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Explore Agent Sales Manual 2
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Explore Agent Sales Manual 2

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Learn everything you need to know to sell Explore's unique brand of adventure travel.

Learn everything you need to know to sell Explore's unique brand of adventure travel.

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  • 1. Agent Manual 2006/07
  • 2. Explore the Pages
    • Page
    • About Explore and the Agent’s Manual
    • 2. Top 10 Reasons to book your customers with Explore
    • Small Groups
    • The Tour Leader
    • Fewer Footprints
    • Travel Like a Local
    • Accommodation
    • The Explore Experience
    • Tour Variety
    • Destinations
    • Choice
    • Our Service To You
    • Know Our Brochures
    • Worldwide Brochure
    • Worldwide Brochure – Tour Keys
    • Worldwide Brochure – Tour Reference Guide
    • Worldwide Brochure – Tour Pages
    • On Foot Brochure
    • Cycle Brochure
    • Family Adventures Brochure
    • Adventure Breaks Brochure
    • Beyond Brochure
    • Using Explore.co.uk
    • Explore.co.uk – Tour Info Pages
    • How to Book
    • The Nitty Gritty 1 – Pricing & Land Only
    • The Nitty Gritty 2 – Flights & Accommodation
    • Questions your customers might ask
    • Contact Details
  • 3. About Explore!
    • Explore was founded in 1981 by three travelling companions who had breathed, eaten and
    • slept travel for as long as they could remember. From the relatively tame overland to
    • Kathmandu, to venturing beyond dubious frontiers, from ferrying Land Rovers across the
    • Ubange on hand-built rafts, to close encounters with unlikely creatures –
    • they had a few stories to share.
    • Whatever the case, their blend of idealism, practicality, skills and culture soon translated into a very simple and successful formula.
    • They called it ‘Explore’ and the menu was short but inventive: across the Middle East overland, Lima to Rio, the Nile by felucca...
    • Many miles down the road, and now offering the most diverse recipes in over 130 countries , the ingredients remain exactly the same:
    • travel in small diverse groups of like-minded people
    • get 'further and closer'
    • do things the local way as much as possible, and respect the local culture
    • invest in responsible tourism
    • be 100% organised and professional - but also adaptable & always offer good value
    • One or two things may have changed since the heady days of two phones plus telex machine: we now operate over 400 trips and the Explore family has multiplied to over 120 staff based in Farnborough plus over 150 Tour Leaders
    • Explore Agent’s Manual
    • We know how important choice and variety are for your customers and we are delighted to offer them a truly comprehensive choice of travel experiences.
    • Our sales partnerships with travel agents have played an integral part in the success of Explore over the last 25 years. Therefore, we are always striving to improve our relationship with you and help you to go that extra mile for your customers. As part of this drive to improve your service to your customers we have developed this Explore Agent’s Manual. This will give you most of the information you will need to sell our special brand of exploratory holidays. At Explore we are here to make sure you can get the most out of being an Explore approved agent. For more information use our website www.explore.co.uk or contact our knowledgeable sales team on 0870 333 4801
    1
  • 4. Top 10 Reasons to Book Your Customers with Explore 1. Small Groups: Besides minimising the environmental and cultural impact, we believe small groups enable a far deeper and more interactive experience – something mainstream tour operators struggle to offer. 2. The Tour Leader: All of our trips are led by a specially trained Explore Tour Leader. The expectations we have of them are uncompromisingly high: extensive overseas experience and a cultured enthusiasm for travel are essential qualities. Successful candidates undergo the most intensive training in the business. 2
  • 5. 3. Fewer Footprints: Treading carefully on our planet whilst appreciating and supporting the communities we visit has been central to the kind of exploratory travel that Explore pioneered 25 years ago. This fundamental philosophy has changed little over the years: we still travel in small groups and plough back as much as we can into the local economies. Explore has a 3 star Responsible Tourism Status 4.Travel Like a Local: Smaller groups also mean greater flexibility when it comes to transport. The mode of transport will reflect the essential nature of the tour – a caique for a week’s island hopping in Greece; 4WD for wilderness expeditions and wildlife viewing; a compact coach for cultural itineraries along a good network of roads. In fact we often use more than one type per trip, including elephants, camels and of course on foot! 3
