Peter Douglas is the head of sales for Australia for Globus, the family brand adapting to the market changing in these very difficult times. Peter, hello to you.
Peter Douglas: Hello John, how are you?
John: Ah you would never have thought in your working career you’d be faced with a time like this.
Peter: Not at all. I’m sitting in my backyard for this interview so it’s quite different.
John: Yeah for a man who travels as much as you would travel as being the head of sales for Globus family of a brand in Australasia it is must be a tough time for a lot of your team.
Peter: It is, it’s a real adjustment for the team. We’re having to do things a little bit differently than we normally do, but I think on a whole we’re adapting quite well. We decided very early on that these travel restrictions could be really widespread around the world, and there were some huge considerations that we had to make. We are all working remotely now, that’s the whole office around the country is working from home, so that’s brought a whole lot of new challenges. But we’re up for that challenge and we’re catching up with each other whether it’s on zoom, or teams, or skype, or just on the telephone – we’re keeping in contact with everybody, so spirit is still very good at the Globus family brand.
John: Globus obviously is very strong because you do have many brands. Who do you see going forward as not surviving within the travel industry.
Peter: Look I think, we’re a very established company, we’ve been around for 92 years and we’ve been taking exceptional care of our guests for all of that time. You know, for amazing travel, easy and stress-free holidays. I think the ones that are going to survive are those trusted and trustworthy companies. We really pride ourselves on the fact that we are safe, we’re secure and we’re very solvent, and that’s from that 92-year-old history that we do have.
John: How do you think the cruising industry will recover? They’ve been hit pretty hard, I mean before it was people getting funny tummies every now and again, but now we’ve seen such a tremendous amount of coverage of vessels actually in great strife.
Peter: I see the cruising industry – and that’s ocean cruising – bouncing back eventually. I know that they will go through some very tough times but it’s a product that people really want to experience and I think given time, and I’m sure that those companies will put in place measures that will make sure their guest are looked after. And that’s the main thing, just making sure that the guests are looked after and that they’re safe. There’s too many people that love ocean cruising that will want to do it in the future. The Globus family brand, we don’t do ocean cruising we do river cruising.
John: Like the Avalon waterways is a good example?
Peter: That’s right, Avalon waterways. Predominantly our product is on European rivers. And you know really a river cruise, I suppose, is very different to an ocean cruise – it is very land based. And that might sound a bit odd but every day you’re actually off the ship, you’re walking around exploring different towns and villages, and you can always see the land as well so it’s quite a different experience. And also you know our biggest boats or ships I should say only have 166 passengers.
John: Wow, and you’ve got some new vessels or new craft that are traveling those water ways too?
Peter: Yes, we’re always adding new and modern craft to go on those rivers. It’s a very consistent, very luxurious fleet that we have in Europe and also in South East Asia so we’re introducing new ones all the time.
John: Are people forward booking in to 2021 and beyond?
Peter: Our travel plans for 2020 have been disrupted and so we made the decision very early to stop all of our departures. At the moment we’ve stopped all departures on Globus, Cosmos, Avalon and Monogram up to the end of June. So what we’re doing is working with our partners, that’s our customers, and also our trade partners, to try and get people to move to 2021 or 2022 rather than cancel their holiday. So that’s what we’re seeing more of is movement from bookings that we’re going to depart up until the end of June they’re now transferring in big numbers over to 2021, which is really encouraging so yes, but as far as new bookings go we’re not seeing a lot of those at the moment.
John: What advice would you give, Peter Douglas, to travellers who can’t travel during this down time? Keep looking at your slides?
Peter: If you got slides you’ll absolutely pull them out and bore everybody with them.
John: Hang on, it’s upside down
Peter: It’s sideways
John: Yeah it’s sideways, everyone’s craning their heads.
Peter: Look, I think at the moment, dreaming doesn’t stop. Australians – we love to travel across all age groups and you know we can keep dreaming during this time. Physically we can’t go to those far-off destinations but our minds can still wonder and think about those places that we’d like to travel to or where we’ve already been to, and we’ve actually put together a really nice video for social media. It’s called Dreaming Doesn’t Stop.
John: Oh where can we get that?
Peter: You can go straight to our Facebook page, that’s our Globus Facebook page and you’ll find it on there and people are making lots of comments about it we’ve asked people to make comments and it’s been massive, the response. People are sharing some amazing photos, they’re also sharing some of the experiences they’ve had in the past too so that’s really worth checking out.
John: So go to the Facebook page for Globus and we’ll make sure we put it up on to YourLifeChoices website as well Peter.