Intrepid Travel’s recently launched Intrepid Premium programme was developed in response to agents asking for a higher standard of accommodation and service. Head of Business Development Joanna Reeve explains more.
What’s different about Premium?
The Premium trips have all the ingredients that people expect from an Intrepid trip – authentic experiences, local tour leaders and small group sizes – but at a higher standard of accommodation and service. That means four-star-plus accommodation, including ‘feature stays’, exclusive experiences, and private transport at a relaxed pace.
A cooking class with a celebrated local chef, Chef Tarik, in Morocco, who is known for healthy Middle Eastern recipes, focusing on organic, local produce and authentic flavours. On our Premium Morocco in Depth trip, guests can explore his bio-restorative organic kitchen garden, olive grove and orchards, can harvest ingredients and learn to make Moroccan delicacies, such as tagines and local salads.
The feature stays provide fantastic experiences in themselves. For example, guests at the Splendid Cave Hotel in Cappadocia, have a front-row seat as the hot air balloons sail overhead. Alternatively, Orient Star in Khiva, Uzbekistan, is a former madrasah (Islamic school) where guests stay in renovated rooms that were once student quarters.
How do you find local families and local experiences?
Intrepid owns and operates its own destination management companies around the world. Our on-the-ground presence and local networks mean we can source local experiences that make our trips stand out.
How do local families or companies benefit?
We always strive to work with local suppliers and ensure the benefit of travel stays in the local economy. That means staying in locally owned accommodation and eating in independent restaurants.
Travellers also get the chance to visit and support social enterprise projects that are working to promote gender equality, animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and economic empowerment.
We support community organisations around the world through our non-profit The Intrepid Foundation.
We actively work with communities to offer experiences that give our travellers the opportunity to connect with the local people and make a positive impact. For example, guests on our Premium Croatia trip spend the day with a local fisherman to learn about sustainable fishing and how eco-tourism is benefitting the remote island of Lastovo. On Premium Iceland, we join in the locals’ efforts to repopulate the country with trees.
As with all Intrepid Travel tours, the Premium range is 100% carbon offset and designed to have a low environmental footprint and a positive impact on local communities.
What other plans do you have in the pipeline?
During the pandemic we created our first ever range of UK active holidays and these have been very successful. We’ll be expanding the range with some exciting additions in the next few weeks.
What tips do you have for agents to sell Premium?
Sell the fact that guests can travel with like-minded people.
Local leaders and 24/7 support: Travelling post-Covid may be daunting for some, so it’s worth highlighting the value of a having a local tour leader who will look after clients from start to finish.
Our escorted tours take place in small groups, which are enough to create a good social vibe, but allow clients to visit those little restaurants or locals’ homes. Clients are able to connect with the people they meet and not just be a face in the crowd.
Premium accommodation: Customers haven’t been able to travel for 12 months so why not give them the option to upgrade their accommodation when they finally get away?
Flexible booking conditions and safety: Now, more than ever, it is important to highlight companies offering flexible booking conditions. Intrepid customers now have the flexibility to change the date of travel, or their trip, 21 days or more prior to departure. If a trip can’t go ahead, they have the option of a 110% credit for future use, or a refund.