Contiki Australia’s Katrina Barry Heads Evolving Tour Company
New Zealand-born Katrina Barry, managing director of Contiki Australia, says the tour group has changed greatly since New Zealander John Anderson founded the company in 1962. “Twenty years ago it was just boozing around Europe,” Barry says.
It remains a youth-oriented company, catering to 18 to 35-year-olds, but it is now focused on providing trips that are tailored to each segment of the market rather than a one-size-fits-all solution.
“Generation Y will not camp,” says Barry, who last year joined a Contiki tour in Europe undercover to glean insights about today’s travellers.
Camping contrasts with the rapid growth in other products, such as sailing adventures in Greece, Croatia and closer to home, the Whitsundays. Trips outside of Europe have been gaining in popularity.
Contiki may be a global company based in the United Kingdom, but 45 per cent of the travellers on the Europe trips – by far the largest demographic – are from Australia, with the US market the next biggest.
Social media is naturally a key focus for Contiki in influencing youth travellers to consider one of its tours. Its slogan is #noregrets, which Barry says has proven so popular that some travellers have even had it tattooed on their bodies after a trip.
“It is to make sure Contiki is cool rather than a daggy thing your parents did,” Barry says.
Original article by Jamie Freed, The Sydney Morning Herald, March 13, 2015.