IN THIS ISSUE
HOW TO SET TOURISM ALERTS USING GOOGLE HOW TO WORK WITH TRAVEL AGENTS IS YOUR WEBSITE WORKING FOR YOU? ARE YOU DELIVERING
DAZZLING CUSTOMER SERVICE? ALSO AN INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR
In this issue Hi and welcome to the first issue of SELLING CANADA and a new adventure for me and SMP Training. The concept behind this digital magazine is to deliver innovative marketing and selling ideas that will help attract more visitors to your business, park, shop, camp site, location, destination, town, community, place, province etc. SELLING CANADA is also a place to share your ideas and what has worked for you in generating new business. You can help build the Selling Canada Community through your creative input. The content will range from sales and marketing ideas to owner/manager soft skills to working and selling in the digital age. If there’s anything missing, feel free to request a topic that appeals to you and the tourism segment you represent. Hope you like what you find here. Let me know by subscribing, bookmarking, sharing and rating. Thanks for reading. Don’t forget, if you need help with anything you see in Selling Canada I am as close as your email or Skype button. Best regards, Steve Crowhurst Publisher www.selling‐canada.com firstname.lastname@example.org Skype: smptraining1 T: 250‐752‐0106 CHECK FOR WEBINARS HERE
EDITORIAL – “LET’S SELL MORE CANADA!” SOMETHING TO LEARN ON EVERY PAGE DAZZLING CUSTOMER SERVICE HOW TO SET GOOGLE ALERTS IS YOUR WEBSITE WORKING FOR YOU? THE TURN TO TOURISM WORKSHOP INTERVIEW WITH ANTHONY DALTON WORKING WITH TRAVEL AGENTS SKYPING YOUR WAY TO REVENUES GET YOUR WORDLE WORKING PHOTO SHOOT TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT NEW BUSINESS GENERATION QUESTION BACKPAGE IMAGE
Selling Canada is owned and published by Steve Crowhurst, SMP Training Co. All Rights Reserved. Protected by International Copyright Law. Selling Canada can be shared, forwarded, cut and pasted but not sold, resold or in anyway monetized. Using any images or content from Selling Canada must be sourced as follows: “Copyright SMP Training Co. www.smptraining.com” SMP Training Co. 568 Country Club Drive, Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada V9K 1G1
Dear Tourism Professional: Welcome to the PREMIERE issue of SELLING CANADA! I hope this is the start of a long and prosperous relationship for all. It’s long been a dream of mine to work closer with the tourism community across Canada. I have a lengthy career in travel & tourism spanning some 46 years to date. In fact I first entered ‘the trade’ in August of 1965. Since then my career has taken me from the frontline to management to senior management, ownership and around the world delivering training and keynotes to travel & tourism audiences in places such as Bosnia, Egypt, China, UK, Spain, Jamaica, Bahamas and then each major city in Canada and many across the U.S.A. too. Since moving to and exploring Vancouver Island the idea of working to help boost Canadian tourism feels like a good thing to do. So, the concept of this digital magazine was born, supported by the Selling‐Canada.com website. I hope you like it and I hope you can generate more revenues for your tourism business because of it. There will be no trade ads in Selling Canada and no political stance will be taken. All content will be devoted to helping you sell more Canada. The tips, tools and techniques I will write about will suit most tourism sectors and especially if you are an owner of a small tourism based business. One of my core goals is to work closely with Canadian communities that see an opportunity in boosting their tourism infrastructure. My workshop called “Turn To Tourism” can be found here on the Selling‐Canada website. The essence of Turn to Tourism is to show skilled but out‐of‐work individuals how to turn their skills into a tourism business. From forestry to fishing there are many tourism opportunities if you know how to create them. My writing style is one of no‐fluff, no theory, clipped sentences, puns and personal anecdotes with a dash of good humour. As a speaker – same thing! Your comments on and about the Selling Canada e‐Magazine are welcome and wanted and appreciated. Help me grow the Selling Canada community by subscribing to and sharing this e‐Magazine with your colleagues and by all means let me know what your challenges are so that I can address them here in Selling Canada. Thanks for reading!
