Looking ahead to future bookings, he predicts customized trips will sell well.
“Our coach tour sales are still strong, but there is definitely a trend towards custom groups and FIT travel,” he says. “We are adding more inclusive FIT trips. So, for example, agents can now book their clients’ transport, accommodation and many of their attraction visits and experiences directly through our reservations team.”
Interestingly, he says RIT has also been fielding requests for custom groups from agencies across Canada.
“It’s a little unexpected, as we thought the trend would be towards individual travel, or travelling with just family or one to two friends,” he adds. “But I suppose if people like to travel in groups, they probably still want to do it when they can travel again. So it makes sense to travel on a custom group, perhaps with like-minded people in their community, society, chamber, etc.”
Next year, the tour operator will mark its 20th anniversary, and Sargeant says they hope to hold some FAM trips for travel advisors to experience the product firsthand.
“We hope that we can make it the best one yet. We are just excited to have guests back travelling. Our guides and drivers miss the Canadians dearly! We miss hearing great feedback from guests about how much they loved Ireland, Scotland, a particular guide, etc. It’s why we are in this industry. We miss the interactions and sharing our beautiful destinations with our guests.”
Acknowledging that it continues to be a really tough time for the industry, Sargeant remains optimistic about the future.
“We all just need to work together and be ready to bounce back once the world opens up again,” he says. “Many agents have been attending our weekly webinars and staying engaged which is great. Keep learning if you have the time and try to stay positive.”