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Mon 13 Jul 2009 04:00 AM

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Carry on camping

Do your clients have children? If so, you should be sending them to camp. It’s fun for them and full of commission for you.

Carry on camping
Carry on camping

Do your clients have children? If so, you should be sending them to camp. It’s fun for them and full of commission for you.

If you are not already selling children’s camps and language school programmes then pay close attention.

Sending a child on a camp can make you money — not a few dollars, lots of dollars.

The only thing that is stopping you is having the right contacts and asking the right questions.

Both of these obstacles will be cleared from your path by the end of this article, leaving you free to leverage a whole new sector of travel sales.

Companies have been sending Middle East children to camps around the world for the best part of the last two decades.

It has been an incredibly popular concept with families happily spending US $25,000 on their child’s summer holiday camp.

It’s a new and exciting product and a way for agents to get something unique on their books.

Now the concept has proven a success with a business-to-consumer model, companies such as UK-based summer camp company Camp Beaumont, are looking to extend their reach and that is where the travel agent has stepped in.

According to Camp Beaumont director of international sales Susan Evans, the time is right for agents to take their share of this lucrative sector.

“The working with agents side of the business is a growing industry — we like to build very personalised relationships with agents,” she told Arabian Travel News.

“It’s a new and exciting product and a way for the agents to get something unique on their books — it really is a prime opportunity.”

Due to the unique nature of the product it is essential to build long-term relationships with the suppliers as the agent is an extension of the brand.

As part of the relationship, Camp Beaumont provides agents with all the resources they need, but most impressively, will send its representatives to the Middle East to train staff.

“That is one area I am keen on — staff training,” Evans explained.

“It’s fine me talking to the managing director, but it’s actually getting our guys to the frontline staff and spending time with key members who are actually doing the selling, going with them on a few initial presentations to schools and showing them how it’s done.”

Furthermore, if an agent wishes to visit the camps, Camp Beaumont regularly organises fam trips, the next one scheduled for September.

Another option is Swiss- and Lebanese-based Les Elfes summer and winter camps.

Les Elfes International marketing and sales director Julien Goetz said students aged between eight and 18 years old join summer and winter camps in Switzerland and Lebanon for two to three week sessions.

“The students will have the chance to experience outdoor sports activities and they also have the chance to discover beautiful Switzerland with excursions to major Swiss cities such as Bern the Swiss capital,” he said.

Similar activities are offered at the camp in Faraya-Mzaar in Lebanon.

Like Camp Beaumont, Les Elfes offers attendees the possibility of learning a new language or the chance to improve on their existing French, German, English or Spanish skills.

“We include eight hours a week of language lessons in our packages, but that can be extended to 15 hours per week for intensive language courses,” Goetz said.

In the winter camps students can ski or snowboard with professional staff.

“We welcome everybody, from students who have never seen snow before to advanced skiers — at Les Elfes everybody is warmly welcomed and looked after,” Goetz added. The pitch

The people behind Camp Beaumont, which has operated in the Middle East for nearly 15 years, are acutely aware of how the market ticks in this region.

That is one of the reasons they are willing to send their staff out to train agents as they know how to pitch to clients, schools and corporates — a vast untapped resource in this region — and how to allay any queries parents or teachers may have.

Evans said the first question to ask clients booking their trip to England is what are the children doing.

“Children get bored travelling in the back of the car for three weeks so send little Tommy and Joe off to camp for a week,” she explained.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to have a week meeting local children while your client can then go off and do their own trip.

“We have a lot of families from the Middle East who will stay nearby for the first couple of days, we recommend hotels and they can come and see their children and make sure they are settling into camp.”

However, Evans said that due to typically large family sizes in the Middle East children settled into camp very quickly.

“We have campers who are booked in to stay for two or three weeks who end up staying for eight weeks in the summer,” Evans pointed out.

There are also day camps for those who don’t wish to stay at the camp during nights.And due to 70% of the camps being British kids, children from around the world soon pick up English in a fun environment.

“International students are having full integration and the type of activities are things they would never normally get to do — the camp teaches them the core basics of being outside having fun and making friends from all over the world,” Evans said.

Lots of families from the Middle East will stay nearby for the first couple of days to make sure they settle into camp.

Camps can also be tailored to the family’s requirements, so English lessons can be added for all levels, or for those interested in horse riding or water sports, more focused activities can be arranged.

Children are assigned group leaders — they act like big brother or sister and ensure the campers eat properly and go to sleep on time.

“They hold their hands on the pastoral care side and guide them through their stay at camp,” Evans added.

Furthermore, parents who are concerned with cultural differences are made aware of prayer rooms and halal menus.


It’s not just all about sending children and families out of the region.

Inbound camps and courses also provide travel agents with opportunities to earn commission and create diverse packages.

Eton Institute offers a range of products such as Arabic and English courses, teacher training modules, kids language training and cultural awareness programmes.

Marketing manager Moaz Khan told ATN that agents should target specific sectors to earn themselves valuable commission.

“They should be looking at anyone coming to Dubai to learn English or other languages and clients with kids who would like them to spend their summer wisely,” he said.

He added anyone coming to UAE for the first time and looking to explore the language and the culture, or people looking for professional development, business English or business skills courses would also be a target.

And Khan agreed with Evans that the market was still growing.

“As more and more people travel and shift base, there is a lot of potential for growth within the region, especially now when individuals and businesses realise their true potential and feel a need for personal or professional development,” Khan explained.

“Over a short period of time, Eton Institute has expanded more than 10 times since it first set up base in Dubai.”

Khan said it was about time the education sector and travel industry worked together.

“They complement each other more often than not and a lot of people, especially from Asia and eastern Europe travel for the purpose of education,” he said.

“Many times it’s a case of determining where they would like to go and then looking at the options available to them.”


Of course, it all comes down to money and this is where agents can get very excited.

Eton Institute offers 15% basic commission that is incremental depending on the number of students booked on a course.

An average course costs AED 1000 (US $272) equating to commission of AED150 ($41).

A typical English language course costs AED 8360 ($2276) so commission of AED 1254 ($341). Les Elfes offers 15% commission on every student sent to the summer and winter camps in Lebanon and Switzerland.

One session of three weeks in the summer camps costs 5300CHF ($4900) so agents make $735 commission and the same conditions apply for winter camps on a price per week of 1750CHF ($1617).

With Camp Beaumont commission begins at 26% and goes up to 38% depending on the time of the year.

These are fantastic opportunities for travel agents. The prospect of nearly 40% commission on a booking that can be tailored around a family holiday, should have you picking up the phone immediately to get on board.

The key is asking your clients questions. Do they have children, have they considered a holiday camp, do they understand how beneficial it can be and so on.

Nobody can complain that business is slow until they have spoken to Camp Beaumont and explored the fantastic opportunities that are out there. With the amount of commission available, you will be having as much fun as the children you send on the camps.


Les Elfes InternationalJulien Goetzjulien@leselfes.ch+971 50 132 3809

Camp BeaumontSusan EvansSusan.evans@campbeaumont.co.uk+44 (0) 1603 309 360

Eton InstituteMoaz Khanmoaz@eton.ac+971 4 365 8483

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