Making dreams come true 24 hours a day: The experts of DER Touristik Group provide professional assistance to their customers round the clock.
MERAKI TRAVEL & DONATELLO
for your holiday
While in India, should you take a side trip to the “Pink City”, the old town of Jaipur? If you want to enjoy a special holiday, you need competent assistance – ideally round the clock. The experts of DER Touristik Group assist guests all the way from booking to the stay at their holiday destination – in 179 countries worldwide.
Planning a long-haul trip to, say, India can be a whole lot of fun. But it often requires a lot of research as well. Which route should you take if you have only 14 days and don’t want to miss any highlights? How far can you travel anyway with just two weeks in such a huge country? What means of transport should you use? And wouldn’t it be nice to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience during this trip, like an hour of yoga at the crack of dawn with the majestic Taj Mahal as a backdrop?
It's a lot of work to organise such a trip on your own. If you prefer an easier way, let the experts at Meraki Travel, the newest member of the six specialist team at DER Touristik UK, be your guide. They have already done the legwork. Working closely with the destination agencies of DER Touristik Group, they have collected and checked out the most important information for each destination: Where are the most popular sights? Which culinary delights or authentic excursions should not be missed? What about insider tips that are not in every travel guide? The groundwork has already been done by the time the would-be traveller curls up on the sofa one evening, laptop folded open, and is asked by the Meraki Travel website to “Choose your destination!”
“Just as today's customers can configure a new sofa online with just a few clicks, our digital concept makes it easy to plan and book a complex long-haul trip,” says Matt Hodgson, General Manager of Meraki Travel. Customers interested in travelling to India, for instance, will receive four route suggestions. They then select one option and can enhance the chosen tour with additional experience packages and the desired hotel category to create a personal dream trip. They can also save the travel plan and reconsider it over the next few days. Or share it with friends by e-mail. Whenever they resume planning, prices are shown in real time. Once all details are set, customers can book their trips with just a few clicks.
Digital and intuitive: Meraki Travel revolutionises long-haul travel planning in Great Britain
Meraki Travel is a British start-up that was established in record time. The idea was born in the spring of 2017, and by November 2018 the new brand of DER Touristik UK was already online. DER Touristik UK is made up of Kuoni and six specialists in the British market. Its offers are just as high quality as those of Kuoni’s own travel agencies, where the focus is on personal contact with travel experts and their sales advice. Meraki Travel takes a completely different approach. Derek Jones, CEO DER Touristik UK, explains why: “We took a close look at people who had not booked trips with us. This turned out to be mainly Generation Y digital natives. Young people are searching for individual travel experiences and are not particularly interested in having direct contact with a travel agent.” The greatest challenge when establishing Meraki Travel was developing a technology that gives the customers the greatest level of comfort – because the travel provider does the hard ground work for them. “Travel planning and booking take place on the same online platform,” Hodgson says. “That is unique to date. Once the tour planning is done, customers don’t have to contact a travel agency or call centre, but can take care of things in one step.”
India was just the beginning. Meraki Travel now offers six long-haul destinations. Others like Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia are to follow. With the Group’s own destination agencies, the team of only eight people, led by General Manager Hodgson, has strong partners who provide additional valuable input for their most important and constantly available employee: the digital travel planner.
Donatello: The French travel specialist for Italy
Matthieu Mariotti also stands by DER Touristik Group’s commitment to providing round-the-clock support for guests – from the booking process to the stay at the destination itself. Not as the general manager of a start-up, but rather as the director of a traditional company that continuously reinvents itself. The French executive is Business Unit Director at Kuoni France. By acquiring this company in the spring of 2018, DER Touristik Group entered the French market and expanded its position in the premium segment. “In comparison with the German market, the French tour operator market is much smaller, but of very high quality. With our brands and their distinctive profiles, we’ve built up a good reputation over many years,” says Emmanuel Foiry, Managing Director of Travel Lab SAS, known as Kuoni France.
The newest brand, Donatello, has such a distinctive image. It is committed to presenting a classic travel destination like Italy in a new light. Donatello offers guests with any size budget often previously unknown perspectives on their destination. You won’t find Lake Garda bathing holidays, or the classic trip to Rome with stops at St. Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum, or quick sightseeing tours of Tuscany. What you will find are less travelled routes and accommodations only known to insiders in Florence and Rome. Or tours that let you spend half the day sightseeing and the other half exploring on your own. All provided with just the level of support travellers want. And with lots of flexibility. Donatello customers can start their journeys from any location, meet their groups anywhere and choose to participate only in parts of the programme.
This is the concept of the company that was established nearly 50 years ago. “Donatello wants to provide travel experiences that explore history and allow guests to soak up the Italian way of life,” Mariotti says. “That’s why we’re always roaming Italy in search of special destinations and tailored service.” The company uses scouts with an eye for the unique. The fruit of their labours might be a hotel hidden away in Apulia where the staff speaks only Italian. A romantic place for carefree days. Or an exclusive retreat in Sicily, a destination that French travellers are only starting to discover. Or Donatello's experts can offer ideas for an exclusive three-day trip to Rome without tourist magnets like the Colosseum and Roman Forum.
“Once they’ve chosen their programme, customers select a hotel,” Mariotti says. “Donatello offers three-, four- and five-star accommodations. Our local experts inspect the hotels. This is why we can guarantee that even modest hotels will have the features of a quality hotel.” Guests who make their travel plans online, quickly notice why Donatello is a technology lab for Kuoni France: The Italian travel specialist loves innovations and continuously tries out new things to enhance its website as a sales platform. It's an advantage for guests who want a quick overview of how they can book their own personal dolce vita. But it doesn't have to be online. Customers who prefer to do things in person can visit a Kuoni agency in France and learn why there’s always something new to discover in a classic destination like Italy. And how employees can support them round the clock. From the booking to their stay in Bella Italia.