Travel Agents & European Tours
Specializing in Europe Travel
Europe is one of the most popular regions in the world for travel. There are many different tour options, a diversity of landscapes and cultures, and friendly people, all of which attract vacationers to this area. As a travel agent, if you choose to specialize in European travel, it's important to understand how many other travel agencies you might be competing with. Do some research into the city in which you live and consider focusing on one niche type of travel within Europe. You can focus specifically on a type of tour, like culinary or history based tours, or you can focus on one or two countries. There are many different popular countries like Italy or Ireland, but many of the less frequented countries are on the rise as well. These include Slovakia or Croatia.
If you decide to specialize your business on European travel, you should educate yourself on all aspects of the area. Learn about European history, the food, culture, and even the languages. Clients will have many different questions for you as they decide which location is best for their type of trip. Also, because Europe is such a popular destination, the number of tour companies operating there is almost limitless. This can make things challenging for travel agents who hope to stay informed of anything and everything related to European travel. The most important trick is to always keep learning. Stay on top of the companies that are opening, closing, and modifying their business. This way you can offer your clients the most up-to-date information on the area.
Types of Tours
Because Europe is such a popular destination for travel, there are many different types of tours available. Everyone from backpackers to seniors enjoy visiting the region, and it's not hard to find a specific tour that is targeted at each demographic. Consider what your client is interested in before deciding on a specific tour company for them. Are they single or a couple? Do they enjoy adventure travel or museums and history? Also consider how much flexibility they prefer as well as their preferred method of transportation. Although most tour companies travel on coach buses, there are some that make use of Europe's extensive railway system. This can be a fun way to experience the region and many visitors prefer it, although some consider it a little to much work. This is something worth discussing with your client.
There are also many different niche tour programs available. These can be a great way to personalize a tour for your client and let them merge their interests and hobbies into their vacation. It's also a great way to see a different side of a country. Some popular specialized tours include those that focus on cooking, history, religion, or adventure sports. Another fun option for some people is to combine physical activity with their vacation. Cycling tours are continuing to grow in popularity with travelers of all ages. In particular, if you are looking to increase you number of younger clients, marketing these tours may be an effective way of doing that. Soccer, or football, in Europe is very popular as well, and there are some tour groups that take advantage of this. Going to games is a highlight for many visitors to the area, so if you can incorporate this into a sports fan's vacation, they will find the experience very memorable and likely return to you for their next vacation.
Destinations in Europe
Europe is a large region with a lot of diversity both within and across its countries. The most distinct divide within the region is between Eastern and Western Europe. Western Europe remains the most popular area for travelers, but Eastern Europe is on the rise. While Western Europe offers a rich history, modern infrastructure, and beautiful cities, Eastern Europe offers much of the same for a lower cost. Some countries in Eastern Europe are only now beginning to reach the travel radar, while other places, like Prague and Budapest, have long been popular destination stops. Countries like Bosnia, Estonia, and Romania are becoming more popular with all types of travelers. They offer a less commercialized vacation in cities that are less crowded and a little more off the beaten path.
But still a favorite for many European travelers are the Western Europe gems like London, Amsterdam, and of course Paris. It's relatively easy to find a highlights tour of Europe that will visit many of the large cities in a handful of different countries. Mediterranean Europe is also a very popular route as well. While some visitors choose to visit the area as part of a cruise, overland tours offer visitors the opportunity to see more of the inland areas and visit cities such a Florence or Madrid.
There are many different regions to visit in Europe. Many visitors prefer to focus on a smaller area and travel at a slower pace. Some tours are more successful at this than others. Consider how much geographic area is covered during the tour, how much time is spent on buses, and how much free time a traveler will have in each city before recommending a specific tour to your client. These factors can make or break a tour for some people.
Familiarization (FAM) Trips
For many of your clients, a trip to Europe may be the trip of a lifetime. They will have many questions before booking with you, and will rely on your personal experience to help direct them down the right path. If you plan to specialize in European travel, it is important that you have first hand experience in the region. Perhaps the best way to acquire this experience is through familiarization trips. These trips allow travel agents to take part in tours for a discounted rate. You can experience what your clients will experience, and once you are armed with this information, you can better market these tours to the appropriate clients.
Before scheduling a FAM trip, consider if the trip is appropriate for your business. If it is through a company you hope to work with in the future, or to a region you wish to gain expertise, then the trip will likely be worth the time and money. Stay on top of these discounts and you can better choose which FAM trips are most appropriate for you. While many of the trips are through cruise lines, larger tour companies may also have them on occasion. If you see a good option, take advantage of it so you can continue to grow your expertise and your business.