  • 6. 5. Accommodation: The variety of our accommodation around the world is huge. We will always prefer conveniently located, small, comfortable, clean and friendly places – locally run and with plenty of character – to the large globally owned establishments. Often, our chosen accommodation will actually be an essential ingredient of the tour, such as the teahouses in our Everest Teahouse Trek. 6. The Explore Experience: First and foremost it’s about people: your travelling companions, the Explore team, an enduring experience you strike in a remote village. A trip with Explore is also a relaxed but carefully planned adventure holiday, with none of the hassle associated with independent travel – nor the impersonal regime of mass tourism. 4
  • 7. 7. Tour Variety: No matter what sort of experience your customer is after we can cater for their dreams. Our trips can include culture, discovery, ethnic encounters, wilderness experiences, wildlife, natural history, multiple activities, walking, trekking, cycling, voyages, rail journeys and much, much more. 8. Destinations: Explore operates in 132 countries around the world: from Egypt to Ecuador, Canada to Cambodia, Thailand to Tibet and Swaziland to Sweden. Wherever your customers want to go we can take them. Let them experience some of the most amazing holiday destinations in the world. 5
  • 8. 9. Choice - Brochures 10. Our Service to You: Your agency will earn excellent rates of commission and receive unparalleled customer service from our dedicated agency sales team. 5 adventure packed brochures. 400+ Tours. A huge variety of itineraries, activities, destinations and cultures. Same fundamental ethos: One World, Explore It. 6 Greg & Fiona April & Louisa Michelle
  • 9.
    • Worldwide Brochure
        • 300+ Tours
        • 131 Countries
        • Adventure
        • Walking & Trekking
        • Wildlife
        • Culture
        • Expeditions & Fascinating Journeys
        • Rail Journeys
    • Also Featuring:
    • Multi-Active trips – Same great itineraries but with a focus on fun activities and exciting excursions. Activities include, cycling, kayaking, white-water rafting, horse riding and much, much more. (See Page 8 of the brochure for more info).
    • In Style trips – Some of our most popular and exciting trips have been upgraded with luxury accommodation. These ‘In Style’ trips offer accommodation that is synonymous with the local heritage and history; and has a much higher level of comfort. (Page 9)
    • Centre Based trips – Explore trips with a slowed-down pace focusing on one or perhaps two locations, this type of holiday is designed to provide a base from which to enjoy the surroundings. Benefits include: a better chance to meet the locals; not having to unpack and repack luggage; finding favourite haunts in one place; having an option of returning to a place for a second visit. (Page 8)
    Know Our Brochures 7
  • 10. Multi-Activity Tour Same great tours with multiple activities and excursions for the physically active adventurer. Culture & Discovery Experience the local cultures and sites – not necessarily physically demanding Wilderness Experience Ultimate adventures in remote locations. May have to ‘rough it’ at times. Wildlife & Nature Visiting the world’s greatest game reserves and focusing on wildlife and the wonders of nature. Ethnic Encounters Meet and sometimes stay with traditional local people or tribal groups. Luxury Option Same great tours with top quality interesting accommodation River/Sea Journeys Easy going river exploration or sea adventures on ships, sailboats, ferries or tall ships. Accommodation is usually onboard. Rail Journeys Discover fantastic destinations by rail, with a good balance of free time and planned exploration. Walking & Trekking Walking or trekking is the main focus of these tours. Easy Walking/Exploring Typically includes days of easy or moderate walking – other activities are usually available for non-walkers. Cycling See the sights and scenery on these, often relaxing, trips revolving around cycling Central Location for Excursions Based around a single or twin-centre location, within reach of specific places of interest and activities. Worldwide Brochure – Page 2 Inside Cover Use these helpful symbols to find the right tour for your customer 8
  • 11. Worldwide Brochure – Pages 18 & 19 Use this page to quick reference tours and find the right Explore trip for your customers Page Numbers Single Supplement Available Activity Keys – what to expect on each tour Tour Length - Days Explore Tour Code Months of Operation 9
  • 12. Worldwide Brochure – Understand the tour pages Tour Name Activity Keys Tour Length & Type of Accommodation Tour Reference Months of Operation Map showing tour area plus extensions and modes of transport Info on possible tour extensions is highlighted in the text. Tour Factfile – giving info on itinerary of tour, day by day. Info on ‘In Style’ option 10
  • 13.
