Demand drives more ‘active’ small group trips for A&K

Luxury travel company strengthen's Australia/New Zealand program

Roys Peak, Wanaka, New Zealand | credit: Miles Holden/Tourism New Zealand

Smaller groups, a regional focus, more physical activities and private residences highlight the soon-to-be-released Abercrombie & Kent program for Australia and New Zealand. 

With over 25 years’ expertise in the region catering for A&K’s inbound and domestic market, the luxury travel company certainly isn’t new to the local scene.

“This will be our 10th brochure in Australia and New Zealand, so it’s not that we thought we needed to jump on the domestic market bandwagon,” Abercrombie & Kent’s Regional Managing Director for Australia & Asia Pacific, Sujata Raman, told LATTE. “We’ve been in this game for a long time. We’re not desperately scrambling around putting together itineraries or product.”

Sujata Raman, Regional Managing Director, Australia & Asia Pacific, Abercrombie & Kent

“It wasn’t really difficult for us to relaunch the program. We just wanted to expand the scope which made sense given the current circumstances. Our Australia and New Zealand product certainly had a range of choice but there weren’t any Small Group Journeys, so we’ve expanded on those, we’ve expanded on some Private Residences, there are some more walking itineraries – people are wanting to be active and get out into the outdoors,” Raman said.

The new range of trips are centred around physical activity, be it walking, cycling, golfing, fishing and alpine hiking. Among the options will be a cycling itinerary around Nelson in the Abel Tasman region of New Zealand’s South Island and a walking itinerary based of out Queenstown – both six days in duration.

“They are not extraordinarily difficult but we ran some market research pre-COVID with past passengers and people who had looked at travelling with A&K in the past, and one of the things that became very clear was that people want to be active. A bit more active than we give them credit for. So we’ve deliberately gone down this route.

“I believe the whole thing with COVID over the last few months is that people want to get out and be in the open rather than cooped up somewhere,” Raman explained.

Cycling in Nelson, New Zealand | image credit: Dean McKenzie/Tourism New Zealand

In South Australia, Abercrombie & Kent will offer a private aircraft itinerary round-trip from Adelaide to the Flinders Ranges where guests will be able to not only tread trails but explore remote destinations such as William Creek (where the population hovers around single digits), Coober Pedy, the Gawler Ranges and Port Lincoln over eight days.

The emphasis for the new product is small groups of just six to eight guests. Abercrombie & Kent has offered its Small Group Journeys abroad for many years and the new program will see a similar focus.

Raman says the benefits of small groups enable itineraries to utilise boutique luxury accommodation and give greater flexibility, especially on active trips.

“What we are hearing from our customers is that they’d like to go away with small groups on their own, with family or friends, and so many of these itineraries are designed for that purpose.”

The ANZ program will also include a private aircraft day tour from Melbourne to the bucket-list Barnbougle Golf Course, rated among the top 10 in Australia, located outside Launceston, Tasmania. Designed for a group of up to seven friends looking for a unique event to mark a special occasion, A&K unveiled the fly-in, fly-out excursion a short time ago and it has had “so much take up,” Raman said, that it warranted inclusion in the program.

Additional Private Retreats will also be introduced, building on the success of Ooralba Estate in Kangaroo Valley, NSW. Accommodating up to 10 people and set in wilderness areas, the private residences are also pitched at small groups and chefs can be arranged to prepare meals, or guests can fend for themselves.

Ooralba Estate, Kangaroo Island - featured in A&K's Private Retreats

Hard copy brochures of the program will be released shortly but Abercrombie & Kent is gearing towards e-brochure formats going forward, Raman told LATTE, with customers “more conscious about touching things and washing hands.”

We’re not sure how many people want to handle a physical brochure so that is a bit of a consideration for us.”

Learn more about the program here and view the brochure here.

Meanwhile, a series of webinars are available to the trade to educate them on the revamped program. Click the below links to register:

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