Kuoni Global Travel Service is piloting a new mini group tour product for the Asian markets, with China, India and Indonesia being the first to trial the concept.
In an interview with TTG Asia, Reto Kaufmann, vice president-sales South-east and South Asia with Kuoni Group Travel Experts, explained that the mini group product is best suited for groups of three to four guests, and up to six or seven people.
Heralding the move as “exciting times ahead for us”, Kaufmann said. “(Mini groups) is a piece of business which is not really touched by OTAs, as they look at big transactional models. But for us, with our destination expertise, buying power and resources in Asia, mini groups is a great platform for us to support our intermediaries.
“A lot of our clients are getting family groups, government delegation, VIP groups, and their travellers don’t want to follow the schedule of a typical leisure group. They don’t want to wake up at 06.00, have breakfast at 07.00 and leave (on a tour) at 08.00. They want flexibility as well as the opportunity to travel together, and the mini group concept is appealing.”
Explaining the choice of pilot markets, Tim Martin, global head of sales and marketing with Kuoni Global Travel Service, said: “We are first offering to (China, India and Indonesia) primarily due to the pull of the market. We are also going in with a couple of key target agencies that are in need of such arrangements. Also, there is a higher potential for multi-generational travel in these markets. I think we can get more learnings from these markets.”
As part of the trial phase, Kuoni will only offer mini group arrangements to a few core European destinations. However, Martin is certain that the destination offerings will “expand very quickly across the whole of Europe”.
He further revealed that the next stage for mini groups would be to take it to the rest of Asia, and finally to create an online platform for Kuoni customers to interact with its officers for tailored quotes.
“The platform will be less traditional and more digital,” he said.