    • Walking & Trekking
    • 80+ Different Itineraries
    • Ramble Trails
    • Conquer Peaks
    • Stunning Scenery
    • Off the Beaten Track
    • Experienced Tour Leaders & Support
    Take a look at our fantastic range of trips in 46 different countries around the world. Our new look worldwide brochure also offers your customers all the information any avid trekker might need, including: Trek length and gradient charts; Trek route; Transport information; Difficulty of trek – Graded A to D; Accommodation information; Tour staff and support information; Prices and dates Sales Tip! – Show the trekking tours to experienced walkers, they’ll appreciate the details on altitude and trek grading. 11 Use our Trek Length and Gradient Charts to indicate to your customers the difficulty of the trek, the distance they will cover, the altitude they will go to and rest time they will have, on a day-by-day basis.
  • 14.
    • Family Adventures Brochure
    • Focus on Fun!
    • Great for active families
    • Specialist tour leaders with extra affinity for children
    • See amazing wildlife
    • Visit far-flung places
    • Children as young as 5 can travel on the tours
    • New Teenagers only departures on selected tours
    • New option for families to go independent, and have their own private tour.
    Whether your family customers want an action packed short-haul adventure or a cultural faraway getaway with their tribe – you’ll find it all within Explore’s Family Adventures brochure.   65 Trips – Single or multi-activity. 48 Countries – From Turkey to Madagascar, Costa Rica to China. Departures – Specially laid out around the school holidays   These trips are very popular – so ensure your customers book early! 12
  • 15.
    • Cycle Brochure
    • 34 Tours
    • 3-16 Days
    • Small Groups
    • Great Scenery
    • All Fitness Levels & Ability
    • Get closer to nature
    In this third edition of the Explore Cycle brochure your customers will find a fantastic selection of trips for the two-wheeled adventurer. As ever, our focus is on easy-going to moderate road and off-road cycling, from 3 to 16 days and spanning four continents . By pedalling along rural backroads and byways, and at our own pace, we really get closer to the local people. And, with vineyards and cycling proving such a popular combination, now there’s even more choice for the wine connoisseur on two wheels. Burgundy or Bardolino? Tokaj or Traminer? – The choice is yours. Santé!   Sales Tip! – when showing your customers through the new brochure use the scenery and cycle grading keys to find the most suitable trip for their needs. 13 Cycling Grades The following grades should be used as a general guide to help your customers decide if a trip is right for them. More specific comments regarding grading and typical cycling terrain encountered on each trip are also found in the trip factfile. Grade A (Easy) – Generally cycling on the flat and/or occasionally on hilly terrain with very limited uphill sections. These trips should appeal to anybody with reasonable fitness. Ideal for those new to the concept of cycling holidays. Grade B (Moderate) – Generally cycling on the flat and in hilly terrain with occasional steeper ascents and descents. These trips are suitable for more frequent cyclists and have a reasonable level of fitness. Grade C (Strenuous) – Some cycling on the flat but generally cycling in hilly terrain with occasional steeper ascents and descents. These trips may include more challenging sections so some hill climbing experience will be beneficial. Suitable for regular cyclists with a good level of fitness.
  • 16.
    • Short Breaks Brochure
    • Discover the world in a long weekend!
    • Activity Based, Wildlife Focus, or Cultural Breaks
    • Great Value for Money.
