Audley Travel joins Atas to build on record-breaking year for trade sales

Luxury operator Audley Travel has joined the Association of Touring and Adventure Suppliers to show case its “unique approach” to private touring.

Greg Thurston, trade sales manager at Audley Travel, said: “First, and most importantly, we’re excited to meet the Atas agent members who are all so passionate about touring and adventure.

“It’ll be amazing to introduce them to Audley’s unique approach to private touring. But also, we are very keen to play our part in evolving and growing the touring sector.

“We love working with travel agents as their clients really trust their recommendations and actively seek out their thoughts about where they should travel, and how. We can, therefore, work collaboratively with the agent to create the perfect tailormade touring itinerary for the client.

“Through this partnership we are both benefiting from increased high value bookings and the client is receiving the wisdom of both Audley’s specialists and their trusted travel agent.”

He said the operator will increase face-to-face time with agents and is recruiting a business development manager in the south of the UK, offering more opportunities for in-person training, client events and networking.

“We had our best ever year for trade bookings in 2023. So far, 2024 has got off to a great start and we are feeling very optimistic that it could be another record-breaking year for our trade sales,” said Thurston.

“We’re also planning more fam and reward trips as part of our A-List loyalty scheme, after the success of our Canada trip in October 2023.

“Plus, we are aiming to host some exclusive VIP events for agents, such as our Masterclass day at our London HQ.”

He said the most popular destinations for Audley clients in 2024 are India, Canada, Japan, the US and Costa Rica.

The average duration for 2024 bookings is 18.5 days, up 6% from 17.4 days in 2023.

Its tailormade private touring itineraries cover more than 75 countries, and cater for a wide range of requirements and interests.

“Audley’s award-winning specialists have a deep connection to their destinations that can only have come from living or travelling there extensively,” said Thurston.

“By understanding the meaning behind why travel agents’ clients want to travel, our specialists can create experiences that will change their perspective and stay with them long after they’ve returned home.

“Atas agents will love the level of expertise that our country specialists can offer them, helping them to create a perfectly crafted and personalised tailormade private touring itinerary for their clients, with unique recommendations for both accommodation and experiences.”

Audley has a two-tier A-List agent reward scheme. Elite members, who need to secure bookings of a value of £75,000 or more, can take advantage of cash incentives and competitions, priority services, the agency’s logo on client documentation and marketing funds. VIP members, who need to confirm bookings of upwards of £150,000, have additional benefits including a guaranteed invitation to a VIP reward trip, a dedicated VIP telephone line and enhanced perks.

New products for 2024 include the Pekoe Trail in Sri Lanka; the Travesía journey from Chile’s Atacama Desert to the Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia; Kualoa Ranch in Hawaii; and new camps in Botswana.

Atacama desert, Chile, by Nataliya Hora/Shutterstock
Atacama desert, Chile, by Nataliya Hora/Shutterstock

Commenting on the new sustainability hub from Atas, Thurston added: “Similar to Atas, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do – we were certified as a B Corp last year – and we’ve done similar work in developing easy-to-access information on the most sustainable product.

“For us, this was the launch of the Responsible Choice classification of our product, to highlight to agents and clients alike the accommodation and experiences in our portfolio that go above and beyond in terms of sustainability.”

Claire Brighton, Atas director, said: “We are delighted that Audley Travel is now a member of Atas. Their tailormade tours and commitment to the trade mean they have a great deal to offer travel agents.

“And we’re excited to work with their team on developing the wider touring and adventure sector, especially with their focus on responsible travel and sustainability, which echoes our ethos.”