By CIE Tours · April 2021
2021 is set to be an interesting year with so many of us wanting to travel amidst the uncertainty that still exists. Yet, one thing is certain, privacy will be at the forefront of travel experiences. We caught up with Jeanette Mahnken, Director of Group Sales Operations at CIE Tours, to learn what their company is doing to provide new, yet still exceptional, experiences.
Q: Tell us a bit about CIE and the company’s tour offerings.
In 1932, we created a company dedicated to introducing people to the beauty and magic of Ireland and Britain. Today we’re proud to bring more North Americans to those destinations each year than any other tour operator - and with a 95% customer satisfaction rating.
While we are best known for scheduled tours, we also have tremendously popular Groups and Custom Private Driver options.
Plus, in 2021, as a response to the greater demand for private touring options, we now offer 17 different classic pre-set Ireland itineraries in a private vehicle with your own driver or as a self-drive option. For those looking for more flexibility, we continue to offer Travelers Choice, our “go-as-you-please” (a la carte) self-drive option.
Q: How has CIE incorporated comfort, safety, and social distancing into its tour options?
Full statement from COO: https://www.cietours.com/health-safety-guidelines
As the leader in Ireland and Britain and one of the longest-standing tour operators in North America, we have instituted comprehensive health and safety standards to put our guests’ wellbeing first. In conjunction with the leading tourism authorities, we are set to operate at the highest levels of health and safety guidelines in the US and Europe, including regional and national standards for COVID-19 procedures.
Also, as mentioned above, we have a variety of independent travel options – Private Driver, Classic Itineraries with Driver or Self-Drive, Travelers Choice Self-Drive and Private Groups - for those that prefer privacy over the camaraderie of a tour. For those that love the energy of a group tour, we have also dramatically expanded our small group departure schedule.
Q: For travelers looking to explore more secluded and natural destinations, what types of tours does CIE offer?
With private driver or custom group travel, the possibilities are endless. Our knowledgeable specialists are eager and happy to help build the perfect itinerary built around our guests’ passions, interests, and budget. Whether you are an adventurer, foodie, historical enthusiast, or want to walk in the footsteps of your past generations, we can plan your dream trip.
Q: What are some unique ways CIE allows travelers to revisit their favorite destinations but with newfound space and privacy?
Either with a private driver or on a private tour, revisiting destinations with one of our local guides is the absolute best way to experience somewhere you thought you knew, but in a completely new way. Our guides’ deep knowledge goes well beyond history and storytelling (although that is also wildly entertaining). They know the best times to visit attractions, have the best tips to enhance your experience and often insider access to take you to places that you may have previously considered too crowded to thoroughly enjoy.
Q: How have CIE’s offerings changed in response to the pandemic?
Published statement: https://www.cietours.com/travel-flexibility
2021 is such an interesting year. We all want to travel, yet there is so much uncertainty.
You can book confidently with CIE Tours knowing that you can change your 2021 plans up to 30 days before departure for future travel to any of our other destinations and itineraries through 2022.
With Custom Private Driver vacations, you have the flexibility to move or adjust your trip up to 45 days prior to departure. For custom groups of 10 or more, we offer flexibility of fully refundable deposits until 100 days prior to departure.
Q: For travelers looking to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations and stray away from crowds, if you could recommend one CIE trip, which would you recommend?
For an exclusively off-the-beaten path vacation, we recommend building a custom travel experience with our specialists. Locations, seasonality, and even the time of day you visit an attraction can make such a difference. We will guide you through the process to ensure you get the most out of your trip – and don’t compromise by ruling out attractions that could give you the privacy you want if you just knew the right time and day to visit or had insider access.
Q: BONUS: What makes a CIE vacation unique?
There are so many things! But I’ll give you my top three…
First, our team’s passion for delivering the ultimate travel experience. Our tour directors are the best of the best, truly our heart and soul. All are local to the destination they tour, and most have been with us for many years. Our local teams in Ireland and Britain work tirelessly to craft and deliver top-notch travel experiences at the best value regardless of your budget. If you choose a custom experience, you also have a highly trained and experienced US-based team to help you build your dream trip.
Second, as part of the communities where we tour, we have deep and long-lasting relationships with the hotels, restaurants, and attractions we visit. Often, we have exclusive opportunities that no one else has because of these are our neighbors.
Third, our All-In Inclusive Advantage guarantees that, when you travel with us, you spend every moment in the moment – not worrying about fees and options. On our guided tours, your accommodations, transportation, sightseeing, entertainment, and most meals come included. No hidden extras!