NEW YORK – Despite uncertainty in travel due to COVID-19 border closures and regulations, global tour operator Intrepid Travel has seen unprecedented demand for its family tours over the last several months, prompting the company to create new Retreat-style tours geared towards the demographic, with safety and quality as top priorities. Intrepid has found that a quarter of the top 25 itineraries booked by its customers globally over the past three months have been family-themed tours, compared to just 12% during the same period last year, indicating a desire for families to go abroad in 2021 after months spent distancing.Currently, the top family trips booked globally are all based in Africa and Asia, including the South Africa Family Safari with Teenagers and a family tour of Vietnam, while North American families are also interested in adventures in the Middle East, particularly Jordan and Egypt.“After months spent indoors away from friends and classmates, we’ve seen families are eager to get out and explore the world once it is safe to do so, and have a desire to reconnect with both nature and like-minded people,” said Dyan Mckie, Intrepid’s family product manager.The four new Family Retreats, based in Morocco, Turkey and England, will have groups immerse themselves in one location in handpicked accommodation with nearby experiences. This new tour style celebrates ‘slow travel’ and allows adventurers to engage with the surrounding communities away from the crowds and in a more controlled setting. Each itinerary has been designed to benefit local communities affected by the pandemic, while also providing enriching activities for children and parents who have spent the majority of 2020 indoors due to the pandemic. For example, in Turkey, families will visit a sea turtle rescue center – supported in part by donations from Intrepid travelers – to learn about conservation efforts and rehabilitation. In Morocco, they’ll break bread with a local Imazighen family in their village, getting an insight into daily life in the High Atlas region.The new Family Retreats include:Turkey Family Retreat: FethiyeThis tour has families reconnecting with the natural beauty of the world with a retreat that celebrates nature, wildlife and local cuisine. In addition to visiting a a turtle rehabilitation center, they’ll also enjoy the clear, blue waters of the Mediterranean and enjoy an easy hike through the stunning mountainous terrain between Kayakoy to Oludeniz Beach. Travelers will also learn some new family favorites in a traditional meze cooking class with locally foraged produce. Morocco Family Retreat: Ouirgane The calm and comforts of Amazigh (Berber) hospitality await on this retreat to Ouirgage, on the edges of Mt. Toubkal National Park. Travelers will leave the modern world of Marrakech behind and journey to a home away from home to enjoy time to reconnect with their family. Families will hike the hills through small villages and farms, hang out with the locals, try their hand at making some iconic local dishes and enjoy a pool overlooking the mountains.England Family Retreat: CornwallTravelers will explore England’s southwest coast, soaking up the views of sun, sand and sea from their family-run accommodation and during walks through the history and nature of this proper ‘ansom section of Cornish countryside. Also included is a private yoga and wellness session and a visit to a small, family-run bakery that makes Cornish pasties the traditional way.England Family Retreat: Peak DistrictFamilies will enjoy Britain’s first national park and explore its forested valleys and small stone villages threaded by walking trails during this new retreat. Based out of the quintessential country town of Castleton, travelers will walk their way to the scenic villages of Bamford and Bakewell, along the banks of the River Derwent, passing farms, woods, cottages and more, while stopping along the way to grab a tea in a shop that supports, and is run by, the local community.Due to the continued demand, Intrepid also has plans to launch several family-focused tours within the U.S. and Canada later this year for those who can’t or won’t feel comfortable going abroad yet.Each tour will operate under Intrepid’s new Safe Travels health protocols, developed in partnership with the WTTC. All travelers will complete a health screening at the start of the trip and be required to wear masks in certain settings, in line with local laws and regulations. Groups are accompanied by a local leader who has received specific COVID-19 training, which covers hygiene, sanitation, physical distancing, PPE as well as supplier monitoring. In preparation for travel to resume, Intrepid recently introduced a new Flexible Bookings policy to make travelers feel at ease when booking their holidays, which permits changes to travel plans 21 days before a scheduled departure, allowing for new travel dates or an entirely different trip with no change fees.
