THE HOW-TO MAGAZINE FOR TRAVEL TRADE PROFESSIONALS
WORK SMARTER – THE TRAVEL INSTITUTE
YES YOU CAN
YOUR WORLD OF IDEAS AND HOW TO FIND THEM
WAYS TO USE THAT PHOTO
MATCHING IMAGES TO SLOGANS
MANY HAPPY RETURNS
GILLICK’S WORD MAGAZINE
JUST PUBLISHED – SELLING TRAVEL WITH HUMOR
BACK TO SCHOOL SHOW AND TELL by Steve Gillick
SHOOTING VERTICAL PANORAMAS
TEA TIME IN SYLHET AND SRIMONGAL by Anthony Dalton
ADVENTURES FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART BOOMER
A CUT ABOVE THE REST – THE CARD IT PUNCH
THE LIGHTNING STRIKES APP
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SALES & MARKETING TIPS, TOOLS & TECHNIQUES FOR ALL TRAVEL TRADE PROFESSIONALS
The WILL to
Steve Crowhurst, Publisher
A WORLD OF IDEAS As you may or may not know, my world is actually a world of ideas. They come, they go, they stay around to be reused, rejuvenated, revamped, re-energized, reshaped, retooled and reinvented too. The ideas I present come with the How-To stamp and once you’ve read the how-to you can then follow those steps or take from the idea what you want and create your own version. Nothing carved in stone. Ever. In this issue of Selling Travel then, a host of ideas that you can make your own or use as is. Just beware of local situations based on where you live and sell from and adapt to suit. Also beware of taking on too many ideas or trying to work out the How-To. If you read about a suggestion in the trade papers, and there is no How-To, only the WHAT, then email or call the author of the article and ask them to explain the HOW! This is very important and will save you time and money. So… into the magazine we go. Ideas waiting to be used… Here’s to your continued success in SELLING TRAVEL. Best regards. Steve Crowhurst, CTC, CTM Hon. firstname.lastname@example.org www.sellingtravel.net Top up your idea bank with this book!
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Yes you can have your cake and eat it, with a little work that is… …and that ‘work’ word refers to being alert, involved, creative, imaginative and thinking non-stop about how to market yourself and your travel products.
One of the main questions I receive from travel agents is about how to generate new ideas to attract clients and mostly this refers to marketing ideas. How to get the word, or a word ‘out there’ where the general public can read it and respond to it. The next question always focuses on how to close that client, but before that happens, you must of course have a client to talk to and that brings us back to attraction marketing. What you put out there must resonate with prospective travellers in your area.
Many times, it’s a matter of being more aware of what’s going on in the world and turning those events and headlines into a marketing activity. So much of the news that hits the TV screen is not good. Talking murder and mayhem and not so much about lazing on beaches and exploring the sights and sounds of Europe or South America. Those statements are reserved for consumer travel magazines that generally do not even mention the sad side of our day-to-day existence. The hard facts however would be the general population are more likely to be swayed by a mass media channel that repeats a six second blip every moment it can. Eventually that blip is being forwarded and shared and watched. Now you have a hill to climb to bring your existing and yet-to-be customers back down to your world where you can reach them and sell them. The Mailing List Here’s where it all starts. No mailing list – no marketing. Then again, no marketing, no mailing list. To build your client list your marketing must follow the attraction model. That means you must market yourself and your services, your experience and start to
win local travellers to check you out. Once they make contact, then you turn on that charm and start to chat with them to find out their travel needs and wants and then create a travellers profile – adding their name to various lists based on their travel preferences. Once that segmentation is complete you can start to identify which clients to email your next best promotion to. Matching Ideas to Clients No use trying to sell a golf tour to a scuba diver or a religious tour to an atheist. You get the concept. You must match your marketing ideas and specials to suit your client base both generic and segmented. If you service a niche market then every person on your list should be ready to receive and respond to your niche market offers. It’s all quite simple really and now a matter of being very creative with what you locate, discover and create yourself. For instance: 1. The recent killing of Cecil the Lion is still newsworthy and has become a battle cry for selling soft adventure and safaris where the only shooting is done with a
camera. If you like to sell African safaris now is the time to promote. It’s in the news and not going away anytime soon – as long as YOU promote! 2. When one of your suppliers offers a special rate or service, you need to be quick off the mark to take this offer and present it to your mailing list as if you had arranged it. “LOOK WHAT I’VE FOUND FOR YOU!” is your slogan. 3. When an airline introduces a new route or new level of airfare, once again, being quick off the mark you promote it to your clients whilst the ink is still wet. The next source of ideas will come from you and usually that’s based on experience. You might have negotiated a special rate at a hotel in Hawaii for instance and now you want to fill those rooms. Or, your head office (corporate or membership, franchise or consortium) has negotiated a special rate at a resort that suits your client base – once again you take that to your mailing list as quickly as you can. Some travel agencies are very good at being first to take a promotion and running with it. In this way their name is getting more traction in the marketplace as being creative and always on the cutting edge. If you sit and wait too long to attract new clients you’ll be last in the race to attract new clients too. If you create and promote an idea and it takes off – know that your competitors will be seconds behind you. That’s all the space in time you get. RECAP 1. You need a mailing list before anything else can happen. 2. You need to be marketing each and every day somewhere, somehow to develop that mailing list.
