Please introduce yourself and the role with your company/organization.
My name is Ken Nickerson and I have had the pleasure of being a Senior Business Development Manager for Trafalgar, Costsaver and Brendan Vacations for the past 12 years here in Atlantic Canada and recently Manitoba, Ontario (Ottawa and Toronto) and Quebec. I’ve worked in the travel and tourism industry for over 25 years and love helping Canadians get inspired, plan and fulfil their travel dreams.
For people that may not know very much about your company, could you describe it and/or the products you offer to travellers?
Trafalgar, Costsaver and Brendan Vacations’ parent company, The Travel Corporation (TTC), is a family owned and family run business in operation since 1920. With 40 award-winning travel and hospitality brands, including Trafalgar, Costsaver and Brendan Vacations and spanning across 70 countries, we provide guests with experiences of a lifetime. From guided vacations (Trafalgar and Costsaver), safaris, river cruising, luxury hotels, tailor-made vacations (Brendan Vacations) and more, TTC offers over nine different travel styles to suit every travellers taste and preferred pace. We offer transformative and immersive experiences by connecting guests to rich cultures, histories, wildlife, natural beauty and communities visited around the world. Trafalgar is TTC’s largest travel brand founded in 1947 and the world’s leading tour company offering one-of-a-kind experiences for guests to Tour Differently.
TTC and its family of brands also work with The TreadRight Foundation, it’s not-for-profit organization, with the mission to make travel matter – something I am extremely passionate about. TreadRight aims to have a positive impact on the people and communities we visit with our guests, to protect wildlife and marine animals and to care for the planet we call home. We do so to connect the next generation of travellers with the same opportunities and experiences we are so fortunate to see and experience first-hand.
How is your company/organization navigating through COVID-19 and how has it made changes to ensure client safety in the future?
Trafalgar, Costsaver and Brendan Vacations have been working very hard behind the scenes to welcome the return of travel for our guests when the world allows us to do so. We’ve remained optimistic and are dreaming of travelling just as much you! I cannot wait to explore Scotland on a Brendan Vacation. I want to explore the country, the cities and the history. I have family roots in Scotland, and I hope to seek them out. One of the great things Brendan does is connect you with the locals. The best thing for me is, I can design my own itinerary with a private chauffeur. I am not driving, lol.
The well-being of our travellers has always been and will always be our main concern. We’ve developed a three-step well-being approach to give guests peace of mind to enjoy their trip, when the time is right. At Trafalgar, Costsaver and Brendan Vacations we’ve collaborated with the World Tourism & Travel Council (WTTC) to align and create global protocols and procedures. As a result, we have been awarded the WTTC Safe Travels stamp. We’re also in alignment with existing national and regional government authority regulations and the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, to produce our enhanced, on-trip standards to assure the well-being and happiness of our guests.
As an industry innovation for travel in 2021, TTC has added a dedicated Well-being Director on any Trafalgar trip with 20 or more guests (excluding Austria and New Zealand). The Well-being Director will support the Travel Director and professionally trained Driver and remain up-to-date on authority and local government guidelines while ensuring all hygiene and physical distancing measures are implemented every step of the way.
Do you have any new tours/products on offer?
This past November 2020, we were thrilled to announce the launch of Brendan Vacations, the premier Ireland and Scotland destination experts into the Canadian market. Guided by its mantra ‘taking you personally,’ Brendan Vacations is passionate about delivering completely authentic experiences to guests which are tailored to travellers needs and interests across numerous travel styles including: Private Chauffeur, Locally Hosted Rail, Self-Drive and Lux Self-Drive.
Trafalgar, the world’s leading and most awarded global travel brand offering 303 trips to 72 countries and all seven continents, is also excited to invite wanderlust seekers to attend its 2021 Ultimate Travel Event series. Kickstarting February 24th, 2021 running through the end of September 2021, travel enthusiasts are invited to join 30-minute journeys to some of their top bucket list destinations and for the chance to win the grand prize of $10,000 worth of travel, every year for the next 10 years* and exclusive show offers. The Ultimate Travel Event series will kick-off by showcasing Europe and Britain, with destination spotlights including Italy, France and more. Its team of amazing storytellers, Travel Directors and local hosts, will take guests on an inspiring journey from tasting Chianti with a Tuscan winemaker, to hearing an Irish celebrity chef share one of her favourite recipes, and more all from the comfort of your own living room. For a full list of upcoming webinar dates and to register, travellers are encouraged to visit here.
What are the most popular tours/products available?
While we all wait to patiently welcome the return of travel, we at Trafalgar, Costsaver and Brendan Vacations are seeing some incredible travel trends for the year ahead. The first is checking off Canadians’ bucket list destinations. We’ve had the past year or so to pause and reflect on where we want to travel to next and are eager to make these travel dreams a reality. We’ve been seeing a ton of interest from guests excited to explore Italy’s historic cities, natural scenery and indulge in delicious and authentic food on Trafalgar’s 13-day Best of Italy trip. In addition, we’re seeing Canadians with an appetite to experience bubbling mud pools, exotic rainforests and wildlife and golden beaches on Costsaver’s 7-day Costa Rica Adventure. Costsaver allows travellers to uncover each destination their way. We include all the essentials and provide guests with the building blocks to tailor their dream holidays. Sign me up!
The return of heritage or ancestry travel is another super popular travel trend we are seeing. Canadians have had to time to look further into their families past and are now set on escaping to the places, people, history, food and cultures their ancestors connected to. Our dedicated Celtic Experts at Brendan Vacations have seen a demand for travellers looking to rewrite their ancestorial stories and working to individually-craft and customize vacations with unique accommodations, quality transportation and exclusive sightseeing on your must-see lists.
What distinguishes you from your competition?
I believe it’s our passion for travel that truly sets as apart from our competition. From dedicated Travel Directors at Trafalgar, our amazing behind-the-scenes team at Costsaver working to create the perfect hand-crafted optional experiences on every tour and our amazing and local Celtic Experts and Storytellers in Ireland and Scotland with Brendan Vacations, we eat, breathe and sleep travel.
As previously mentioned, TTC is a fourth-generation family owned and run business. When guests travel with us, we know how important sharing incredible experiences with your loves are. And we want our travellers to feel a part of the family too while providing exceptional service.