Interview By: Andy Ogg, CTIE, Senior Editor – Travel Professional NEWS®
Interviewing: Stephen Marshall, President – TRAVEL2
First off, thank you very much for the time today and joining our fantastic Travel Professional NEWS readers!
For those of our readers that aren’t aware of TRAVEL2, can you share a bit about your business and history in this amazing industry?
For over 20 years TRAVEL2 has been the specialist operator for travel advisors to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands.
TRAVEL2 provides custom air and land itineraries for FIT’s, Groups and cruise pre/post. As we specialize in the South Pacific region we carry a broad product range from quality 4* and 5* hotels to a complete range of luxury lodges and island resorts. We also have a fantastic air consolidation desk offering great prices (and earning potential) on all major carriers to the region.
We enjoy solid backing by a large parent company – Helloworld Travel, publicly listed on the Australian Stock Exchange – giving you and your clients total peace of mind when you book us.
On your website, “Dedicated 100% to Travel Advisors” appears on the main landing page (which is awesome!), can you share a bit more about that statement and what it means to Travel Professionals?
We are proud to stand by our promise that TRAVEL2 does not deal directly with the public.
We custom-design every itinerary per the desires, hopes and preferences of each individual client. We work with advisors creatively to tailor-make each trip meaning no single itinerary is ever the same. It’s our job to make our travel advisors look like rock-stars!
What trends are you seeing in travel in 2019?
Through the internet, review sites and social media clients come prepared with more of their own research than ever. Our mission is to help travel advisors stay one step ahead, to distill down the noise and to tailor the perfect custom trip based on our local destination knowledge.
Fortunately, as TRAVEL2 specializes in the South Pacific we know it better than anyone. Our small boutique team based in LA (just 11 consultants, many Aussies or Kiwis) know the region intimately. For example Beth and Lodi in our team who have visited Tahiti 20 and 16 times respectively. Consider us your local experts!
Can you share what your top destinations have been so far in 2019?
Australia continues to be our most sought-after destination. Increased air capacity to from mainland USA has meant we are seeing more interest than ever before, plus more affordable trans-pacific flights than ever. It’s a great time
How about the top packages that TRAVEL2 offers? Is there a particular package that has been an outstanding success this year?
Every itinerary TRAVEL2 produces is bespoke, yet the iconic sights of Sydney, Ayers Rock and the aquatic nature of the Great Barrier Reef is a solid combination for most first timers to Australia.
That said we are also seeing high demand for more niche regions such as Western Australia and Tasmania. WA has exploded in recent months with consumers asking about the Kimberley, Perth and Margaret River (one of Australia’s premium wine regions). Then there’s WA’s very own and very cute celebrity favorite, the ‘Quokka’, made famous by Chris Hemsworth’s selfie on Rottnest Island!
The Australian Open in Melbourne is also a hot ticket. TRAVEL2 is an official seller of tickets and every year we have exclusive packages available with tickets, accommodation, tours and transfers.
What kind of commissions can Travel Agents expect to make when booking their clients with TRAVEL2?
Up to 14%, paid within 7 days post-trip, an industry-leading promise. In addition TRAVEL2 offers a ‘name your own price’ tool allowing you to ‘flex up’ your earnings with a sliding tool allowing you to comfortably make more commission based on our market-best pricing.
With 2019 past the half way point, is there anything new on the horizon for TRAVEL2 as 2020 approaches?
Advisors are asking us for new tools to enhance their workflow and productivity.
In response we recently launched TRAVEL2 Online (T2O), an intuitive booking tool for agents seeking access to their quotes and bookings 24hrs.
T2O is a ‘shared workspace’ to view client itineraries allowing agents to collaborate with our Vacation Planners in real-time, 24hrs. T2O offers live availability for hotels and tours complete with itemized pricing.
That said T20 will never replace our team of experts who remain on hand to support you with building itineraries, yet TRAVEL2 Online does complement as an additional tool. Response so far has been great, especially from advisors who want to book and manage their client’s itineraries after-hours.
If an Agent is looking to get started with TRAVEL2, can you provide what would be required from them and where they could go to get started?
If you have never worked with us or sold the South Pacific, that’s where our team of Vacation Planners come in and offer their advice. Upon getting in touch we will ask for your client’s preferences, hopes, travel style and desired price range. As we are based in the US we offer a one-stop shop for multi-country itineraries all priced in either USD or CAD.
TRAVEL2 is preferred with most of the major consortia in both the US and Canada and we have a dedicated team of sales directors in the field. We would love to connect with you!
Before we conclude, I personally want to thank you for your time and information shared today. We appreciate your involvement in our publication and look forward to speaking with you again soon!