Abercrombie & Kent is known around the globe for its luxury tours. But what some travel pros may not realize is that A&K also a great resource for planning private excursions, particularly for clients seeking the unusual and exclusive.
Need a luxury villa retrofitted for a special client? A special birthday party in India, complete with elephant rides? Or how about a dinner set to the lights of the Egyptian pyramids until 2 a.m.? A helicopter tour of the northern lights over Iceland? A private museum tour or a special history lesson on the fall of the Soviet Union?
Those are just a few of the special trips A&K Tailor Made’s consultants have put together for clients over the years. Agents are guaranteed a minimum 10% commission on the total land package.
Senior Tailor Made Consultant Hilary Hamilton said the private trips are about half of the company’s business, and it was the original service offered by A&K before it became a leader in luxury group travel. And while she said many agents are aware of Tailor Made, many don’t know that it specializes in offering such comprehensive assistance to both individual travelers and agents.
“We really do it in all the destinations that we offer group trips in,” she said. “It’s just a way for people who don’t want to be in a group, or have a big interest they want to focus on.
“Sometimes on a group tour you are getting good hotels but not necessarily the suite. Tailor Made really lets people select every element of it.”
With 52 offices around the globe, she said there is little the company can’t do. And it can handle much of the heavy lifting for agents who need on-the-ground experts.
“We do a good portion of the work for them,” Hamilton said, “but I still need them to get it done. They know their clients, and this may be the first time they have traveled with us.”
Asking Hamilton to name the most unusual request she has had was like getting a seasoned traveler to pin down their favorite destination or best-ever trip.
“I think the most unique ones for me are when people sort of let me choose,” she said, citing a trip she put together with an agent whose client wanted the trip of a lifetime for his wife.
“His agent told us to do your dream trip,” she said.
The client picked the cities: London, Rome and Paris. And after a lot of conversations about the client and his wife’s lifestyle and daily habits, Hamilton and his organized a trip complete with private visits to boutiques in Paris, a private cruise on the Seine, a private capsule with champagne on the London Eye and “all kinds of surprises.
Any unusual requests Hamilton has been unable to meet?
“I want to say we can do almost anything,” she said. “I don’t think we can personally arrange a meeting with the pope. We’ve been asked, but I don’t think we can."
Another time, she said, a high-level celebrity wanted to fly to Machu Picchu.
“It doesn’t matter who you are,” Hamilton said. “You can’t take a helicopter over Machu Picchu, no matter how much money you have.”