Scenic joins Atas to boost agent awareness of luxury tours

Scenic has become the latest new member of the Association of Touring and Adventure Suppliers, as it aims to showcase its range of its luxury land tours.

Through its membership, it will offer agents more training via webinars and events and it is planning fam trips to highlight its extensive touring portfolio.

Trade sales director Andrea Stafford said: “What is most important for us is being able to boost agent awareness of the amazing Scenic touring products available.

“Agents have always known Scenic for our five-star truly all-inclusive river cruises, and, more recently, our incredible yacht cruises.

“However, many aren’t aware that Scenic began with touring across Australia over 35 years ago.

“After a brief pause due to the Covid pandemic, we can’t wait to start shouting about our tours with the trade.

“We offer incredible, luxury small group tours right across the globe, packed full of real bucket-list experiences. Atas membership is a great way of reaching out to partners.

“We are keen to form lasting relationships with agents that want to learn about Scenic and who want to deliver the best for their luxury clientele.”

The trade team is keeping busy with plans for Scenic’s new ocean vessels, Scenic Eclipse II and Emerald Sakara, which launch in 2023 – while also promoting the message that Scenic is more than cruise, she explained.

“We will be showcasing touring as widely as possible,” said Stafford. “The feedback we get from agents during training is always ‘I didn’t know you went there’.”

She said the luxury tour range covers North America, Africa, Asia, the Far East, Africa and Australasia.

“Bucket-list destinations, such as touring Australia or Japan, have been a big hit for us in recent months,” she added.

“We like to add excursions and experiences that are complete one-offs. For example, seeing the Grand Canyon is great, but with us you can dine right on the ridge.”

Group sizes on Scenic’s tours are no bigger than 36 people and holidays tend to range from 14 days to a month long.

“It is very much a handcrafted experience – prices include return flights, all internal travel…plus a whole array of Enrich and Freechoice experiences to choose from, to personalise trips even more,” she added.

The company said sales during the peaks selling period were “very encouraging”.

“We launched our Japan & South Korea 2023-24 season last month and have already seen a huge amount of interest from our customers and travel agents,” added Stafford.

“After a tough couple of years for the industry, booking trends seem to be returning to 2019 levels.”

She said Scenic’s trade sales team has been “transformed” during the last 18 months, and the regional sales managers all have responsibility for tours in their respective areas.

William Young, sales manager for Scotland, Northern Ireland and northeast England, will develop the new Atas relationship.

Along with Stafford and Young, the trade team includes Jonathan Davies (key account manager north); Wendi Hardy (key account manager south); Lewis Quigley (sales manager north central); Danny Joel (sales manager south); Helena Gale-Hasleham (trade marketing and support manager); Christina Cooper (trade marketing executive), Jessica Tansey and Ryan Readman (both trade support.)

“The trade is extremely important to us and contributes to about 50% of the UK business and is growing steadily,” added Stafford.

She said prices have remained “pretty stable” and the operator is not seeing much impact from the cost-of-living crisis.

“Our tours are perfect for the ‘special occasion’ market, such as family holidays or big birthdays and anniversaries, and there is a lot of pent-up demand here,” she explained.

“The luxury market is less affected by the rising cost of living, because the clients still have money to spend.”

Claire Brighton, Atas account director, added: “I am excited to see Scenic becoming a member of Atas as it aims to promote its fantastic range of tours to agents.

“It’s wonderful to hear that sales are going so well – they have lots of plans to work with agents and helping them to make the most of this lucrative market.”