You don’t have to be wealthy to travel in style, says Patric Gaudini, a 25-year industry veteran who was recruited in 2016 to run Affordable Luxury Travel (ALT), which is based in London’s fashionable Fitzrovia.
It is the latest brand to come out of the Moresand Group and, after a healthy start, is on the expansion trail, with a larger selection of upmarket cruise packages firmly in its sights.
Moresand has developed into one of the travel industry’s major players since founder and chairman P S Kang launched the enterprise 30 years ago. Its other brands include Crystal Travel, one of the best-known names in the field.
The group is now the second-largest independent travel company in the UK, having grown from modest beginnings to an employer of 500 people around the world, boasting a multi-million pound turnover with profits to match.
In a competitive market, the group’s performance led to it being included in the London Stock Exchange list of 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain in 2013.
The following year, Moresand was granted the ultimate accolade of being ranked in the Investec Mid-Market 100 list of fastest-growing UK companies.
ALT has had a thorough grounding in the business, with a focus on providing leisure and corporate clients with what it describes as “the most affordable, luxurious tailor-made travel options for long-haul destinations around the globe”.
Gaudini is looking forward to expanding cruise offering further, working with the likes of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Cunard, MSC Cruises and P&O, among many others with whom he has established excellent relationships.
He can justify his statement that clients don’t have to be rich to enjoy the posher side of travel by pointing to ALT’s modus operandi.
As the Moresand Group’s tour operations division, it controls every element of a holiday for any client, what is known in the industry as tailor-making.
“That’s our speciality,” he says. “We can put together any itinerary anywhere in the world, whether it involves flights, tours, hotels, car hire or cruises, and by specialising to the extent we have, we have become extremely competitive.”
Quoting the company website, he also emphasises: “We have many sound alliances with major airlines, destination management companies as well as leading luxury hotels, including both chic boutique properties and large hotel chains worldwide, which gives us the edge in a competitive and challenging business.”
And there is another important element to which he draws attention – as the website puts it, ALT’s growth and consistent success has been built around reinvesting in knowledgeable and professional personnel and technology, thus keeping the division up to date with, but, more importantly, ahead of many of its competitors.
During its growth, Moresand in general and ALT in particular has gathered all the relevant licences and memberships that regulate the travel industry, including belonging to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and signing up to the ATOL client-protection programme.
On the cruising side, it is a member of the prestigious Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
As ALT says of itself: “It makes perfect sense to create a small yet highly specialist and professional team of experienced and committed travel executives in W1, able to tailor-make any worldwide multi-centre package and tour, at highly discounted wholesale rates.”
On cruising, the company says they provide fantastic value for a holiday as the price includes nearly everything needed for the trip of a lifetime, such as food, accommodation, entertainment throughout the day and transportation between destinations, while cruise companies at the higher end of the scale are even more inclusive, with items such as drinks, flights and guided tours bundled into one price.
There is also the important point that deciding to go on a cruise can take the stress out of planning holidays to far-flung destinations across the globe with ALT taking care of all the details.
Its brochure gives an idea of its scope, from the New World to the Far East. A six-night luxury Niagara Falls and New York holiday with direct flights, including Toronto and the Big Apple, costs from £799 a person.
If you prefer something a bit more exotic, try the Sri Lanka-based seven-night Wildlife Safaris, Ancient Cities and Beach Stay tour. This costs from £1,199 a person and includes Colombo, Udawalawe National Park, Yala National Park and Waskaduwa.
On the cruise front, a five-star 13-night Best of Vietnam package featuring cities, beaches, pagodas, Halong Bay and the Mekong river and including Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City costs from £1,689 a person.
• Find more Affordable Luxury Travel offers and packages at affordableluxurytravel.co.uk or call 020 3023 7776