Steve Crowhurst Author, Trainer, Columnist, Keynote Speaker, Publisher and world traveller. As I travel around Canada doing what I do, it seems I am always playing a role in someone’s challenge in delivering customer service. It amazes me how so many retail stores and hotel chains that thrive on tourism train their staff to chat “shop” in front of the customer, guest or visitor and to practice the “I know you’re there, but I don’t see you” technique during business hours! So you see, what I write about is real‐time situations, usually happening to me or witnessed by me and then I deliver on the remedy. Then there are those shops, hotels, attractions that truly DAZZLE you!
SOMETHING TO LEARN ON EVERY You may have noticed that each page in SELLING CANADA is different PAGE from the next. The heading font, style, size etc., is not constant as you find in most magazines. The reason for this is to show you graphically as A STUDY BY CRAYOLA many fonts, styles and colour combinations as possible. PROVED THAT THIS COLOUR, DARK Some of the layout ideas you’ll look away from and shudder (!), others you BLUE, IS THE COLOUR will like, and others you will think “I can use that if I changed it here… and MOST PEOPLE SEEMED here…” and go on to create your own graphic, image or header, kick TO LIKE BEST. started from what you saw here in SELLING CANADA. That’s the idea anyway. This result was true for Canadians and Americans. I have started to record the TITLE font style and listed it under at the bottom of each page – this will shorten the time it takes for you to source We, that would be us it in WordArt, Word or PowerPoint. The font used for all content or most humans, tend to let colour of it is Calibri. influence our purchases by as much as 60%. The same thing applies to the graphics and images I use to support the written information. Once again, hopefully you can learn from what you After reading the survey I see and apply it, change it, delete it, own it and use it your way. changed the colour of my email text to dark blue. My graphics range from clipart, to comics, to line art, photos and also there are graphics that I create myself using The Logo Creator, Photoshop, Snagit and a few other software programs. The creativity comes in knowing As and when you use, what to crop, to study the sight lines in an image, to look at the change & apply the layout perspective of an image or ideas you see here – be graphic and crop as the mood sure to let me know so I takes you. This comes a little easier to me as I have been an can pass your ideas along artist and photographer for to other readers of many years. If you have any SELLING CANADA. artistic talents then of course Use any and all artistic talents in your travel marketing – hang your art in they will help you change your office. Start a conversation. whatever you see in SELLING Talk about your photos create CANADA into something more relationships with like minded customers, suppliers, travel agents suitable for your marketing and anyone that can help promote activities. your tourism business.
Title Font: Blackoak Std
I use WordArt to create many page titles. If you are not yet using it – give it a try. It’s in your version of Windows… somewhere!
IN EACH ISSUE OF SELLING CANADA WE’LL EXPLORE VARIOUS AREAS OF CUSTOMER SERVICE AND HOW TO UPGRADE THEM TO THE DAZZLE LEVEL. YOU WILL NEED TO CHANGE THE IDEAS AND CONCEPTS TO SUIT YOUR BUSINESS, LOCATION, CUSTOMER PROFILE ETC. ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL. CALL IF YOU NEED HELP.
The Customer Service Plan (CSP) Many tourism based firms start up with a business plan and maybe a marketing plan too – and in the rush to open, the customer service strategy is left waiting until staff are hired in. After that moment there never seems to be enough time to create the CSP which is actually the DNA of your business. The CSP gives your business life and it is your overall service that will bring those customers, clients, visitors back for more and referring you to their friends. Today, your CSP must be more than a smile and a warm greeting across the counter. Whatever you do or say goes viral as you may know, therefore your social customer service must also be factored into your CSP.
Matching The Promise When you spend thousands of dollars marketing the experience your clients will receive, it would be a terrible shame to lose them over a simple act of service that doesn’t shine. Yes it happens each and every day in your lobby, at your counter, upon check out and so many places where the customer, guest, visitor meets you, your staff, your brand – your service. The delivery of service brilliance at the DAZZLE level means you have fulfilled on the promise marketed. Naturally there are elements of your product & service that you cannot control from the service point of view. Tourism like travel is many times a Third‐Party Industry. This means, for your client to realize what they purchased, someone else other than you, or another company other than yours, fulfills on the promise purchased. The very reason why so many companies have a contracted CSP with the firms they do business with – they need service consistency. Title Fonts: Arial Black
So where are we? You do all that work, spend all that marketing money, slave over a website to get it right and then you wait to greet that customer, visitor from France, Germany or Canada as they walk into your hotel lobby, B&B, rent a kayak or book one of your tours. From that moment on, it will be your DAZZLING customer service that will either keep the customer coming back or push them away. Here’s the path to delivering DAZZLING CUSTOMER SERVICE.
