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Some thoughts on the new brochure!
Post: #1
Hi folks,

The new JY brochure finally arrived with me today, so I'm a bit late to the party!  However, perhaps this is a bit self indulgent, but I thought I'd share with you some thoughts after having had a look at it.

Firstly, I love the layout, new logo and tagline "solo adventures together" - better than the old signage although I don't like the pink colour of the brochure cover - if JY are hoping to attract more male customers perhaps this is not the way to go!!

Well done on the new initiatives over the last while - guaranteed departures, make your own way (not that I'd avail of it, but I'm sure this will encourage more to book from overseas), protected deposits (a very good idea, coming from someone who did have to cancel a holiday once).  However, I do think that the not-as-yet-guaranteed dates should be included in the brochure, as not everyone will check online for extra dates and I'm sure JY are missing out on bookings as a result.  

Regarding new tours, there are more than I expected!  However, seeing as your competitors have had their offerings for 2019 on sale for quite some time and that I have to book well in advance, I cannot book any of them as I have already my three holidays booked for next year.  For the first time since 2010, none are with JY (although one is with Travelsphere).  I am thinking of two JY tours for 2020 however!  I'm delighted to see Jordan return after a five year gap (I did one of the last departures in 2014 and loved it) - the new itinerary is excellent and I strongly encourage those who haven't experienced Jordan to do so, it is wonderful!  I'm glad to see JY finally introducing a decent tour to Morocco - I asked for one for years; however it is too late for me and I'm going with another company in November!  I'm just back from an excellent tour of Georgia and Armenia, so well done on introducing this new tour - the itinerary is similar to the tour I did and it should be a superb tour to a fascinating and stunning part of the world.  I like the look of one or two of the new India tours - what a great selection now, well done!  Delhi to Darjeeling appeals to me, as does the new Colours of Nepal tour.  And an excellent idea to be able to combine several of them into one tour, although I won't be able to avail of it.  If the new Canada tours had been launched earlier, I would probably have booked one of them instead of going elsewhere.

Finally, a couple of gripes!  I know I've said it before, but I really don't like the fact that some meals have been dropped.  All the JY folks I've met on almost 20 tours over the years really enjoy a good, included dinner with the group.  The only time we've ever complained is when the meal has been substandard.  Also, like another couple of people have said, I'm not keen on the increasing number of cookery classes being introduced on tours, where "you'll eat what you've prepared for dinner."  This would certainly detract from the enjoyment of my holiday - I'm quite happy to sit through a cookery demonstration but I don't want to have to roll up my sleeves and prepare food myself - like many JY folks, I live alone and have to cook for myself the rest of the time!!

I think that's all for the moment!  I look forward to reading other's views...

Cheers,

Bob
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Post: #2
Here are my views on the new brochure:
I can’t say that I’m a fan of the new colour, but what’s more important is what’s inside...
Guaranteed departures are a definite plus - I’d hate to book a holiday and look forward to it, only to be told a few weeks before departure that it had been cancelled. And ‘make your own way’ is a good response to those customers who have requested this option.
As Bob has said, the new India tours look very exciting - ‘Tiger Trail’ in particular looks great and the fact that you can now combine 2 or more itineraries in one tour is a brilliant idea.
Likewise, the ‘Colours of Nepal’ tour - even without the possibility of an Everest flight - and ‘Canada’s West’ also appeal.

The not so good points are:
Ultimate Alaska - only one departure date (September) in 2019! Many forum regulars will recall that the details of this revamped tour took so long to be confirmed this year that only one departure (again, in September) was on offer in 2018. That inaugural tour has recently returned and I’m hoping that someone will provide a review on this platform. However, I’m extremely disappointed that departure dates aren’t also available in late May/June 2019.

Ecuador and the Galapogas - no regional flights have been offered for this tour when, to the best of my knowledge, there is a flight with KLM to Quito which departs BHX early morning and arrives in Quito late afternoon on the same day. I’d be surprised if there weren’t KLM flights from other UK airports which would also link up with the Quito flight from Amsterdam, but instead we’re offered a night flight (in both directions) via Bogata which arrives in Quito the following morning. I think that I’m right in saying that return flights with KLM to BHX are also available.

Norway’s Northern Lights - I’ve always liked the idea of this holiday, but I’m disappointed that the price has increased by £100 since the last brochure issue. Bearing in mind that I’ve recently received your ‘loyalty’ voucher, I can’t escape the feeling that you’ve given me the voucher with one hand and taken it away with the other! And that’s before I even start on the fact that the departure airport has been changed to Luton - the very same Luton that was recently voted the UK’s worst airport for the third year running!

Western Highlights - a new 14 day tour that ends in San Francisco, but why no optional add-on in SF? Reading the itinerary you’ve got a day and a half (2 nights) at best in the ‘city by the bay’ which I don’t believe is long enough to take in all the sights. I remember that the original ‘Golden West’ tour itinerary was changed to allow 3 nights in SF following customer feedback, so why has that not been continued in either ‘Western Wonders’ or this new tour?

