DAN SULLIVAN JR., president and CEO of the travel company recently rebranded as Collette, talks with Kristine Chochrek, the company's vice president of marketing and advertising. Sullivan said the choice to rebrand would distinguish Collette's guided tours from "sun and fun" vacation travel.
PBN PHOTO/TRACY JENKINS
By Patricia Daddona PBN Staff Writer
Your grandparents knew it as Collette Travel, your parents knew it as Collette Tours, and you’ve know it as Collette Vacations – until now.
Renamed simply Collette, the 96-year-old travel company’s newest branding efforts, which went live in January, are intended to reinforce its evolution as a customer-centric company focused on the benefits of a life-enhancing, guided-tour experience for its older, core audience – particularly today’s Web savvy, independent-minded baby boomers.
A third-generation family-owned business, the firm bought the website domain name “gocollette.com” and is spending capital to bid against competitors for keywords, so the company’s offerings will be easier to find online, said President and CEO Dan Sullivan Jr. and Kristine Chochrek, vice president of marketing and advertising.
The firm has shortened its name in order to sharpen its brand identity and crafted the tagline “Guided by Travel” so as to keep the company mission front and center, they added.
As years pass, the younger group of baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 is reaching their 50s and 60s, and differs from older clients, who remain key customers and the object of marketing strategies, Chochrek explained.
“The folks coming into that boomer audience are different than the boomer audience of 10 to 20 years ago,” she said. “They travel more. They’re online-savvy. They want that guided experience but they want that flexibility to travel on their own as well.”
Sightseeing, for example, is structured but mixed in throughout each day with time off to give the traveler increased flexibility, Chochrek and Sullivan said.
The name change evolved through market research in which the company found that “what people know us as is ‘Collette,’ ” Sullivan said. At the same time, the word “vacations” brings to mind “sun and fun” travel, which is not what Collette offers, he said.
“We don’t do beaches,” Sullivan said. “We do guided touring, so we had to change that concept. Why would you buy Collette as opposed to something else? It’s a life-enriching experience if you take our tour.”