First Things First What’s the plan? What’s the service outcome to be? Satisfied or happy customers? There’s a difference. The happy customer comes back and or sends their freinds. Next question: What is the most vital key service performance indicator to your business? What lever, if pulled, has the greatest impact on your bottom line? If you cannot immediately answer this question, then you need to think seriously about it.
The Walk Through Chances are you’ve never done business with yourself or your team. You don’t see yourself or your service as others see it and receive it. Take the time to walk through your business, step by step, moment by moment, to analyze how a regular or new customer would be greeted, sold and serviced. After that, it’s all about the experience. Whatever experience you’re selling you and your staff should have experienced it by now – or at least, before the customer arrives. Has everyone bungy jumped? Has everyone experienced the best suite in the hotel? Has everyone been ice fishing, seen the northern lights, walked the city tour, eaten the best meal on the menu? You get the idea. Each and every member of staff must have experience the best of your product. Then they can talk about it, service it, and above all – SELL IT. Next Issue: Dazzling Ideas You Can Implement
Staying on top of your game also means to be very well informed and in the current world of tourism… it’s a life saver. Here’s how you can stay on top of the news you want to receive using one of the many tools / apps that Google offers. The idea here is to create a Google Alert so that each and every day, your email will be populated with an Alert advising you about the latest information related to the topic or subject you requested. One of those subjects would be your very own business. You need to know what’s being said, written about you and here’s a quick way to find out. Other Alerts can be / should be: q Canadian Tourism q World Tourism q Canada’s Economy q Terrorism q Your competition
Open Google, click on More, then… even more… When that page loads, click on ALERT
You get the idea. Decide what you truly need and want to know about. This is not meant to be a make work project. This is pure business know how that will serve you well as you make marketing decisions and invest your hard earned cash into a new venture – or not. As you know, Canada as a tourism destination has gained a few demerits thanks to the recent riots in Vancouver and past viruses that CNN eagerly followed. When this type of news hits mainstream you realize that you are now fighting to win back those visitors that were coming to Canada but now having second thoughts. Being ALERT keeps you on your marketing toes giving you a slight edge as you will know how to counter the bafflegab that’s being projected worldwide by news anchors pitching on behalf of their own country’s tourism needs. In other words, they will bash Canada whenever they can to get a leg up on that tourist who WAS coming to see you. It’s a game every department of tourism plays. Setting your Google Alerts is a second string to your bow when it comes to the survival of your business.
I have requested Tourism in Canada as my Alert and chosen the level of information I want. Now you would click on CREATE ALERT. You can request as many Alerts as you wish.
WELL IS IT? ARE YOU GETTING DOZENS OF BOOKINGS, REGISTRATIONS, QUESTIONS AND SIGNS OF INTEREST? HOW ABOUT YOUR SHOPPING CART, IS IT FILLED, ABANDONED OR IS NON‐STOP AND REPEAT SHOPPING GOING ON? ARE YOU GETTING PAST CLIENTS REFERRING NEW CLIENTS, CUSTOMERS, VISITORS OR GUESTS?
“I clicked it first!”
If your answer to the above was YES on all accounts, no need to read this page! Okay, just kidding. There’s always something to learn. I’m talking your logo matching your business model, your tag line supporting your mission statement and your colour scheme not blinding anyone clicking to your website. Did I mention those fuzzy things that twirl or the flashing lights and siren sounds. Yeah... not so good those. And lose the counter too… 35 hits in five years is not attractive!
Over the years I have used many DIY sites as well as having a site professionally created which cost a few thousands dollars back then. Since that time of ‘then’, things have moved along very nicely and if you have an eye for layout, you can create a fantastic site all by yourself. An FYI about DIY… I did have four websites, 3 newsletters and a couple of blogs (gasp) and certainly lived up to the hourly count of 2 to 4 hours a day to maintain all that online activity. Now down to two websites and two digital magazines that house all those newsletters and blogs. I now have time for coffee and the luxury of a little blue sky‐ing once in a while. Here’s a few tips that will have your website working for you versus you working for your website.
The first thing to ask yourself is this: what do you want your website to do for your tourism based business? That’s it and then you can mind map from there. If the answer is to serve as a reminder of your location, a source of information, to a booking engine where reservations can be made and payment taken and processed then you’ll have different needs and wants and levels of expertise to help you. A small tourism business does not need to invest thousands of dollars these days. A large multi location firm will enjoy the luxury of cost proration and economies of scale. Let’s go back to the small business operator.
