For 2015, Trafalgar is introducing Hidden Journeys, designed to take smaller groups deeper into the destinations the company already serves.
The 11 Hidden Journeys itineraries will have no more than 26 travelers on each departure. The destinations will include Italy, France, Ireland, Switzerland, Greece, Turkey, Newfoundland, Panama, Japan and China.
The trips cost approximately 20% more than a standard Trafalgar tour.
According to Trafalgar CEO Gavin Tollman, the new product is about access.
“As I speak to travelers, hearing what they wanted to do, I was finding myself responding that we can’t get to certain places because of the size of the roads, the size of the coach,” said Tollman. "What you’ve got now is selected itineraries that take our guests into the hardest-to-reach destinations.”
Hidden Journeys is an extension of Trafalgar’s Insider Highlights program, which launched in 2011 and offers experiences such as dining with a local host family, introducing travelers to native industries, talks with local experts and inside-access activities.
With Hidden Journeys, the concept has been expanded to encompass smaller, more intimate accommodations and even harder-to-reach experiences that would be difficult or impossible with a larger group.
Trafalgar is using smaller motorcoaches for the Hidden Journeys itineraries, and by restricting the group size to 26, the company is able to contract with hotels such as the 47-room Albergo dell'Agenzia in Italy’s Piedmont region or offer a Gullet yacht cruise in Turkey.
While there is a premium to pay for those experiences, Tollman said the result is high guest satisfaction.
For instance, with the company’s Be My Guest program, for which it contracts with local citizens to create a meal for Trafalgar passengers in their own home, “on average we’re paying three times more than what a regular meal would cost,” said Tollman.
But, he added, “seeing and meeting the locals is often the highlight of the trip. It will be the bragging moment that they will want to tell everyone about. It’s not about economics. It’s the impact of the experience.”