Back-Roads Touring Company will be rebranding as Blue-Roads Touring Company in the coming weeks in North America. This small-group touring company is rebranding in order to create a brand that speaks to the American audience.
“We launched the new brand as way to dedicate greater attention to our North American customers and pave the way for further growth in this important market. As a U.K.-based company, we have long focused on the European side of the brand. But with increasing interest from travelers in North America and the opportunity to add new tour itineraries, we thought now is time to introduce a uniquely American brand,” says Ed Pettitt, general manager of Blue-Roads Touring.
“North American travelers are placing a premium on authentic experiential-based travel, which has been our prime focus for more than three decades,” adds Pettitt. “Relaunching and expanding our presence in North America is key to successfully building the business across all markets globally.”
If you’re wondering what’s in a name and why was Blue Roads chosen as the new one, well Pettitt says, “The name Blue-Roads is inspired by William Least Heat-Moon, an American historian and travel writer who set out on a 13,000-mile journey across the country. With his Rand-McNally atlas, he committed to taking only the routes marked in blue—the small back roads and byways—which took him to small towns, counties and communities with interesting names, historical treasures, quirky attraction and, of course, unspoiled beauty. Like Heat-Moon, we’re on a journey, one that will soon take us across the continent, and we believe this name sets us up for success in this distinct marketplace.”
Blue-Road’s Asian tours provide passengers with a broad mix experiences, from visiting ancient temples and ruins, to bathing with elephants in Thailand, to learning traditional Vietnamese cooking in Ninh Binh Province.
— Ed Pettitt, General Manager of Blue-Roads Touring
New Itineraries in a New Market
In addition to the rebrand, the company is launching its first Asian tours with trips to Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
“As we looked for expansion, it became clear that Asia would be a fantastic opportunity to offer a new product outside of Europe, an area [where] we have truly perfected the small group tour experience. We wanted to expand into a destination where we could stay true to our key selling features, but a destination desirable by our Australian and North American clients,” says Pettitt. “It was important we find a destination that could deliver boutique hotels, leisurely paced itineraries, authentic experiences local to the destination and unique culinary discoveries. Our first touring season in Asia has proven to be a successful one thus far. We’ve received great feedback from customers after our first few tour departures, proving we were able to consistently deliver the same experience in Asia that we have always delivered in Europe.”
The new Asian tours will complement the already existing tours across the U.K. and Europe. “Like our European tours, Blue-Road’s Asian tours provide passengers with a broad mix experiences, from visiting ancient temples and ruins, to bathing with elephants in Thailand, to learning traditional Vietnamese cooking in Ninh Binh Province. As always, we also give travelers lots of free time to roam and explore,” says says Pettitt.
While on a Blue-Roads Touring trip, guests can except their guide to take them beyond the typical tourist destinations to enjoy the local cultures, customs and flavors. Group sizes are maintained between 14 to 18 travelers, and guests travel in mini-coaches such as Mercedes-Benz Sprinsters while staying in properties like charming boutique hotels and majestic castles. “Our guests enjoy the best of solo travel—leisurely paced itineraries with later start times and lots of free time to roam and explore—coupled with the benefit of being in a group and spending time with people from different countries and backgrounds. But the best part is that our tour leaders customize each and every tour. And we always go that extra mile, whether making a detour to someone’s ancestral homeland or leading a passenger to the gravesite of a relative killed in battle. Blue-Roads is about going off-the-beaten-track, meeting locals and creating memories to last a lifetime,” adds Pettitt.
All About the Travel Advisor
If you’re wondering how you can learn about the rebrand and all that Blue-Roads touring will offer, Pettitt says “In the coming weeks we will have an official Blue-Roads website. Travel agents can also utilize our North American sales team. We have a BDM team across USA and Canada that has been doing a great job promoting our brand offering. They can be an invaluable resource to agents for training and additional information.”
“As part of the rebrand, Blue-Roads is launching a website and has created new social channels and marketing collateral—all of which speaks to the North American traveler’s unique needs and interests. As we continue our journey, we ask agents to stay tuned for more exciting announcements as we introduce new marketing materials, training opportunities, and product updates,” says Pettitt.
Pettitt says that at Blue-Roads no two tours are exactly alike. He adds that, “While many touring companies give lip service to offering customized tours, Blue-Roads actually delivers. We empower tour leaders to adjust or add to the day’s activities based on the specific interests of each group. Our sales team loves to explain to agents that their customers will receive everything in the brochure, and then some. But that latter part we can’t fully describe as it relates to the degree of flexibility the tour leader has. The dynamic of every departure is very different and our guides do a great job of customizing it based off their interests.”
Who to Sell To
Blue-Roads targets middle aged and mature travelers, ages 50 and up. “We look toward a baby boomer, empty nester, early retiree type market but our average age in North America is 55-65,” says Pettitt. “We encourage agents to reach out to our sales team in the U.S. and request brand trainings and more information. Knowledge is power and our team is more than ready to help them gain that knowledge so they can better sell our touring portfolio.”