    • Give your customers a taste for Explore adventures!
      26 Trips – Single or Multi Activity 25 Countries – From Iceland to Libya, Sicily to Canada 3 to 7 nights – Friday to Sunday? Wednesday to Monday?   These amazing trips enable your customers to visit some of the world’s most spectacular locations, view incredible wildlife and partake in some very exciting activities, but in the shortest time possible. Sales Tip! – if your customers are new to adventure travel they can sample the experience on these great short breaks. Soon they’ll be coming back for more! 14 Tiny Brochure…Tiny Adventures!!
  • 17.
    • Explore Beyond
    • Tours found on www.explore.co.uk/beyond
    • Travelling Beyond Boundaries
    •  
      • Archaeology & Culture – visit offbeat and recently discovered archaeological sites and special areas of cultural interest and meet some of the most remote communities on Earth
    •  
      • Nature & Wildlife – Get closer to nature and visit remote or newly created wildlife and nature reserves. Some of these tours may involve participation in wildlife research and habituation projects
    •  
      • Wilderness Exploration – Explore the world’s greatest deserts, ice fields, steppes, forests, mountains and oceans.
    • Sales Tip! – If you have customers who thrive on challenging adventures show them this brochure!
    15
    • 15 of the most remote travel destinations in the world
    • Spitsbergen – Arctic Circle
    • Tassili Plateau & Hoggar Mountains – Algeria
    • Gelf Kebir – Egypt
    • Togo, Benin & Burkina Faso – Africa
    • Nubian Desert – Sudan
    • Socotra Island – Yemen
    • Rwenzori NP – Uganda
    • Marojejy NP – Madagascar
    • Katavi and Mahali NP – Tanzania
    • Danakil & Tigray – Ethiopia
    • Pamir Mountains – Uzbekistan, Tajikistan & Kyrgyzstan
    • The Kingdom of Mustang – Nepal
    • Kamchatka – Russia
    • New Britain – Papua New Guinea
    • Noel Kempff Mercado NP – Bolivia
  • 18. Use explore.co.uk
    • Search and discover information about Explore tours using our homepage www.explore.co.uk
    • Search using a variety of different criteria
    • Download and print tour dossiers
    • Download and print booking forms and terms & conditions
    • Check Late Availability
    Search by tour ref – if you know the tour code this is the best way to find a specific tour Search by brochure – get to pages with more relevant information for each Explore brochure Search Late Availability – all Explore late availability deals are viewable here Search tours by destination Search tours by departure date 16
  • 19. Tour Info Page Tour Title and Ref code Download and print tour dossiers Check tour price and availability Quick look at tour itinerary and map Click here to switch to ‘Land Only’ itineraries Tour Picture Gallery 17
  • 20. How to Book
    • Call our dedicated Agent Sales Team on:
    • 0870 333 4801
    • If your chosen tour is available you can either:
    • Take an option for 7 days
    • Confirm a booking by taking a deposit (for booking over 60 days before departure). The deposit amount is 10% of the tour value or £50pp whichever is greater
    • Confirm a booking by taking FULL payment (collect full payment within 60 days of departure)
    • Ask your customer:
    • To complete an Explore Booking Form. Download and print from http://www.explore.co.uk/2006bookingforms
    • To read through the Terms & Conditions in full.
    • We will send full confirmation of the booking once we have received the signed Booking Form and either the deposit
    • payment or the full payment when less than 60 days prior to departure .
