What is the profile of the traveller that would resort to the services of a travel agency such as yours?
Statistics prove that over the last few years there has been a significant shift from the consumption of luxury goods to the consumption of luxury experiences. Experiential travel has seen a boom. At least once a year more and more, high net-worth individuals want to do more than sit on a beach for two weeks. Niquesa Travel was established to answer this exponentially growing need for life-enhancing, even life-changing travel where clients enjoy a much deeper connection with the world around them. Our clients vary from Millennials to Baby-Boomers yet they all have one thing in common: a sense of adventure and a yearning to see the world in a more immersive way.
Can you provide a few examples of the types of trips you have organised for your clients over the last 18 months.
- Organised a 40th Birthday for 6 couples in heated tents on a glacier in Iceland dancing under the Northern Lights with a DJ flown in from Reykjavik
- Taken a DNA swab from a client for deep analysis with our DNA partner in Italy and created a trip around her heritage and ancestry
- A week in the Douro Valley, Portugal living on private wine estates
- Immersive, cultural tour of Japan in cherry blossom season
- Family treasure hunt around Marrakech and the Atlas mountains
- Solo survival on a deserted Island in Panama
- In partnership with Rolls-Royce, model of choice delivered to Edinburgh airport for a curated drive of Scottish Highlands staying in castles and luxury hotels for 6 nights.
- Storm chasing in southern US states
- Trip to Cuba for 6 friends who took a day riding Harley Davidsons with the son of Che Guevara
How do you build trust with your customers? What makes them loyal?
I am fortunate to have a product team that, collectively, have the most impressive level of destination knowledge and contacts. This instils confidence. We operate a very high level of personalised service before, during and after the trip with a 24/7 line back to us when our clients travel. Most importantly in terms of loyalty is that we deliver on what can be quite complex itineraries.
By offering the most original experiences, the level of expectation of travellers is very high. How do you ensure the suppliers you work with, provide the best standards?
Although we create example itineraries to inspire people all our trips are bespoke and tailored around the needs of each client. Unlike traditional operators we don’t work exclusively with destination management companies (DMCs). They tend to offer the same standard itineraries to all. To support the DMC we have our own black book of influencers and connectors around the world who see a destination in a different light and will have new and exciting contacts a DMC may not have. We have a very thorough vetting process and will often fly out to a destination prior to the client arriving to ensure everything is in order.
Is there a ‘WOW’ or ‘thrill’ factor your customers expect? How is this achieved?
What they expect is to enjoy something unique. They want insider access to people and places. This could be lunching with Andre Bocelli at his seaside home in Italy, accessing restricted parts of the Vatican or simply having a museum opened up before the public arrive for a private viewing or enjoying a lively dinner with a family at their home
Are there any specific trends which stand out? – for example travellers avoiding several less secure destinations.
We are seeing a growing trend for trips such as sabbaticals, not just solo but couples and families who just want to take a few months or a year out. We are also seeing an increase in mindfulness and transformational travel. For example we have organised for individuals and small private groups to spend three days with a survival expert/life coach on a remote island (Tonga and Panama) and then left them for the next three days with no human contact, having to fish, hunt and build their own fire and camp.
We also see a growing demand for ‘new’ destinations, luxury off the beaten track. Some want the reassurance of a branded luxury hotel, others want to experience a greater sense of place.
You divide your offerings by feelings (‘share’, ‘love’, ‘connect’). Tell us more
For Niquesa Travel it was never about booking a holiday based on where clients wanted to go it was always much more about creating experiences around how they wanted to feel when they travel. We created a number of experiences under 12 different emotions. This is because not everyone knows where they want to go. Often we will get a request from a couple who want to ‘celebrate’ or a family who want to ‘re-connect’, a businessman who just want to ‘be free’. So we can create trips around experiences but also around feelings and the emotions of travel which I feel are not acknowledged by most travel companies.
Which are your most popular vacations? How important is the face to face contact with your customers?
We will not create a proposal for any client unless we have spoken, skyped or met with them. It’s really important to ‘interview’ the client and to extract every wish, desire, interest they have and to really understand what they want to get out of the trip. Only then can we send a proposal with confidence and satisfy the client that we have really listened and delivered their perfect trip.
Our most popular destinations are: Iceland, Japan, Marrakech, Rwanda, South Africa, many European destinations, South America and Indian Ocean
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