Corp America March 2017

78 CORP AMERICA / MARCH 2017 , AC Tours was founded in 1999 as an inbound operator for both the UK& Ireland. Primarily focussed on group business fromkeymarkets includingmainland Europe, Scandinavia and Israel, solid relationships were built with service partners and all major hotel groups throughout this time. Anything is Possible In 2013, and after almost 20 years working as a hotelier, Rob Russell joined the company replacing the founders with the vision of modernising and adapting the business to create a format more in keeping with the current market demands and trends. To assist him in achieving this goal, Malcolm Lindop joined in 2015 as joint managing director. Malcolm had for 10 years previously been the head of worldwide contracting at JAC Travel and previously had senior contracting experience for Tracoin and Gulliver’s Travel Agency. Together they have taken the company from strength to strength, increasing the company’s sales and presence across the world and have opened up business in over 30 markets, whilst maintaining their focus on their core strengths of building relationships and bringing travellers to the UK & Ireland for them to enjoy a stress-free experience. The introduction of global connectivity with Hilton Worldwide and Intercontinental Hotel Group has meant AC Group are able to provide their partners with access to a growing portfolio of worldwide hotels, and now via our AC Online portal offer over 10,000 hotels. Introducing AC Luxe - one of the UK’s leading and largest inbound travel companies In 2016 as a direct result of increased business travel demands and ever increasing customized requests; AC Luxe was launched and introduced to the world, a dedicated DMC (Destination Management Company) division of the company which had always existed as part of AC Tours, but was now given a name and team in its own right more in keeping with the services it provides to look after both our Corporate and Leisure Enquiries. John Calthorpe was brought in as business development manager for North America branding AC Luxe. Having worked with the North American market since 2006, running his own Inbound DMC Prestigious Travel UK, which built and created a range of customized itineraries for his clients wishing to visit the UK, Ireland and beyond. In December of 2016, Prestigious Travel UK merged with AC Group, bringing with it a wealth of knowledge, experience and understanding of both the corporate and leisure needs of the North American traveler. John says, “knowledge is very important to our clients, being able to provide this and realistic itineraries and information, sets us apart from our competitors, keeping it on a personal level, being reachable and honest. Nobody wants to come to the UK with what looks like a fantastic itinerary to find out that it is only possible if they spend 8 hours in a vehicle only to spend 30 minutes in the place they have been looking forward to seeing for four months - because the agent they used didn’t fully understand the logistics - and packed in three other locations miles from each other” AC Luxe and with the combined buying power of our 3 brands (AC Luxe will bring around 80,000 group guests to the UK & Ireland in 2017). We believe we provide a unique offering to our clients which gives us a very different place in the market to a typical FIT (Fully Independent Traveller) or group operator or indeed a bedbank. Whilst offering plenty of inventory in the major cities and locations, this doesn’t get to the more remote or desired locations or provide a personal planner which in our experience, guests of a more discerning calibre would be looking to explore, experience and enjoy. To compliment the growth of the business, a rich and diverse team of travel professionals from all cross the industry has been brought in to strengthen the company, to not only deal with the growing demand for the service, but make sure that the performance of the company never waivers. This has meant the company moving to larger premises in London and we now command office space to accommodate the 30 plus staff, all of whom enjoy the views across the Thames along with our neighbours in The Houses of Parliament. This has also meant we have had to upgrade our own in-house technology so we can provide a faster service and connectivity to our service suppliers and clients. The reservations team is led by Mafalda Teixeira - who was formerly the head of reservations UK for Four Seasons Hotels and The Doyle Collection - and has brought with her the service level expectations and understandings of those offered by 5 star hotels, indeed her attention to detail means AC Luxe level of service is kept to a very high standard. To finish, AC Luxe feels fully integrated into the 21st Century; in a world of high tec systems and speed being of the essence AC Luxe have been able to embrace this but never forgetting that behind every enquiry is person-focussed. Technology means that we can contact our clients wherever they are and whenever they want in many different forms, but the reassurance of being there for our clients is as important to them as it is to us. If AC Luxe can help your next business event in the UK or Ireland, or your family vacation don’t hesitate to contact John at [email protected] . We look forward to working with you. ‘Anything is Possible’ 1703CA34