    • N.B. – Late Bookings may take 2-3 days longer for us to confirm due to the complicated nature of rebooking released flights and ground arrangements at late notice
    18
  • 21. Pricing Tour prices are per person and represent the basic cost of the tour at the time of publication of the brochures. It is the nature of Adventure travel that prices from time to time may vary because of alterations to flights, transport or other ground related costs. Price Surcharges – The price should not alter once you have booked; unless there has been a change in airline fuel surcharges, government taxes or dues relating to embarkation, disembarkation or security. Where this is the case, additional costs will be passed on in the form of a surcharge. Please see ‘Surcharge Conditions’ in the booking conditions. What’s Included in the Price – XL prices include flights from London UK Airport Departure Taxes Transfers (for those travelling on the group flight) Transport Accommodation Meals (see tour itinerary for meals available on particular tour) Professional Tour Leaders Local Crew Sightseeing and Visits Local Payment – A separate local payment is payable on many tours. This is shown clearly within the individual tour dates and prices in the brochures and pricing supplements. The Local payment forms part of the overall selling price of the tour, but is paid as a separate amount to the tour leader on arrival at the joining point abroad. In some cases it will be used for a specific purpose on the tour; in most cases it is used by the tour leader or local ground agent to cover a proportion of the local operating costs. Single Room Charge – Although not available in the selling price of the tour, the option of paying for a single room is available on many tours and is shown separately within the dates and prices below each tour where applicable. What’s NOT Included in the Price – Visa Fees, vaccinations, passports, international departure taxes, insurance, excess baggage charges, optional tours and excursions, hotel porterage, meals other than those stated as included, all items of a personal nature. Tips for personal service are not included and are usually expected. Loyalty Discounts, i.e. 5% for 5 trips, are offered to all our clients; however the cost of this discount is split 50/50 with our sales agents when the tours are booked through the agent. ‘ Land Only’ Itineraries Land Only dates & prices for all of our tours are available on request. These indicate prices starting from the first city or joining point abroad and exclude connecting flights to/from London. This also enable your customers to combine various Land Only arrangements on two or more tours, or combine one of our tours with your customers’ own independent flight arrangements. Clients booked on Land Only arrangements should also note that normally the transfers between the airport and hotel (at the start and end point) are not included. The Nitty Gritty 1 19
  • 22. Flights How Explore works with airlines – As a rule we work with airlines on an allocation basis. This means that we request a block of seats for each destination and for all departure dates way in advance of the brochures being published. Due to the ever changing nature of the airline business, however, there may be occasion where allocated seats are no longer available. This could be for a number of reasons including the airline withdrawing the flight from their schedule or smaller aircraft being used on a particular route. When this happens we find alternatives – either alternative flights with the same carrier or similar flights with a different carrier. Sometimes in the event of Explore finding alternative flight arrangements certain additional flight supplement costs can be charged to the customer. Please recommend to your customers that they book 7-8 weeks prior to departure to reduce the potential inconvenience and extra cost of not being on the group flight. Accommodation Hotels – Small hotels are not always geared up to ‘western’ standards, and at times facilities can be less than salubrious: But there are compensations – a closer sense of reality, a better feeling of locale. We have no desire to stay at larges-scale tourist complexes nor experience the cosseted fantasies of ‘deluxe’ hotels. Our Hotels are divided into two classes: H+ - usually twin bedded rooms, normally with private facilities. H – usually twin bedded rooms, sometimes three or four bedded rooms may have to be used. Normally with shared facilities Local Style Accommodation – On some tours and night stops we may use more local family run guesthouses, rest houses, apartments, residencias, jungle lodges, private homes, basic huts in tribal villages, longhouses or mountain refuges. Our Local Style is divided into two classes: L+ - usually twin bedded rooms, maybe some 3-4 bedded. Normally shared facilities. L – could be twin bedded but more usually multiple share or dorm style, sometimes mixed sex, sleeping arrangements. Usually shared facilities. Camping – We provide all the necessary camping equipment; your customers may need to bring a sleeping bag or mat and other personal gear as detailed in the trip dossier. We use two person tents unless stated otherwise. Generally camp meals are included while camping or trekking and are usually prepared by our own cook or leader. On some trips your customers may be expected to erect their own tents and help with camp chores. On a few trips we sleep under the night sky. Our Camping is divided into two classes: C+ - designated campsite, usually with fixed WC/Shower. Possibly with fixed pre-erected tents on certain tours C – natural, rough, wild, bush camp. Limited or no facilities. Temporary WC. Usually need to pitch own tents. Pre & Post Tour Accommodation We can now book accommodation for your customers before and after the start of their Explore tour. The accommodation will be at the original hotel used for the start of the Explore tour. These Pre and Post Tour Packages (PPTP) are available on many of the Explore itineraries. The packages can also include transfers to and from the airport for an extra fee. Please enquire about PPTP next time you are booking an Explore tour for your customers. The Nitty Gritty 2 20
  • 23. Questions your customers might ask
    • What is the best time of year to travel on an Explore tour?