3. Once you have that mailing list growing you start a referral campaign. 4. You’ll need 300 active travellers out of your total list. 5. At year end you review your client list and determine who has travelled and who has not. Those who have not travelled in two years should be followed up and their circumstances reviewed. People’s lives change. They move, they die, they divorce, they re-marry, they get engaged, they go camping for three years, they quit cruising after their tenth cruise and go land based - they just change. Based on point five, you should set yourself a date and time to check in with each client. That checking in can even become a marketing idea. You let your clients know you will be calling them soon and during that call you will be asking about their future travel plans and updating their profile. Now that’s called customer service. With this current information you can start to work your idea magic once more, versus pulling ideas from the sky that simply do not match your client’s needs. The Big Event The big event is all about getting your clients into one room where you can meet them all and chat with them about your services and where they wish to travel in the coming year or two. You can also answer their questions and survey the room for new ideas they wish to make known to you. The big event then becomes a travel idea generator, incubator session. Someone might voice that they have always wanted to visit this place or that country. Suddenly twenty other voices are saying “Me too!” Well that there is the making of a small custom group departure.
You must, at all costs, learn how to put an event together, how to present on stage, create an award winning PowerPoint or video or simply go sans PPT and deliver your best stand-up, LIVE AND IN PERSON! Never leave your big event in the hands of your supplier BDM. This is ALWAYS about YOU and only you. If you cannot speak on your own behalf, you may need extra training or a new vocation. This public speaking skill is crucial to your success. Check Those Supplier Emails! I know this can get annoying, all those supplier emails begging you to sell “them” to your clients. Remember those faxes that used to stream out and curl up on the office floor? Well now you get emails. But now… there’s some gold in them thar emails. As mentioned above – it’s a matter of reading and then reading between the lines… and then pondering where the opportunity is. Get a load of this - just this minute, just now, as I’m writing this page – an email from Best Western. Here it is:
Travel With Pets and it was that slogan that caught my attention. I’m not a pet person. Had a tortoise once that wandered off! Never came back. However in the area I live now it is dog country. Most people own a dog and also cats. I know this because said cats visit my garden way too often! Okay focus: I saw the Travel With Pets heading, read about the 1,600 locations that accommodate pets and right there I was creating in my head a new flyer that, if I was you, would be emailed to my pet loving customers. Whether they book a me-and-my-pet tour is not an issue, it just gives me one more chance to reach out and touch with a theme that is current, real time and tuned to their lifestyle. Had Best Western not sent that email, I might never have thought about the pet angle. I could be barking up the wrong tree, but hey, it’s worth a try. The Strong US Dollar Good for your clients if you happen to sell in the USA. Americans are getting good value for their dollar and that is one avenue to pursue. Start marketing the fact and do not just rely on CNN selling that fact for you. Your clients need to hear about how far their dollar will go in the UK, in Europe, in Canada and elsewhere from you. If your home town is not in the US and your currency is sucking wind to the US dollar then your new theme might focus on areas of the world where your currency is worth something.