Picking up on Bob’s comments about meals, I would prefer to have breakfast and most dinners included, providing that the meals are of a good standard. I’m quite happy to explore and find a good restaurant on occasions, but I find it much easier to budget if I know that most meals are included.
Cookery classes is something that I’ve noticed creeping in to a number of itineraries and I have to say that, after a long flight or a busy itinerary, I’m not really in the mood for cooking. We had a cookery class in a Santiago fish restaurant back in November 2017, which involved the chef and two ‘volunteers’ from our group preparing a stir fry. That was good fun but I’m not at all sure about the process whereby everyone has to cook their own dinner!

Finally, price rises; I’ve touched on this regarding the Northern Lights tour but one tour that really stands out is ‘A Wild Arctic Summer’. There’s a £500 increase on 2019 departures - for a relatively short tour that’s already expensive, this would seem rather excessive to say the least. And while I’m sure that the new ‘Maharajahs’ Express’ tour of India will be fabulous, I would suggest that few people could justify spending £13k on a holiday to India.
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Post: #3
Hi Bob
I've been reading your post with interest as I have booked my first JY holiday to Thailand in February,  I booked it quite early but wanted to do it while I was in the right frame of mind, and I knew if I booked it I wouldn't cancel.  I have been surprised that even though I have been told there are 13 people booked on this trip no one else has posted on the forum, but I do realise that not everyone uses this, but it would be nice to chat to people before we go.  Regarding your comments about JY dropping some of the dinners, I don't mind eating out but I didnt book the holiday to eat on my own, but i appreciate where JY are coming from that people would prefer to go out to eat occasionally.   i would class myself as a sociable person  and I'm quite easy to get along with so I hope I don't end up as a Billy no mates having to eat  on my own
Sad
Kind Regards
Christine
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Post: #4
Hi Bob

I am quite impressed with the new brochure, the tag line and new tours etc. I have already ready a very negative post about the brochure, unfortunately JY aren't going to be able to offer every destination that travellers want.
I had been waiting patiently for this new brochure, hoping to see Ethiopia in it (know there has been problems there this year) but was on the verge of booking Sri Lanka with a different company because they included Yala in the itinerary (you know the one I mean, I assume) when the brochure dropped through the door.
Lo and behold the new Indian tours and being able to combine them was a wow moment for me. I immediately booked the combined Darjeeling (scenery at Gangtok looks awesome) and Invitation to India tour for next year and the combined Tiger trail and backwaters tour for Feb 2020.
Morocco, Jordan and Georgia, great,but hope they aren't retired after just one year. More  add-ons, pleased to see the beach add-on returned to the Kenyan Safari. We found plenty to do whilst at Travellers Beach and booked a couple of excursions through the hotel.
Kayaking and ziplining for the adventurous on some tours but for for me, I certainly don't want to be cooking.
JY aren't going to please everyone all of the time because after all everyone has a different expectation of a holiday.

Kind regards
Di
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Post: #5
Thanks for your feedback Di, that's great! Smile

Thanks,
Vickie
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Post: #6
As for meals, I agree that most people prefer included. On one tour I did (before I discovered JY), dinner was not included by default, but there was an offer to book a meal package. 19 out of 21 passengers booked this package. It's a great idea as gives people the choice... I find that the more exotic the location the more I want meals included as it's difficult to judge if a place is a good place to eat or not, especially of language is a problem....
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Post: #7
Hi folks,

Thanks for the replies - keep them coming!  We are pretty much in agreement, so far at least and I hope that JY are taking note.  Especially that no one so far has expressed much enthusiasm for cooking their own meals on holiday!!  The comments regarding included meals are important and reflect what I and my travel buddies have said repeatedly...after a long day sightseeing, we are really not up to traipsing the streets looking for somewhere to have dinner with a menu in English.  If dinner isn't to be included in various destinations, the hotel needs to be right beside a good selection of restaurants or the TM needs to offer to bring the group to a suitable area or restaurant.  On the Balkan tour with Travelsphere, our terrific TM offered to book the group into two contrasting restaurants in Belgrade for the two evenings that didn't have included meals.  Both great choices and we had two excellent meals - and being a Trav group, they were mostly couples!  Single travellers definitely don't want the hassle of finding somewhere to eat in a strange environment and the potential for being left to eat on their own or having a bad experience...

Cheers,

Bob
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Post: #8
Hi Mike

Luton Airport is not as bad as what is being said! For me it is only about 20 minutes away from home so I would choose to fly out from there. I flew to Israel with EasyJet when I did the Holyland trip in October 2012 even though I had to pay a supplement to fly with EasyJet. This meant I did not have to travel to Heathrow.

Regards

Jaya
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Post: #9
Hi Bob
Thanks for your interesting thoughts on the new brochure.
I did the Morocco tour last year with the company you are going with. It was a good tour but spoilt for me by their mealtime numbering system which allocates you a place at a table, so you can't choose who to sit with.  I dislike this system so much that I am now avoiding booking with this company.  I'll be interested to hear what you think of it.
I also prefer to have all breakfasts and most dinners included, and after having had some unfortunate experiences when dinners were not included, I am now only booking holidays which include them.
Marion
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Post: #10
One thing I noticed is that the Western Wonders and the Western Highlights tours both depart on the same two dates in 2019.Comparing the two tours,they seem to stay at the same hotels from Los Angeles to San Francisco where the Western Highlights tour finishes.Are they separate tours or does everyone use the same coach?
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