Excite Holidays Talks Strategy, New Offers and More

Andrew Yell is Vice President: Global Sales, Product Contracting & Operations of Excite Holidays.

A leading Global Travel Wholesaler, Excite Holidays provides the travel trade with better rates.

In this Q&A, Yell opens up on strategy, new offerings and more.

What is your key strategy these days and why? How does it vary from years past?

We value the importance of the trade at Excite Holidays, and our strategy focuses on helping our agents all over the world grow their businesses. Our motto is ‘Made for Agents’, and we always look to put the agent first in everything we do, from our product contracting to our technology development and marketing efforts. Our business functions are all working towards this common goal.

What are your newest destinations or products in the marketplace? What’s the reasoning for them?

We sell an enormous range of product across destinations all over the world. We have over 250,000 hotels, 63,000 activities and tours and transfers in more than 100 countries. We want agents to know that they can find the perfect product no matter where in the world their clients are going. We give agents the choice to find the right product for their customers with flexible conditions depending on their needs. We really do have the world covered!

What is your most exotic, unusual new offering?

One of our strengths of having a large product range is that there are some really interesting options for both our accommodation and tours. We have castles in Ireland, traditional Ryokans in Japan, converted silos in New Zealand and even an Italian hotel that is built into several caves. We have activities to satisfy all tastes, from adventure and cultural to food-orientated activities. Our more unique and exotic tours include multi-day safaris in South Africa, caving adventures in Iceland, Game of Thrones tours in Croatia and swimming with pigs in the Bahamas.

What’s your “tried-and-true” mainstay offering that clients continue to love? Why do they love it?

Agents are loving our accommodation options domestically in the USA, as well as in Europe – Italy, France and UK have been popular destinations for us. Our activities in Europe have also been popular, particularly some of our ‘skip-the-line’ tickets for major attractions. One destination we are seeing a bit of growth in tours is in Japan, where we offer a wide variety of cultural and day tours like traditional Geisha experiences, tours of the famous Tsukiji fish markets and the always popular day trips to Mount Fuji by bullet train.

Are you modifying your offerings to accommodate the desire many consumers have to “live like a local” and to have “authentic” experiences?

This is an important trend, one that is normally attributed to millennials and Gen Z, but we believe authentic ‘live like a local’ experiences are sought out by travelers of all ages, and we are definitely seeing more interest in some of our experiences

Are there any key challenges for your business in the foreseeable future? Are world economics or dynamics have any effect?

What we love about this industry is that there is always a desire for travel. When economic conditions worsen, we find that people still need to get out and see new places, but the way in which they travel may change slightly – they might opt to travel closer to home or save money on accommodation cost. We also take pride in helping destinations recover from natural disasters or other circumstances outside their control by educating agents and driving bookings back into a destination when things return to normal. The nice thing about travel is you can always find a destination and product to fit your needs at the time.

What is your focus on the U.S. travel agent is for 2018/19? What are you doing to compete for this important distribution channel?

We are approaching our first year of operation in the U.S. market, and we are thrilled with how agents have embraced our offering. The next 12 months will be enormous for Excite Holidays, and we have some exciting new announcements in the pipeline from which we think the U.S. market will greatly benefit. Our commitment is to always ensure our platform and product is improving based on the needs of our agents. We will continue to be present at the major industry events. Our focus is very much on showcasing the benefits our system has for agents and their clients.

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