Luxury Gold began in 2012 as a capsule collection of high-end guided itineraries within the Insight Vacations portfolio. It has since gone through several iterations, finally becoming a standalone brand for 2018.
Luxury Gold, operated by Insight and its parent company, the Travel Corporation, evolved out of the notion that the Travel Corporation needed to have a horse in the luxury vacation race, a space established brands such as Abercrombie & Kent and Butterfield & Robinson have dominated for decades.
"Luxury Gold is really the brainchild and the vision of our chairman and founder, Stanley Tollman," said Ulla Hefel-Bohler, who was appointed CEO of Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold in May. "He really saw a gap in the market — that we needed a luxury travel company."
The brand was introduced as Insight Gold, then evolved into Luxury Gold by Insight Vacations. But for 2018, "we decided for Luxury Gold, it was time to spread its wings and to really become a standalone brand," Hefel-Bohler said, noting that making a clear-cut distinction between Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold was key to eliminating any lingering confusion between the two products and to letting each shine and grow on its own.
For one, the price points are quite different. Insight Vacations' average per diem is between $250 and $320, and Luxury Gold's is between $400 and $550.
Insight offers guided vacations in Europe and North America, with group sizes that are a maximum of 40 people staying in four- and five-star hotels along the way. Luxury Gold offers a variety of trip styles on five continents with stays in luxury hotels. Typical departures are limited to 40 people with an average of 30 people, and its "dedicated smaller group" departures are limited to 24 travelers.
There are also both private and group custom trip options available through Luxury Gold.
The move comes as Insight celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, providing Hefel-Bohler and her team the opportunity to look back at the evolution of the company and what it stands for.
"For 39-and-a-half years, our tag line was, 'The Art of Touring in Style,'" Hefel-Bohler said. "For 2018, we changed that to, 'The Art of Traveling in Style,' and we did that with a very specific goal in mind, because the guided vacation that we operate today is nothing like a coach tour that was operated back in the '80s."
One area where both Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold have been pushing the envelope is in dining experiences. New for 2018, the brands will be incorporating dine-at-home experiences as well as locally hosted meals that are being provided in partnership with the meal-sharing platform EatWith (formerly VizEat). Insight Vacations has also added farm-to-table meals to its roster for 2018.
While Luxury Gold is still a much smaller part of the business than Insight, it has become "a very fast-growing brand," Hefel-Bohler said. "The potential of Luxury Gold is huge."