The main reason websites exist is as a promotional tool. A tool that will attract a customer, visitor and guest as they surf the Internet using keywords to search for the information they are looking for. Your website then, first and foremost should be responding to those search engines that those prospective clients are using. Google and Yahoo seem to be leading the charge in terms of the most used search engines. It’s good to know how people arrive onto your website as you can then, if you wish and with money available, work an ad & promo campaign that gives you more exposure when certain words are searched. For instance “B&B in Manitoba” might be a search term. If you had initiated an ad campaign around such words on Google for instance then your website would be featured in the sponsored column to the right. You can review more details on the Google site. We’re not getting technical here… just looking at how you can make your website work a little harder depending upon your remit.
The Instant Info Connection I’m not sure why it is, but it seems so many companies hide the information that will help generate more interest and possibly a sale. You want to make it as easy as possible for that person who just landed on your home page to access you. Forget the website – it’s only one step between you and that person chatting about when they should come and stay at your hotel, B&B, ride that attraction, visit your museum etc. Back to your home page… where does it “say” call me, click here, live agent, have a question? Generally the Contact Us tab is to the far fight, top right above everything else in a colour that blends too well and can’t be seen, or bottom of the page in very fine print. First things first: get that contact information on your home page. Add your “click here” button, make it larger, brighter, attractive. Push that phone number out there too, make it nice and large. Of course everything must look like it’s meant to be there. Your website guru hopefully is more than a techie and has some marketing know how. Few do. Most are expert at what they do – but once again, not in sales. You need a marketing and sales expert to advise you and you need that website techie to expertly make it all happen. The reverse of this is death. Chances are YOU know exactly what you want – and if that’s the case, write it down, hand it to your web technician and let them go to work. Listen to their ideas of course, but always ask the “So what?” question. “So how will this generate sales for me?” A sale would be wonderful – at the very least, a request.
Hide The Email The tourism business is famous for hiding emails. Not sure why, but there it is. Tourism is all about people ‐ real people with real money, personalities, hopes, dreams and the desire for a wonderful vacation with YOU. The challenge is, YOU are not featured or found. Your hopeful guest can however find Info and Admin and even Sales and of course Reservations. The question is, where have all the people gone? Amazing! Where’s the customer service here? If you are the owner / operator get your name out there, up there and stand out as someone who truly wants to meet and greet and serve the customer. Dump Mr. Info and Mrs. Admin. Sounds like a legal team.
Lose the Hit Counter This is a must do. If you have a hit counter still showing on your website – get rid of it. Sure thousands upon thousands of hits could be something to boast about, but then we’re in sales, not hits. If your counter shows 150 hits and you’ve been in business 3 years… guess what, no clicks for you!
Images As an owner buy yourself a quality semi pro camera and get shooting. Nothing but the best imagery should be shown on your website. If we’re talking guest rooms, a nice wide angle shot. If we’re shooting the restaurant… make sure it’s crowded. An image of an empty restaurant doesn’t sell anything. People want to see people doing what they are planning to do. Forget the thumbnails too… large is the size you want. Large and glorious sells.
Your Image I know, you don’t like to be photographed. Too bad. If you own it, your picture is going up on that website and right next to it should be your warm “Welcome…” It’s your greeting, as if you were actually delivering it in person. Same for your staff, your team. Not just the suits, everyone! If I work the stables… I’m on your website too. It’s all about keeping it real. It’s all about the people that will help create the experience for your guest, visitor, customer. Last Call There’s endless ways to make your website work for you. Too many to state here, but you get the idea. Keep an eye open for my workshops & webinars on this very topic. If you need a website critic email me here.
A workshop for communities, existing and start-up tourism based businesses, government departments, industries in turmoil, skilled but out-of-work individuals who want to turn their hard earned skills, talents, stories, legend, heritage, myth and more, into a tourism based opportunity.
