By Julie Baxter | November 2017 | 4 minute read
Discerning travellers have high expectations. They know what they like and expect spot-on service standards, great food and drink, unique experiences and that certain ‘wow’ factor. Canada can deliver on all counts.
“Combine wild adventure activities with creature comforts that will create memories your clients can cherish”
Call a specialist operator: They are masters at tailor-made Canadian luxury
Focus on service: Canadians are super-friendly and service levels are exceptional
Use brand power: Look out for luxury brands like Fairmont and Ritz Carlton
Get on track: Rocky Mountaineer and Via Rail both have top-end cabin options
Add authentic style: Check out quirky lodges designed with oodles of character
Wild wows: Wildlife viewing in one-off locations pack a huge 'wow factor' punch
Over deliver: Canada exceeds most expectations, particularly its culinary scene
Easy access: Canada is close. Clients can be whale watching in seven or eight hours
Fly high: Competition between carriers ensures good deals in premium cabins
Iconic power: Big draws include the Rockies, Niagara Falls and Aurora Borealis
Right from the start
Luxury can begin on the flight out. Consider a premium cabin seat on the all-new 787 Dreamliners now operated by British Airways and Air Canada, which claim to be a 'game-changer' on the route.
The airlines' Business cabins are winning plaudits for their space, comfort and 'light', with passengers enjoying delicately crafted menus and sommelier-selected Canadian wines that introduce them to authentic local flavours right from the start.
Once there, helicopters can buzz them into remote hideaways; luxurious trains will take them across vast areas and stylish cruises will get them to glistening lakes and rivers, secluded harbours or right among the icebergs.
Travellers in search of a little luxury have money to spend and they want to use it on quality accommodation and activities that connect smoothly together. They want authentic experiences that reflect the places they are visiting and are eager for expert agent advice on how to tap into the best local experiences once they are on the ground in Canada.
Canada can deliver on all fronts. Its unique mix of sophisticated cosmopolitan cities and rugged, wild or remote landscapes is something of a luxury in itself. Where else in the world can your clients dine in a Relais & Chateaux restaurant with a city skyline view for lunch and watch bears pulling fish from the river in the afternoon? Or wrap up in furs for an exhilarating sleigh ride through snow-covered forests in the morning and sip speciality wines in an historic cellar in the afternoon?
Set the scene
Start by ticking all the right boxes in terms of the backdrop. Is your client craving the dramatic scenery of the iconic Rockies or impressive Niagara Falls or are they seeking the wilderness terrains of the Arctic north and the chance to spot the Northern Lights?
Do they want the evocative romance of windswept lighthouses and maritime history laid out across Atlantic Canada? Or is their personal definition of luxury better found in the wild and empty frontiers or aboriginal lands that are ripe for exploration?
So wise up to what they want from Canada and tailor your itinerary suggestion to suit – whether that is the open prairies and remote island retreats or city chic and downtown designer shopping.
Plan the experiences
Once you have a feel for their expectations, rev up their enthusiasm with experiences that will put them at the heart of their chosen landscape, combined with some local colour and contrasts to keep the surprises coming. Focus on combining ‘wow factor' experiences like wildlife watching, flight-seeing and heli-tours and get them exploring, be it glaciers and ice-canyons or fjords and riverbanks. Add in snow mobiling or a dog-sleigh ride, horseback insights into Western culture or intimate indigenous interactions for that adventure/style combination. In short, make their holiday budget work to create memories to cherish.
Luxury travellers are game for an adventure and eager to experience something different, so find them opportunities to interact with locals and enjoy the luxuries that the well-to-do of Canada value too. Think micro-breweries and wine-tastings, artisan bakeries and top downtown delis; think lunch with a view and dinner with a back story.
Help them get under the skin of the destination and match quirky and characterful experiences with accommodation to match their comfort zone, restaurants with top-class cuisine, designer shops or artisan craftsmen, and opportunities for downtime in a Spa. Locate them somewhere super convenient or far, far from the madding crowd and, where appropriate, give them a professional personal guide to help them take in the very best of Canada.