Explore opens local office, launches status match program

The small group tour operator is beefing up its presence in the Australian market with a local office and an aggressive status match offer.

EXPLORE Worldwide this week announced the opening of its first local office in Brisbane, with Global Sales Director and Australian native Ben Ittensohn to return home to as Regional Head.

The small group tour operator has used Adventure World as its GSA in Australia for the past four years, with all local sales and marketing to now return in-house over a four-to-eight week transition period.

Recruitment is underway for two sales consults to join the local Explore team, while Evolution Travel Collective has been appointed to provide the on-ground training and support to travel advisors across Australia.

“It’s a tremendously exciting period to be with Explore, we’ve got really great growth ambitions for this market,” Ittensohn told travelBulletin.

“People are looking for really culturally rich, sustainable holidays coming out of the pandemic, so I think the appeal of of our type of product together with [our] experience is something that we’ve recognised as as an opportunity.

“We want to set ourselves up directly with an Australian office and really show that commitment to Australian travel agents and the trade here, and grow our presence, and do so pretty quickly.”

Part of Explore’s strategy to capture market share will be its “loyalty switch” program, which is now being pushed in Australia, offering discounts to customers who have made multiple trips with a competitor.

Explore will directly target competitors by attempting to capture their customers with increasingly attractive discounts based on their loyalty level with another brand.

Travellers who have booked two or three trips with a competitor can book an Explore trip with a 5% discount, those who have booked four to eight trips will receive a 7% discount, and those who have booked nine or more will receive a 10% discount.

The program is also available for former clients of companies which are no longer trading.

“We hope to encourage adventure travellers to switch to Explore without losing their loyalty benefits held with other companies,” Ittensohn said.

“We know that other companies have downgraded their loyalty programs, or maybe even scrapped them altogether, and, others might have gone out of business.

“We’re confident travellers will love Explore, and we want to honour their loyalty that they might have with our competitors,” he said.

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