.
Intrepid, one of the world’s leading adventure tour operators with a strong focus on sustainability, said it will launch its new category in January with more than 70 trips in 40 countries.
The tours will feature four- and four-and-half-star accommodations, private transportation, train journeys and more exclusive experiences than traditional Intrepid trips.
In a press release, the company said the premium line was developed over the past six months and reflected a reimagining of its business for a post-pandemic world.
“With our aim to become a world leader in sustainable, experience-rich travel, we identified that many of our customers were seeking a higher-end product with purpose,” James Thornton, CEO of Intrepid Travel, said.
“As we continue to prepare for a gradual and sustainable recovery, we saw Premium as an opportunity to build a new style of tour that ensures local communities truly benefit from high-value tourism. We wanted to show that a premium product can also deliver on a premium purpose.”
Intrepid said some of the itineraries are based on top-selling trips from its upscale sister brand, Peregrine Adventures. It differs a bit from that line, however, by offering a slightly higher standard of accommodations and a bigger mix of short and long itineraries.
The company said it foresees the Intrepid Premium line as its main upscale product offering in North American and the U.K., where the Australian-based Peregrine brand is less well known.