ATPCO launches new rich content format: Structured UPAs
DULLES, VA – ATPCO launched a new format of Routehappy Rich Content: Structured UPAs (Universal Product Attributes). With the introduction of Structured UPAs, airlines and channels now have greater flexibility in how they display essential retailing content using more comparable, concise, and sortable data that can be presented to emphasize objective content over images.UPAs were…
DULLES, VA – ATPCO launched a new format of Routehappy Rich Content: Structured UPAs (Universal Product Attributes). With the introduction of Structured UPAs, airlines and channels now have greater flexibility in how they display essential retailing content using more comparable, concise, and sortable data that can be presented to emphasize objective content over images.UPAs were originally created to introduce visual content in flight shopping displays, and have since been adopted by dozens of channels worldwide. Given the evolving needs of travelers amid the pandemic and the immediate success of Reassurance UPAs, ATPCO found – based on consistent feedback from its industry partners, including Serko and Expedia Group’s Brand Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Cheaptickets, Hotels.com, eBookers, and Wotif – that the messaging component of UPAs are equally as valuable to flight shoppers as the visual component of UPAs. This feedback prompted the introduction of Structured UPAs as a way to deliver a more standardized version of data that channels can adapt to meet their customers’ need for information that can be scanned quickly during flight shopping to help with the decision-making process.Structured UPAs consist of an icon, a headline, and a description, and channels can choose to integrate all or some of these attributes. Structured UPAs also have a primary field that supports multiple standardized data inputs (e.g., yes/no) that enable sales channels to craft the messaging according to the data but using their own channel voice as desired. This new rich content format is currently available for over 300 airlines and includes five objective, standardized topics:Cleaning: whether airlines are using disinfectants to clean aircraft and how often, and if that information is availableMasks: whether there is a mask or face covering requirement; specifying if a medical-grade mask is requiredTemperature check: whether there is a pre-flight temperature check requirementBlocked seats: whether an airline is blocking adjacent or middle seats, or if only some seats are blockedCapacity: whether an airline is limiting the capacity on flights to ensure physical distancingStructured UPAs will initially focus on reassurance topics and will expand in the future to meet market needs and flight shopper demand for information. Structured UPAs will be delivered via the Routehappy API and can be targeted at a granular level to focus on the airline and cabin, book-by dates, origin and destination, and more.“The crisis reinforced how critical UPAs are in giving travelers the information they need to feel safe and protected when they fly. Now our airline and channel partners are relying on ATPCO to deliver this content in more flexible ways,” said Jonathan Savitch, Chief Commercial Officer at ATPCO. “Visuals are still important as they enable consumers to better understand, at the time of booking, the airline experience they will receive. But after many hours of consultation with thought-leading airlines and channels, we realized they need more options, including the ability to filter and sort based on key health information.” Expedia Group, which will be one of the first channels to integrate the new rich content format, worked hand-in-hand with ATPCO to quickly bring this functionality to market. “Right now, it is so important that travelers have the cleanliness and safety information they need when considering travel, particularly air travel. Each situation is different, and this structured content gives us the flexibility to tailor, localize, and test messaging to help travelers make more informed decisions,” said Michael Gulmann, Senior Vice President of Transportation, Expedia Group. “We are really excited by the partnership and customer-centric focus of ATPCO in working together to develop this highly relevant content. Structured UPAs enable travelers to more easily compare policies across airlines in a consistent and concise way so we can offer a simplified shopping experience while highlighting critical information.” “We’ve seen an increase in conversions for those channels that integrated Reassurance UPAs and anticipate a similar impact for our new Structured UPA,” explains Savitch. “One channel has seen a 4% conversion improvement by adding ATPCO’s Reassurance UPA content. This highlights that when the shopping experience is adapted to drive awareness of flexible airline change policies and safety measures, it can impact the bottom line.”
GribbonBerry appointed PR for BodyHoliday, St. Lucia
BodyHoliday, multiple award-winning wellness resort in St. Lucia, has appointed boutique PR agency GribbonBerry to handle its communications in the UK and Ireland, as it reopens on 1st October, during a very challenging year for the global travel industry. The resort was the very first overseas destination spa over 30 years ago and continues to lead…
BodyHoliday, multiple award-winning wellness resort in St. Lucia, has appointed boutique PR agency GribbonBerry to handle its communications in the UK and Ireland, as it reopens on 1st October, during a very challenging year for the global travel industry. The resort was the very first overseas destination spa over 30 years ago and continues to lead as pioneers in this field. There has never been a more important time to prioritise health and wellbeing than in 2020. BodyHoliday’s approach to wellness is so comprehensive that holidays here have the potential to change lives. There is a 33-treatment room wellness centre, offering everything from medically-backed preventative therapies, through to Ayurveda, meditation, weight-loss programmes and pampering treatments. The range of activities, including training with Olympic athletes, would keep guests busy from dawn until dusk, if they so choose. Holidays at BodyHoliday are designed by guests with personalisation taken to another level – it can be a haven of serenity or a hive of activity.
IATA urges alternatives to quarantines in US
GENEVA – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed strong concern over the continued existence of arrival quarantine regimes imposed by state governments in the United States, including New York and Hawaii. IATA urged implementation of pre-departure COVID-19 testing regimes so that states can eliminate quarantine requirements.“Mandatory arrival quarantines for air travelers have the same…
GENEVA – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed strong concern over the continued existence of arrival quarantine regimes imposed by state governments in the United States, including New York and Hawaii. IATA urged implementation of pre-departure COVID-19 testing regimes so that states can eliminate quarantine requirements.“Mandatory arrival quarantines for air travelers have the same effect as outright border closures. There are better ways to protect citizens during the COVID-19 crisis. Instead of implementing job-destroying arrival quarantines, states should be encouraging the federal government to work with other governments to implement pre-departure testing. This will keep people safe and address the vital need to jumpstart struggling local economies and protect jobs that rely on out-of-state and international visitors”, said Peter Cerdá, IATA’s Regional Vice President for The Americas.Airlines are taking the lead in working to replace quarantines with measures, such as pre-departure testing being put in place on some routes and at some airports, most notably for Hawaii-bound travelers from US West Coast gateway cities. These and other airline-led testing programs will provide valuable experience while the numbers of travelers are still low, so that testing can be efficiently ramped-up as demand returns.Passengers also support testing over quarantines. According to our latest survey of recent travelers, 64% of US travelers surveyed agreed that quarantine is unnecessary if a person tests negative for COVID-19. Eighty percent were willing to take a pre-departure COVID test. And 56% believe that COVID-19 is sufficiently controlled in the US to open up to international visitors.Establishing internationally agreed pre-departure testing is the key to unlocking global connectivity, stimulating battered economies, and giving hope to the 10% of the global workforce whose livelihoods depend on travel and tourism.