The promo is mostly about hotel stays and starting rates. Not bad. A nice reminder but done to death by each and every hotel chain. But then, they also snuck in a note about
Once again, whilst there is talk about China’s falling stock market, the strong US dollar – jump on the bandwagon, find your idea and take it to your client base.
Currency Adjustments Some tour companies will be adjusting their prices… there might be a lead up to the increase during which your clients can still travel at the previous rate. All these promotions start to hit the airwaves when the US dollar is strong. After that and when the pricing increases there will more “value add” options so watch for those too. Book Em And Reap A great venue for collecting ideas is your local book shop and I’ll go with Indigo – Chapters as that’s the one closest to me. I go there and check out those huge coffee table books that feature anything from images of
the Amazon to Santa Fe lifestyle and décor. Spend one hour in such a book shop and read through those amazing books and I guarantee you will have at least one idea on the front burner. Okay, let’s get into some ideas that you can take on, make your own and change to suit. Nothing carved in stone here and as always if you need help, email a date and time you would like to Skype and we’ll make it happen. How easy is that? Make sure you list your questions and email them to me before we Skype then I can think about the answers for you.
I’m sure you are a wild and crazy photographer when you’re out there on a FAM or during your own vacation. If not then it’s time to turn that camera to better use. Being a “pretty good” photographer all the way up to shooting like a pro’ is a skill set that has become a must have for all travel agents. Photographs and videos are at the heart of travel, travelling, travel marketing and referrals. You just have to know how to shoot a decent photo and then once you’ve done that you need to know how to use it and in the many ways that it can represent you and your agency and attract a new or existing client. Here’s a few ideas on the ways you can use one of your best shots to lure clients to make a call or send an email. 1. Use the image as is and print to standard size 4 x 6 inches - use as a handout. 2. Use the same image but print it as a poster 22 x 30 inches – place in window. 3. Turn the image into a postcard – a little larger than a 4 x 6 photo – use as a mailer. 4. Print the image on a t-shirt and hand out to your clients who spend $x? 5. Turn your coloured image into black and white – offer a different attraction. 6. Use an app to FX your image – go retro look, Polaroid, faded and more. 7. Turn the image into a puzzle – sell, or hand out your puzzles for inflight entertainment. 8. Angle the image in your flyer or brochure versus keeping all things straight. 9. Use your selfie images to prove you were there - and you can lead a tour there too 10. Crop your images to suit a certain style of media message – thin, round, jagged. 11. Spread your image across two pages for more visual impact. 12. Always hyperlink your images to your website and the tour webpage. Okay that’s twelve ideas for just one photograph and so now you’ll need to concentrate on the type of images you intend to shoot and save. Most of your shots should support your niche market and then there’s the random shots and the generic that will fill a folder in short order. Keep them filed, saved and locked away in your back up system so you can find “that” image as and when you need it. The filing method is very important and should be easy to use.
I came across a very good tip the other day and it was to do with those classic, could never be repeated photographs and the suggestion was – print it. In that way you can never lose it to a virus or a computer crash or theft. Start to look at your photographs as marketing images and look behind the image as a whole and check how you could crop it to suit your next promotion.
This image could actually take a few punny play-on-words: change the Hearing Impaired to Heron Impaired for instance. Could it work? Would it be humourous? You need to know your client base to make that call. The point is, a heron scratching its neck can become something else. Sunsets are always attractive to the viewer, however just sending out a sunset doesn’t do too much to capture the customer’s attention or cause them to enter dream time. I use to hand write a poem over the sunset image and that always caused a response. Today you can add the text to your image before you print them as postcards or on a t-shirt. If you wish, your poem could target the couple and push them to travel life together, or remind a baby boomer couple about retaking their vows. Whenever you send out a hardcopy anything, ALWAYS add a QR Code so that your recipient can shoot and scan with their smartphone and be checking out your website in a second. The idea is to always make it easy for your customer to do business with you.
Now check out how to use that image you took in your back garden…
Ask about our tour to
KEW GARDENS LONDON, UK
If you look closely at the image of the flower you will see that it has been FX’d and I used Tangled FX to produce that “look” – there are other apps that do similar changes to your image too, however Tangled FX is just fantastic. It works only on your smartphone. To make other quick and easy artistic changes you can use the Picture Ribbon in MS Word or PowerPoint. I’ve shown these tools before, but let’s show them again. The image below is a nice one to use as it shows the wake of a cruise ship, or a ferry or a larger yacht. It indicates movement, sailing away, heading out, leaving port… and so on. With your image (like this one) inserted on to a Word page or a PowerPoint slide, click on your image to reveal the Picture Tools tab on the ribbon at the top of your screen.