This workshop was inspired by the need as I saw it to help Canadian communities, towns and industries and more so the skilled and talented people who find themselves out of work, who could, with the right information, turn their talents into a tourism based business. That’s the nub right there. Tourism is a very attractive industry and it is a quick road to failure and a ton of debt if you enter the industry ill prepared. You wouldn’t’ go into the bush alone without the right training and equipment and you shouldn’t venture into this unknown territory without the right tools either. As a world wide industry tourism is number one. Despite all the current and future traumas to hit the world, travel and tourism always keeps going. The only times is did actually stop was during WW1 and WW2. Other than that the business of tourism has always moved onwards and upwards. As a country, Canada is a gem to sell when compared to the challenges and situations other countries find themselves in. Although the ‘competition’ has world treasures in abundance the risk of travelling to those countries is a marketing plus for you. In the Turn to Tourism workshop you will grasp the immensity of the tourism challenges faced by other countries. From terror to drugs to weather, war and the path to democracy and continuous riots – these countries have a tough road to haul when it comes to attracting visitors other than journalists. The time is right for you to turn to tourism and sell Canada. Title Fonts: Arial Black
The traveller wants safety and security. Canada is the gem they are looking for.
Here are some of the topics we cover in the program:
The World of Travel The World of Tourism The World of Inbound Visitors Where Do You Fit In This World? What’s YOUR Story? Where’s the BUZZ? Why Will They Come? What’s The Attraction? Can They Get Here from There? Seasonality – Here and There What’s The Start‐Up Cost? What’s The Ongoing Cost? When Will You Break Even? What Will Success Look Like? Data‐2‐Dollars – From Numbers to Marketing
Work to bring this program to your community and enjoy the economies of scale of my “fill the room’ pricing. One price and you can have 5, 10, 50+ people attend. Email for more details. Watch for my series of Turn to Tourism Webinars too. Delivered right to your desktop computer. No travel costs involved.
Interview with Canadian author Dalton is a prolific writer, having published 11 books in 9 years. He is a focused man with things to say, record and put into the written word. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and has travelled far and wide. At last count he had been to 127 countries, sailed 6 oceans and 13 seas. He has travelled on 24 major rivers; trekked across 6 deserts, and flown millions of miles.
Always an adventurer in heart, mind and spirit Dalton has done what many only dream about. Some of these experiences are recorded in his book “Adventures With Camera and Pen”. Tony happened by my office on Vancouver Island this month and so I took the opportunity to interview him about his life and his books. Born in the UK he arrived into Canada in 1957. I didn’t meet him until 1979 when he walked into my travel agency in Edmonton as a BDM for what was then the original Westcan Treks (started by Allan Ronneseth). We became good friends and had a few lengthy chats. During one of those chats it was obvious Tony should be writing books. Pretty much that was it. He just did it. His travel articles and photography have been published in newspapers and magazines in 20 countries and 9 languages. To go back in time, Tony has spent most of his life travelling to remote areas of the world, experiencing things that you probably wouldn’t believe unless you were standing beside him. From journeying world‐wide, outwitting border guards in Pakistan and fighting for survival in the Arctic – Tony has also travelled Canada extensively.
In 1994, he joined twelve members of the Cree First Nation on a traditional York boat voyage on Manitoba’s historic Hayes River between Norway House and Oxford House. While canoeing the second half of the Hayes River from Oxford House to York Factory on Hudson Bay in 2000, he participated in a television documentary on great Canadian rivers for the Discovery Channel. There are not too many places in Canada that Tony hasn’t seen. His favourite places in Canada are split between the rivers of BC and the rivers of Manitoba, the Hayes River in particular. Most spiritual place ‐ his property on Mayne Island. I asked Tony, “If you were selling Canada, how would you do it?” He quickly stated he would use his own photography. I liked that response as it is one that I often talk about. Using your own images to sell your own tours & services is simply a must do. More about that in upcoming issues of Selling Canada. To listen to the full interview you can click here – and you’ll be whisked away to the SELLING CANADA website. My thanks again to Tony for visiting and chatting with me.
