Escape With A Little Help From Nordic DestinationsOctober 10, 2017
Elaine Nelson Peik, Mette Pedersen and Christian Svensgaard love to share their Nordic heritage with clients. That’s the reason they joined forces in 2016 to start Nordic Destinations in the Twin Cities.
“We specialize in Nordic vacations,” Peik said. “There aren’t a lot of specialists like us around.”
Norway, Sweden and Denmark are the company’s core destinations, but it also plans trips to Finland, Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
“We just love the places we are from,” Peik said.
Nordic Destinations has plenty of Scandinavian roots to choose from.
For Peik, her father’s family is from Sweden, and her mother’s family is from Denmark and Norway. Pedersen and Svensgaard are from Denmark.
Peik and Pedersen are seasoned travel professionals while Svensgaard manages the business/accounting needs of the firm. Their colleagues Valerie Lancello and Jan Vatsaas Schubert also are specialists in Nordic travel.
“Valerie is from the Minneapolis area but is located in Stockholm and does a lot of in-destination logistics for us,” Peik said. “Her mother is originally from Sweden, and Valerie went to school and now works in Sweden.”
Schubert is based at the company office in Maple Grove, a suburb of Minneapolis, and specializes in Norway and Sweden. Her father is from Norway, and her mother’s family emigrated from Sweden.
Peik and her partners visit the destinations they represent each year. Many of their tour operators and the countries themselves will host workshops and training events.
“They want to show off part of their country,” she said.
The majority of the company’s clients are from North America, but it works with people from all over the world customizing trips for individuals and groups. It also helps travelers rewrite their itinerary or book packages and excursions.
“With the internet, we get more people that are savvy as to what they want to do, but they can’t connect the dots,” Peik said. “Some people want to go RV camping in Iceland, for example, and maybe add excursions. We have a lot of packages online. Some people want to do a package differently or backward or add time to it. We are happy to cater to stuff like that.”
She and her partners have built Nordic Destinations through relationships, both with clients and other travel and tour companies and other partners. The company also has relationships with multiple Nordic airlines and can assist its client if anything goes wrong.
“We are learning how everything can fit together,” Peik said. “When we started the business, it was easy to reconnect with these people because they knew and valued our knowledge and expertise.
“It’s a comforting feeling for a lot of customers that we have those types of relationships when they are checking into a place they have never been before. We always give people a final itinerary with all their information. We also give them additional resources they can research on their own.”
One hot destination of late has been Iceland, whose glaciers, mountains, geysers and attractions make it stand out from the rest of Europe or North America, according to Peik.
“It’s been on everybody’s radar in the last five or six years,” Peik said. “We also promote other destinations that might be similar to Iceland. We are trying to put other places on people’s radar.”
Nordic Destinations also fields plenty of interest in trips to Scandinavia to see the Northern Lights.
That interest, plus all that the Nordic countries have to offer, is keeping Nordic Destinations quite busy.
“We are seeing that a lot of people are looking in advance,” Peik said. “And, more people are traveling in the winter now.”