Here’s what you should be looking at and I’m using MS Office 2015.
With your image highlighted (left click on your image) you can now click on the Artistic Effects icon to reveal the various quick and easy changes to be made. Here’s a few samples:
You’ll need to work with the Picture Tools effects to identify the outcomes you like and can use.
Here’s a recent production of mine taken from a colour image of this heron looking for his supper. He was in a quiet pool of water and when he put his head down the sandy background was replaced by the water. So I had a consistent background. I then clicked on Convert to Black & White, added a slight darker tone from the right, sharpened the image and highlighted a few feathers and finally added my chop and signature. Now imagine receiving this in the mail as a postcard and on the back the copy is telling you about a tour to northern Japan to view the cranes that winter there.
The image I’m using is not a crane, it’s a heron. Looks like a crane if you do not study it and turn the card to read the back. So for me it can work. Or this card could be used to promote any wild bird tour to any country. The image has a Zen like look, and so it could be used to promote Zen like vacations that are based on peace and quiet. A fishing trip perhaps? The skill is to adapt. Try matching your images to a slogan, to a tour type, to your client’s personality and use your own photography to send a note to one person or fifty people. Target marketing through imagery is one more excellent use of your own camera work. If you need more help check out my eGuide that includes much, much more on this topic. To preview this eGuide click on the image and you’ll be whisked away to the bookstore at The Travel Institute.
If you have any questions whatsoever about how to use your own images to increase your travel sales – send me an email with your challenge.
No matter where you live and sell travel from, there was someone there before you. Talking waaaay before you and your clan. We can go back thousands of years no doubt to find out who roamed the area before “we” started messing up the place. Those original people, the first people, the native, the aboriginal, the indigenous, the First Nations… so many titles but all leading to the same thing – tourism. These days most clans, tribes, groups and nations have managed to ride the tourism wave and can now demonstrate their history to those who are interested in listening and learning. This is one marvellous niche to look at. This would be an even greater niche than it is, IF you happen to be of aboriginal descent. Imagine, leading your own let’s go for First Nation tours, locally and around the world. Make this a true specialty and you will indeed draw clients from around the world as you escort them around that same world. Now just like any other specialty, if you are going to assume a lead role then you had better know everything there is to know and that includes speaking the language and being accepted by your own Elders. If you are not fully versed on the history of your own nation, then that’s easily solved – study. Spend a good year moving around and talking to people of knowledge and be sure to understand what they say. Gain their blessing and then when the time is right – open your First Nations Tour program. Generally the focus is on the Native American and rightly or wrongly you can
thank Hollywood for that. The fact is there are first peoples as far away as Australia and Japan, Europe and Africa. The world is full of first peoples. Take your pick and as mentioned already, start studying now. For non- native travel agents, yes you too can sell this niche – all it takes is passion for the niche and a keen interest. As a nonnative you may see things differently when it comes to showcasing historical facts. A bestof-best situation would be to attract a partner so that you have both a native and non-native driving the niche. One thing you will need to create is a series of First Nations graphics. Source a First Nations designer and work closely with them – you need to make sure what you use is not offensive in anyway. Think about this niche. It is not going away anytime soon. It might work for you.
Click to this link and be prepared – there are hundreds of indigenous groups around the world. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_indigenous_peoples
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What images are hiding in your files that can be used to support certain headlines, with a twist? Chances are you have hundreds of shots that you can use to promote, as you see above, fishing. The only difference would be that this here heron catches fish most of the time versus talking about that huge one that got away. Think about what you sell and then search amongst your photographs for that
supporting image. It might be a fun thing, or simply an image that fills the blank space. For instance if you sold beach vacations you could show a glorious and empty white sand beach stretching for miles into the distance with the slogan: “We Know Beaches!” Or, you could show a “beach” full of penguins and your slogan might state: “Not the beach vacation you were after? Call us. We know beaches!”