How to work with For many owner‐operators of small tourism businesses there is a huge opportunity to work with the retail travel community. Do it right and you can boost your sales and visitors. Do it wrong and you’ll be up to your armpits in debt! So here’s a few ideas on how to make this connection work for your business. The phrase ‘retail travel community’ refers to travel agents both here in Canada and overseas as in around the world. Although many in the travel and tourism industry expect the travel agent to disappear ‘very soon’ this is not likely to happen at all. The travel agent has developed a resilience that few tourism based firms have managed to achieve. This resilience factor all started back in the mid 90’s, when the airlines dropped their commissions from 9% to 5% and then to the sound of zero! Overnight, travel agencies lost 30% of their normal, usual and expected revenue. Imagine that happening to your business. Anyway – long story short – they survived. They changed. They re‐invented. They got back on a different horse and went into battle once more. One of the curves learned was the new found profitability to be had in so‐called “niche” markets. Agencies moved into weddings & honeymoons for instance. Adventure was huge too. Spas the same. Family travel a big hit. As you read this, you should be thinking about whether or not you have something that a travel agent could get behind and sell for you. One of the main reasons tourism businesses do not do business with travel agents is the payout of 10% to 15% commission that travel agents earn. Now one key point to keep in mind here is that travel agents only earn when they sell something. Although so many operators balk at this – I gotta tell you, if I was paying out $50,000 in commissions to selected travel agents, it would mean that my business is booming! Naturally that 10%‐15% has to be factored in to the cost of doing business and it might just be that if you really cannot afford to pay a commission, your pricing might be too cheap. Just a comment.
So let’s go on the assumption that you understand the role a travel agent can play and you intend to put some skin in the game as you develop the best relationship possible with the travel agents you choose to do business with. This is like hiring an employee by the way. You must interview and you must ask critical questions – or you could be fooled into thinking a windfall is about to blow your way.
Niche to Niche Study your business and determine what niche it falls into over and above the generic eight tourism sectors. Whatever type of business you own, operate or manage there is always a niche or two that will fit your business model. You need to know this before going off to work with travel agents. Your provincial tourism body may offer travel trade initiatives that connect you to both travel agents and suppliers / wholesalers who promise they can fill your tours, rooms, boats, lodges and so on. Fact is – it ain’t gonna happen that way and here’s why. No one at the other end is trained to SELL your product. I’ll get to that issue in a moment. Back to your niche. There are over 350 niche markets in the world of travel and they range from Archaeology to Zoology. Then, hold on, there are niches within niches and that’s something that you are rarely advised about. It takes some drilling down to find your niche within a niche, but it can be done and it’s well worth it. Let’s say your product can accommodate the weddings and honeymoon niche. A niche within that niche would be extreme weddings and or honeymoons. That would mean a bungy‐jumping “I dooooooo!” Or a ceremony conducted atop a mountain or glacier.
Niche Decided, Now What?
Travel Trade Shows
Once you know how your basic business format, model and generic client base can be expanded upon, you’ll seek out travel agencies and suppliers that first, understand your business and then demonstrate that they are currently selling such a product, vacation, niche to their existing client base. You must not accept their word – you need to see evidence. A common phrase in the retail trade is “Oh yes we sell a lot of that…” That would mean two or three bookings this year! Ask for details.
Attending a Canadian multi city travel show or going overseas can be very costly. You can always have someone represent you but then they can’t sell YOU as you can sell you. The price for someone to hand out your brochure is a losing proposition. Either you go or make it a no‐go. At a trade show, chances are you will not meet or chat with the travel agents you need and want. You can however, do your due diligence and then arrange to meet your chosen group online.
The Sales Training Program
Not all major travel agency brands have the capability to represent your business as you would like it done. If you offer a high quality, high priced product or service you will find a few interested companies with recognised brands. The deciding factor is always the frontline. HQ might create an excellent marketing plan however when that client walks through their door, the sale of your product is contingent on the sales capability, product knowledge and interest in selling your product of the front line person. This brings us back to your training program being a mandatory feature that you and you alone deliver.
Here’s one of my favourite rants – the tourism industry tends to mix up product knowledge with sales training. It’s not the same thing. I have to say that the majority of government agencies do not know how to sell. They know how to market. They know how to throw a party. They do not know how to sell. So beware of investing time and energy into the wrong, but well intended activity. The only person to train travel agents and suppliers on how to sell your product is you. If you take off to meet and greet a room full of travel agents to tell them how great Canada is – you’re dead in the water. It’s a long haul from knowing about Canada to selling it (it being your product) on your behalf. You can quite quickly put together a decent sales training manual, features & benefits, keywords and phrases to use and then, mixed with product knowledge, glorious images and maps etc., you’ll be setting up your agency and supplier contacts to win. Be sure to build into your sales training program at least three to four rounds of role playing or customer simulation training. It’s the only way for you to judge if they “got it” or not.
