Put it all to­gether for a fan­tas­tic get­away

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - PACKAGE HOLIDAYS -

Com­bin­ing a mul­ti­tude of el­e­ments is the key to mak­ing the most of a spe­cial break, writes Mercedes Maguire

TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR but­ler ser­vice? Free kid’s club?

What would grab your at­ten­tion to book a pack­age hol­i­day? Aus­tralians have been touted as the sec­ond-big­gest hol­i­day spenders in the world (af­ter the Saudis), and travel com­pa­nies are work­ing hard to nab a lu­cra­tive share of that travel dol­lar.

On aver­age, Aus­tralians spend $3962 on an over­seas trip, shad­ow­ing the global aver­age of $2300, ac­cord­ing to Visa’s lat­est Global Travel In­ten­tions study. The re­port also re­vealed Aussies plan to in­crease their hol­i­day budget by al­most 10 per cent on their next trip to an aver­age $4331.

So what are travel com­pa­nies will­ing to do to turn a hol­i­day-maker’s head?

Colin Bow­man, Flight Cen­tre’s gen­eral man­ager of mar­ket­ing, says com­pa­nies are al­ways look­ing for ways to add value to a pack­age. “I was in Hong Kong re­cently and the ho­tel we stayed at of­fered guests a mo­bile phone for the du­ra­tion of their stay with calls charged at a lo­cal rate,” he says. “It’s the small but very im­por­tant in­clu­sions like these which can set a pack­age aside.”

Matthew Cameron-Smith, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Trafal­gar Aus­tralia, says savvy Aus­tralian trav­ellers want an ex­pe­ri­ence that of­fers au­then­tic­ity.

“Aus­tralians are not into any­thing man­u­fac­tured,” Cameron-Smith says. “Any­one can pay to have din­ner on the Champs El­y­sees in Paris, but how many can or­gan­ise a meal in a pri­vate 100-year-old goat farm in ru­ral France or a lemon grove in Tus­cany?”

Cre­ative Hol­i­days man­ag­ing di­rec­tor James Gaskell says ev­ery­one loves a bonus – wel­come cock­tails, free mas­sages, up­grade of­fers, late check-out or re­turn air­port trans­fers – which they of­fer through Cre­ative Club pack­ages.

The per­fect travel pack­age de­pends on the trav­eller – a fam­ily group, those af­ter ad­ven­ture or cou­ples look­ing for a lit­tle lux­ury.

owner of fam­ily travel spe­cial­ists BYOKids.com.au, says par­ents love all-in­clu­sive hol­i­days where they can pay up­front and know in ad­vance what they’re up for. Com­pa­nies such as Club Med and fam­i­lyfriendly re­sorts in Fiji of­ten of­fer pack­ages that in­clude all meals, bev­er­ages and en­ter­tain­ment, which BYOKids can pack­age with flights and ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“It’s a real ben­e­fit to a fam­ily to know what a hol­i­day will cost

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