Travel Impressions gives agents what they want: more of Europe

Zurich's historic city center.
Zurich's historic city center. Photo Credit: Canadastock/Shutterstock

Over the past several months, Travel Impressions has added or enhanced products in 11 European countries, a big push in direct response to agents asking for more options on the continent in addition to traditional sun-and-sand vacations.

"Europe's had 32% growth for us last year," said Travel Impressions president Scott Wiseman. "The fastest booking growth is coming from places like Zurich, Oslo, Santorini, Milan."

While the bulk of Travel Impressions' business remains resort destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean, the packager has been offering Europe for decades, among numerous other international destinations. And in the past year and a half, he said, agent partners have been asking for alternative options in Europe, beyond the big blockbuster destinations such as Paris, London and Rome.

"I was getting a lot of requests [asking] if we could put a little more energy and effort into destinations that are perceived in Europe as maybe more safe, destinations where it's difficult to secure space because they're really popular, particularly in high season, looking for more flexibility in destinations we've been going to already, [and for] more product in established destinations," Wiseman said.

Consequently, Travel Impressions has added or expanded products in Iceland, Italy, Switzerland, England, Scotland, France, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Greece, either on its own or through partnerships with several travel companies, including Back-Roads Touring, Charme & Adventure, Icelandair Group and Tours2Greece.

Wiseman said there are several factors driving interest not just in Europe's most popular destinations but in its off-the-beaten-path places.

He said many travelers have already been to Europe and  have done the most popular tourist destinations and are now looking for something different. Additionally, Europe has become a popular place to go with family and groups of friends.

Moreover, he said, with the growing popularity of genetic tests that enable consumers to identify their ancestry, it's becoming more popular to explore regions where distant relatives might have been from.

Ultimately, he said, the push into Europe is about helping agents keep bookings and also keep bookings with Travel Impressions.

"Even if 80% of their business is Mexico and Caribbean all-inclusives," Wiseman said, "they know that when they do that call from their client who says, 'OK, I want to do something different. I want to go to Europe,' they want to be able to fulfill that request and not lose it or work with someone else."

So far, Wiseman said, the new products are resonating with travelers, with bookings picking up for the added destinations. He added that the company doesn't have plans to add much more product in Europe. Instead, he said, it is going to catch its breath and focus on other possibilities for adding or enhancing products in other destinations, such as Asia.

"We're not counting on any huge rollouts in any additional areas for Europe right now," Wiseman said. "That was a lot to deliver."

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