Online Conference Call Follow Up Okay, you’ve attended the WTM World Travel Market in London, UK. You made contact. You have returned home. You can still deliver your sales training session direct to the desk and computer screen of the agents who were excited about selling your product or service. You do this via a conference call, a webinar or Skype. Easy to set up. No cost to anyone. It’s targeted and you can even record your session for your UK contacts for instance to replay in‐house. If you are not yet on Skype – explore it here: www.skype.com
Beware The Brand
The Home Based Agent Opportunity There has been a slight revolution in the retail travel trade and it centers around travel agents working from home. There are some excellent home‐based agents who at one time, owned and operated a travel agency and then decided the smart way to go was to sell from home. Working only for their best clients and in the process giving up the hassles of paying rent and human resources etc. Dealing with a home‐based agent requires the same due diligence as mentioned before. They must share your ideas and interests and fully understand your product or service and show evidence that they have an audience for it and finally that they can actually sell it. You might be encouraged to do business with some of the large hosting agencies – however, be warned once more – a brand does not a sale make. A few, highly interested, well trained agents will make the sales you need.
The New and Next Generation of Travel Agent They will not be dying off – so better to reach out now. Travel agents continue to evolve and adapt. The latest move is to embrace social media and networks. This means they are in contact with thousands of potential clients for your product.
Getting Your Message Out to the Travel Trade You can work through your local tourism resources or you can seek out companies in the business of taking your message / promotion to market on your behalf. Today of course we’re talking emails and e‐newsletter and e‐flyers. Chances are your money will be well spent by seeking response in Canada and the USA. If your customer base is drawn from Europe or Asia or any one of the 200 +/‐ countries in the world then you’ll seek similar mass market emailing opportunities. In Canada and the USA for instance you can reach 5,000 travel agencies, 30,000 travel agents and in the USA 20,000 agencies and some 60,000 to 100,000 travel agents. The head count for home‐based agents has not yet been compiled. Companies that can handle your e‐marketing push to travel agencies are eTravelMail, MailPound and here in Canada Quick Presse, Travel Information Network and Baxter.
To Recap: q Know your product well enough to develop
q Complete your due diligence re evidence that
niche markets and then niches within that niche
your new found partner can actually sell your products
q Create sales training programs and train all
q Beware of brands that cannot deliver.
travel agents representing your products.
q Invest in the travel agents that can sell your
q Develop the best website you can afford and
products by offering a decent commission.
create a travel agent area that is updated consistently
YOUR WAY TO
Have you found SKYPE yet? If not, now is the time. Join the instant communication pioneers and be ready to chat live and in person to your customer, to a supplier and to a travel agent.
Some travel firms have made the move to use SKYPE in their reservations department – allowing their res’ team to look their customer in the eye and close the sale. This is not new technology anymore – every set of Grandparents Canada wide are chatting with their grand children via Skype. If they can do it – so can you. If you operate a small business Skype is an ideal communication tool for you to use. There are a few dangers however. Here they are.
There are some rules to using it as a professional. No lurid pictures on the wall behind you – remember you’ll be on camera. No off‐camera cursing by your team mates – the webcam mic will pick it up. Remember to end the call – click the red button – before saying any next words. The caller / customer may still be online and that means they can still hear you. Once you know the dangers, everything else is easy. Skype allows you to show your screen, send files and images and more. The business version of Skype will cost you $100 / year.
That fee allows for 10 video feeds. In other words you can chat with 10 customers, a group tour perhaps, all at the same time, live and on camera. All you need to get started is a webcam for your desk top computer. If you use a laptop chances are the webcam is located in the lid. Ready to go. Create a free account at www.skype.com and you will soon be chatting Canada and worldwide. Add your Skype address to your emails and website. Promote your new service.
CAUTION! ONCE YOU WORDLE… YOU COULD BE LOST FOREVER!
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A WORDLE ANYWAY? Wordle is a tool for generating “word clouds”. You type in your text and watch marvellous Wordles develop. It’s a tourism marketers dream. However, be warned, as mentioned above. Once you Wordle… you’ll never be the same again! Here’s a little more info from the Wordle website.