Start filtering your photos now and segment them into piles that support your marketing ideas – some of the high resolution images could be printed as posters. If you have old slides and hardcopy prints, scan the best into your computer so you can use them too.
This is your travel insurance mantra and marketing theme. Use it in everything you do and relate it to everything you promote. Make sure the slogan is large and easily seen and read.
Have this slogan playing in your agency window, inside your agency, on your website and posted to your social media outlets. To support this slogan you can use images of a family, or just the kids emphasising the words Happy Returns meaning everyone comes home from the vacation safe and sound.
Create a postcard and send it to every client with booked arrangements but have yet to purchase travel insurance coverage. Have a few postcards ready to mail and email that are suited to certain client segments such as the family, the couple and the retired baby boomer. Anyone travelling with children MUST be sold travel insurance. ď ‘
On the reverse of the postcard you can offer features and premiums.
We all know and read in the trade papers about how specializing in a niche market is a route to riches. All true. However, there is a huge challenge coming your way if you do not keep an eye on world events. The BEST method for running a successful niche / speciality model is to have THREE options. In this way you cover all or at least three bases should a world event crunch your #1 money maker.
It’s a matter of being over exposed when something hits the fan causing your clients to rethink travelling to the destination you sell or rethink booking on your custom tours for the activity they like to do and you specialise in. Invoke The POWER of Three. The Power of Three is something I’ve written about many times. It’s not difficult to enact and implement. All it takes is a few hours of thinking and your niche will be safe, or safer than it was. For instance if you were specializing in tours to Thailand and Bangkok was your niche
then as of right now, based on the travel warnings etc., your niche business would be suffering. If you invoked The Power of Three you would establish a similar tour product to other cities, towns, areas (other than Bangkok) in Thailand so that your clients can still visit and you can still sell the country you specialize in. Or, you sell similar tours to similar or not so similar destinations… such as Vietnam for instance.
Which three destinations can accommodate your niche activity? If you sell snorkeling – think about the Caribe, Mexico and… they are similar, close…
Which two destinations other than your niche destination could you add to your specialization? Select destinations that are far enough apart not to be affected by each other’s events.
Review your niche / specialty formula now and plan ahead so that you are not caught unawares and always have something to sell no matter what.
Get your clients’ endorphins jumping about their next trip to China! Give them a taste of the colours, flavours, sounds and sights before they even leave your office.
Reflections in China Summer, 2015 It’s all about getting your clients to place themselves at the destination before they even leave your agency or office – so be sure to mention… Immersing… In the amazing Danxia Mountains in Hunan and Guangxi, as well as the legendary Karst landforms in and around Guilin. Savouring… Freshly prepared local foods that excite the senses and tantalize the taste buds. Believing… Watchtowers in Kaiping Diaolou; Views from the Canton Tower; Mountain vistas summits; and fierce Dragons in rice terraces. Surprising… Morning and night markets, Qing Dynasty porcelain, cultural performances, small villages and getting to know the locals. China has so much to offer.
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My name is Steve and I’m going to travel. My name is Steve and I’m going to travel. My name is Steve and I’m going to travel. My name is Steve and I’m going to travel. My name is Steve and I’m going to travel.
You never really get over it. When we were kids, the start of the Canadian National Exhibition (or the Pacific National Exhibition) signalled the beginning of the end to the summer and that dreaded ‘back to school’ feeling. It was time to say goodbye to our friends at summer camp, start unpacking the sweaters for the Fall and head to the store to buy school supplies. In the back of our mind, we just knew that the teacher would ask us to get in front of the class and talk about our summer vacation. And while some of us mastered this skill, others broke into a cold sweat.