    • All our tours are planned to coincide with the best climatic conditions at each destination. For example, in India we tend to avoid the wet Monsoon months and plan most of our tours to run between October and March when conditions are at their best for travel and sightseeing. Climate information for all the destinations we feature can be found on the last page of the Worldwide brochure.
    • How fit do I have to be to go on an Adventure Holiday?
    • It depends on the type of trip your customers want to take. Some trips in our brochure, such as the trek to Everest Base Camp or the ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro, are classified as strenuous and should only be undertaken by those with plenty of hill walking experience and an above average level of fitness. However, the vast majority of tours in our brochure are well within the capability of any healthy individual leading a normal, active life. Indeed, on most tours, an open mind and a natural curiosity for people and places is more important than a high degree of physical fitness.
    • What is the average size of the group?
    • Our group size varies and is indicated on each tour information page in this website and in the brochure. Most trips average 15 or 16 people: a few have a maximum of 24 people.
    • Are your tours suitable for single travellers?
    • Our tours are sold on a twin share basis which means there is no compulsory single supplement on the tours. Therefore we attract many single travellers. It is an ideal way to travel in a group. Usually in an average group of 16 people half of them will have booked individually. Your customers will share a room or a tent with somebody of the same gender. We normally match people up by age. Our tours attract like-minded people so your customers will meet people and make friends from all over the world. We also offer a 'single room option', whereby your customers can pay a supplement and pre-book a single room although it should be noted that the single room option is not necessarily available on every night of the tour.
    • How suitable are your tours for children?
    • On our worldwide trips we take all ages of travellers from 14-79 years. However we don't often take many people under 20 years therefore your customers’ children may be the only ones in the group. It is important that they have a grown up attitude to fit in with the rest of the group. Unless of course your customers book a Family Adventure whereby a grown-up attitude is frowned upon and the children can be as young as 5 years old on some tours.
    • How safe are the countries you visit?
    • Some of the countries we visit on our tours are 'developing' countries where the standard of living is lower than we are used to in the west. As a result, safety and security are important issues for all adventure travellers, especially those travelling independently. One of the best ways to increase your customers’ level of personal security is to travel in a small group. Not only does this make them a less tempting target for criminals, but they can take advantage of their tour leader's local knowledge, often built up over a number of tours, to adopt suitable precautions for the area they are visiting, so avoiding potential trouble spots
    • What is the local payment?
    • This is part of the tour cost. This is payable to the tour leader for everything that we cant invoice from this end. Ie local guides. The tour leader will take this at the start of the tour and will explain what he will be using this for on tour.
    • How much money should I take with me?
    • This will depend on the length of the tour and the person. Your customers should take the dossier as their benchmark and work from the prices on there. On average a 2 week tour £250 plus local payment. They should also allow for any optional costs.
    • What money should I take with me?
    • Again as per the dossier. Local payment will be detailed on the confirmation and could be in sterling or the local currency. This should always be in cash. We always suggest a mixture of cash/switch or debit card and credit card for emergencies.
    21
  • 24. Visit Us Nelson House 55 Victoria Road Farnborough Hants GU14 7PA Call Us Reservations 0870 333 4801 Marketing (01252) 379518 Email Us Reservations [email_address] Brochure Requests www.trade-gate.co.uk Contact Me Greg Thurston – Sales Manager to request training, to request a discount, to discuss marketing ideas or any other issues you have Tel: (01252) 379511 Email: gregt@explore.co.uk 22