Globus Approaches 90th Anniversary with Innovation

Image: PHOTO: A Globus tour bus ferrying tourists to the next point of interest. (photo via Flickr/EDDIE)
Image: PHOTO: A Globus tour bus ferrying tourists to the next point of interest. (photo via Flickr/EDDIE)
David Cogswell
by David Cogswell
Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Tue October 24, 2017

<p class="MsoNoSpacing">Steve Born, vice president of marketing for<a href="http://www.globusandcosmos.com/" target="_blank"> the Globus family of brands</a>, is happy the way the year is turning out, though it's not one you could call "easy."</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">It is a year that recalls the Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times." For a global tour operator offering more than 500 tours in 77 countries on six continents, there is never a dull moment. One day it is <a href="https://ca.travelpulse.com/news/destinations/cuban-tourism-minister-we-ve-bounced-back-from-irma-better-than-ever.html" target="_self">a major hurricane in Cuba</a>, another day it's <a href="https://www.travelpulse.com/news/impacting-travel/london-subway-attack-treated-as-terrorism.html" target="_self">an explosion in London's underground</a> train system.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">These kinds of incidents require the urgent attention of any tour operator who is hosting people in affected areas. The Globus family-made up of Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways-is operating an enormous number of programs globally at any given moment.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">But tour operators across the board are pleased this year with brisk business, Globus included.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">

</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">"2017 is beyond our expectations," Born told TravelPulse. "[Yet,] it started slowly, very slowly."</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">For tour operators, 2017 starts with the winding down of the summer travel season of 2016, when people start planning and booking their 2017 vacations. Business in 2016, an election year peppered with disturbing world events, was a lackluster one for tour operators.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">"But after the election, with Paris recovering, it just took off from there. We're going to end up with all our brands up 12 percent year over year."</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">Sales for 2018 are already looking good.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">"Sales started around the end of June," said Born. "By Christmas half of bookings are in the bank. We're going to be up in double digits again."</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">It may seem counterintuitive that at a time when violence, disturbances and natural disasters are flying by with blinding speed, people are choosing to travel in ever greater numbers.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">"It's such a good time to be a traveler," said Born, "despite what you read in news. Between all the choices, the access and good airfares, the product has never been better. Boomers are at their sweet spot, with the freedom to get away, and they are taking advantage of it. Travelers today are also more resilient than previous generations."</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">For example, the recent bombing in the London Tube "had no negative effect on interest or in bookings," said Born. "All the macro factors are so strong. It's a Golden Age of travel."</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">Globus is particularly happy about 2018 because it is the company's 90th anniversary.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">"It is a momentous year for us," said Born.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">The company is taking a look back at historical benchmarks that brought it to where it is but remains intently focused on the future.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">"You don't drive for 90 years without the ability to stay relevant," said Born. "We are not stopping to say we arrived. We are looking forward and continuing to evolve."</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">There are three particular areas getting Born's attention as Globus charts its course for its second 90 years:</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><b>Avalon River Cruises</b></p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">River cruises <a href="https://www.travelpulse.com/news/cruise/new-study-reveals-cruise-industry-is-booming.html" target="_self">continue the sustained boom</a> of the last decade and a half. As Born looks at the marketing of the product, he can see possibilities of a further breakthrough for river cruises as travelers gain a better understanding of what they offer, and as operators find better ways to structure their programs to make the most of what river cruising offers.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">"It's not enough anymore for a travel brand to just deliver a good product," he said. "You have to inspire."</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">Globus is investing in TV commercials to share the message that, "There is so much more to river cruising than typical cruiser would expect," said Born. "The image of river cruising is very passive. But it's really so much more. The ship presents ports, the ability to get into a destination and be engaged. They can be very active. It is a vacation, but there are many choices of things you can do."</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">Avalon is pushing the boundaries of the river cruise product, exploring new ways to make it an active, engaging experience.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">"We've got the right hardware with <a href="https://www.avalonwaterways.com/River-Cruise-Ships/" target="_blank">our Suite Ships</a>," said Born. "But we're building on it. We're not being passive. We're really making sure the idea of river cruising is continuing to evolve."</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">Innovation continues in the layout of the riverboats and cabins, including new, larger cabins with open-air balconies.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong ms="" style="font-size:13px; background-color:#ffffff; color:#333333; font-family:sans-serif, Arial, Verdana, " trebuchet=""></strong></div><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><b>Expanding Independent Choices</b></p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">As Globus looks to the next 90 years, Born is also thinking a lot about Monograms, the Globus family's independent package product.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">"When we ask, 'What do the next 10 years hold?' I put a lot of faith in the future of Monograms," said Born.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">Monograms is evolving along with trends in the marketplace toward new, creative balances between structure and assistance on one hand and independence on the other. The response to Monograms has been good; Globus is responding by making Monograms more flexible and more customizable.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">This year, Monograms is offering an expanded range of choice in selecting the number of nights on packages. It makes it easier to combine different packages, to expand, contract or alter the itinerary.</p>

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