An expert view with…

Expert ViewAMYLEE SILVA

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
– PRIVATE GROUPS, EMEA, G Adventures

What type of service do you offer for Group Buyers?

G Adventures is an adventure travel pioneer, offering a wide selection of affordable small group tours, safaris and expeditions to more than 100 countries. We offer private groups both off-the-rack itineraries such as an Everest Treking Adventure as well as those tailored to fit, where we enhance our existing small-group adventure trips to make them the client’s own. We also offer unique options such as My Own Date, where clients can take an existing trip but change the departure date to suit their private group. We accept free name changes in our group bookings. The trips embrace authentic accommodation, exotic cuisine and local transport to give an intimate and sustainable approach to small-group travel, exploring cultures, landscapes and wildlife.

What kind of groups have you handled recently?

We have a lot of groups of students who travel with us privately, as well as groups of travellers looking to book one of our Active trips such as hikers and walkers. Recently, we have started working with a number of groups from the military forces, which we see as a market with huge potential. One UK student group just chartered a yacht in Cuba for their next adventure! In 2014, they went to the Amazon jungle with us and enjoyed their experience immensely. It’s exciting to see schools getting out there to remote areas and choosing unique programmes. The most complex group I have handled is probably a private trip for a family group that was more than 60 days long!

Are there any emerging trends for group holidays?

We’ve seen a dramatic increase in requests to visit Central America, Costa Rica and Cuba from the UK. Our sailing trips are also now popular for groups wishing to charter a boat in Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Cuba or the British Virgin Islands.

What do you believe are the main ingredients of a successful group tour?

For anyone and everyone involved in groups, planning and organisation is the key. Running small group tours is what our business is built on and having a great Chief Experience Officer (CEO) makes all the difference to the trip for everyone involved! Local knowledge is imperative in many of the places we travel to. Attention to detail and really understanding the itinerary that’s been selected or created is also very important. Find potential problems well in advance and communicate them clearly to travellers. Last but not least, retain flexibility and the element of surprise. You can do all the planning in the world but sometimes stuff just happens and that’s usually when the ‘magic’ occurs and real travel memories are created.

Amylee Silva has worked for four years in the private groups department at G Adventures. Her speciality has always been bespoke or challenging itineraries. Personally, she has travelled to more than 35 countries and had the privilege of visiting all seven continents.