The program gives greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, copy and save for use on your website, in your image gallery, business cards, mouse pads, print them on your gift shop t‐shirts, tote bags etc. Here’s where and how you Wordle. Click to this link http://www.wordle.net/create and then start adding words into the space under the phrase “Paste in a bunch of text:” Remember, the program favours words that appear frequently. So, using your marketing smarts, type in the word you want featured prominently about 5 times. You can see on this page the outcome of typing in the word Tours and other supporting words numerous times. Once you have your words typed, you click the GO button and then all is revealed. It’s actually quite marvellous. Now you can play with the fonts, and various colour schemes. I’ll leave it for you to play with. Wordle also offers a gallery where you can explore and view what other Wordlers like YOU have created. There are some terrific ideas there, just waiting to be discovered. If you create a superb Wordle that SELLS CANADA and you can part with it, share it, offer it to your tourism colleagues, send it to me and I’ll include it in the next issue of SELLING CANADA and I’ll also upload it to the SELLING CANADA website. Perhaps a new event: The Great Canadian Tourism Wordle Word Off!
You can also use a word cloud to instantly describe your company, your service, your food menu, your tours – it’s unlimited. How about your mission statement? So one last thing then ‐ enjoy Wordle‐ing and before you start better say goodbye to your family. Once you Wordle – they won’t find you! It’s addictive. Soon you’ll be saying, “Hi, my name is Steve and I’m a Wordler”
If you believe that a picture says a thousand words, then chances are you have a lot to say if you were to check your Picture File and look at all the images you have taken and also those your clients have sent you over the years. Hopefully you still have them. All these images are your immediate ‘stock photography’ – waiting to be used in some way shape or form to promote your tourism business.
Take this little guy below. If I was you, and he was photographed close to your business, chances are you might be able to support Bird Watching Tours of some kind. So when you’re out and about in your own neck of the woods and looking through that view‐finder, start to think about how you can turn the image you’re looking at into a new niche for your business. You never know what might come to mind.
Some people love it, others not so much. Some people read business books, others not so much to never. Training & Development and continuous education is the corner stone to growing your tourism based business. It will also grow your team, grow your next manager and even grow your next partner or buyer of your business come the time to sell.
As an author, columnist, trainer, workshop leader, webinar presenter and keynote speaker you can imagine the amount of reading, researching, creative thinking and role playing I have to do to stay on the edge. If you ever attend one of my workshops or webinars you’ll know that I don’t do “slow” and I don’t deliver old and reworked material. I make it a point to always develop my next program from scratch. My training format is “no fluff, no theory”. You could liken my day‐ to‐day preparation and daily search for new ideas to help you grow your business – to you and your business and all the things you do every day to generate another sale, another customer, another group. The difference is I also work for you. It’s true. Everything I do each day is one step closer to helping you grow your business. So, when you can, when you have time – let’s talk. Although I look like a suit in the above picture, my style of deliver is very much holistic, all‐encompassing and no‐one is ever embarrassed. I use good clean humour and personal anecdotes to make my point and I always use the talent and experience in the room. From boardroom to stage to one‐on‐one to outdoors on an adventure course – I am comfortable in all situations, locations and audience profiles. If boosting your sales & service is on your agenda, we should talk soon. 1‐250‐752‐0106
Title Fonts: concursoItalianBTN & DESIGN
Top: Montreal workshop. Centre: Jamaica with Bert N Ernie. Lower Left: Trying to make Lemonade. Lower Right: Staying on the cutting edge!
Here’s where we challenge your NBG skills and pose a question or scenario to you that you can read and then answer in your own time. There’s no correct answer. No time limit. No glory if you solve the situation to your own satisfaction in 30 seconds or less. This is purely to get your mind focused and thinking about creating opportunity. Okay here we go. As you can see in this picture I like to help out clearing the trees when they blow down. Assuming you own this land, a huge storm hits, and there are one or two old growth giants that have fallen. Put on your NBG hat and start thinking tourism. How could you turn this situation into a tourism project / business for yourself and or your community. You can ad lib in terms of tree type – cedar, spruce, fir… it’s old, large and now on the forest floor. Turn it into opportunity. Note: this project comes from my Turn To Tourism workshop – there are 16 opportunities here. Go! 1. 2. 3. 4.
There are potential tourism opportunities like this one falling around you almost everyday. You can if you wish, develop an opportunity mindset and many times turn major events into massive opportunities.
ON THE BACK PAGE OF EACH ISSUE OF SELLING CANADA YOU WILL ALWAYS FIND AN IMAGE TO REMIND YOU OF THE BEAUTY AND DIVERSITY OF CANADA AND WHY YOU SELL IT TO A WORLD WIDE AUDIENCE.