In the world of travel, we have to talk about our professional experience all the time, whether it’s a one-on-one conversation with a client or a presentation to group travellers. We have to re-live the experience of show and tell but in a more sophisticated adult version. Here is a check-list of 7 tips that will lead to success in talking about your travels and allow you to earn an “A+” from your clients. Bristol Board Remember those large white sheets of flimsy cardboard you had to buy for your presentations? Now you can get away with a computer monitor or laptop or online slide show. But the background preparation remains the same. Gather your photos and your information and put them in a logical order. It may be chronologically—what you did on every day of your 10 day trip to Peru, or it could be organized thematically: Flights and Transportation, Hotels, Restaurants and Meals, Attractions, Niche Markets, People
and culture, Adventure etc. And just like the Bristol Board, you want to have large easyto-see images on a clean, non-interruptive background. In addition, your photos should tell a story. A photo of a horse may be interesting, but a horse near a barn or ploughing a field, or being ridden up a mountain path, conveys scenic adventure and local culture. Coloured Pencils We just had to have the deluxe package of 24 coloured pencils before school began. Just think that on an assignment you could print different titles in different colours to impress the teacher with your creativity. Travellers are impressionable too. That’s why travel brochures are colourful and draw people to want to look through them. A travel presentation needs to be colourful but also incorporate some mood changes. Corporate power points use the same template for each slide. Travel PowerPoints should have some variety and like travel itself, some serendipitous surprises. Cut out
the ‘wall of words’ that bad presenters tend to rely upon and populate the presentation with people and attractions and plaques and funny signs and adventure activities. Travel is not grey pencil marks. It's coloured pencils gone wild.
Tape Recorder Yes when I was in school I had a little red tape recorder. When it worked (the tape would often get tangled in the mechanism and then break) I could include sounds in my show and tell presentation.
Analogy: Aside from visual presentations, verbal presentations need to follow the same rules—again whether you are talking travel to one client or an audience of potential clients. Monotony (the grey pencil approach) causes people to start plotting how they can escape from you; while exciting, enthusiastic talks draw people closer to you. The audience wants to hang out with you –and travel with you--because you are interesting!
Today we can be much more sophisticated with sound/video recordings of the Wild Atlantic crashing against the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, or a quartet serenading the crowd with classical music outside Prague Castle. To add to this, I use a small audio recorder, about the size of a pack of gum. The sound quality is exceptional and it’s particularly useful in places where it just isn’t appropriate to shoot video: Capturing the chanting in a monastery, recording a song, bringing home the sounds of a county fair (or the Pacific National Exhibition). Adding sound to a presentation brings your clients closer to imagining themselves at the destination while they are still sitting in your office or at the coffee shop. You are in effect, catering to their senses.
Duo Tangs and Notebooks Duo Tangs were those folders you used to present an essay to your teacher. Those spiral notebooks were ideal for taking notes and then reviewing those notes before exam time. Travel consultants need to write down what they do, what they see, who they meet and their impressions of the hotel, restaurant, attraction etc. If you don’t take notes, then in six months when you show the photo from the balcony at the Atlantis Hotel in Nassau and the client says “Wow, that’s amazing! What room were you in?” …you don’t want to come off as a rank amateur by saying, “I can’t remember but it was somewhere in one of the center wings of the hotel”. And likewise when you present the client with a photo of your incredible meal at Carmen in Medellin, Colombia and she asks if you can reserve a sitting for her, you don’t want to say to yourself “Gee I wonder if I took a business card from the restaurant”. Your career is travel. Taking notes, collecting information and having it ready for your clients is de rigeur (required!).
Television In school the teachers called it ‘the plan in a can”. They were referring to those days when they didn’t have time to plan the lesson…and would go to the AV department to get a movie or move the school television into the classroom. Today we have video and You Tube and programs such as Slide Rocket and Animoto and Picasa where you can put together an animated slide show to educate your clients about destinations you’ve visited. Short and to the point is the rule: a 3-5 minute video that covers the essential themes of the destination. This caters to the client’s attention span while also allowing you to show the video (preferably one you created yourself) and then talk to the client face-toface about how the destination can respond to their travel needs and thereby provide value.
Pet Hamster For Show and Tell I would often bring “Pal”, my hamster. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do as he was always trying to escape from my shirt pocket or wriggle through my hands as I held him up for display. But the idea was that if you wanted a high mark, you had to add a different dimension to your presentation. In travel talks, the same holds true. Static presentations are boring. Dynamic presentations that involve some activity are attention-getters. If you spent your summer in a wine region, why not ‘involve' the clients by having a bottle of French or Argentina wine for sampling. If it was Quebec or Vermont, how about some maple syrup? Other examples might include Coca candy from Peru, a traditional mask from South Africa, crunchy ginger candy from China, colourful Venetian glass from Italy, and well you get the idea. Something visual, something that can be tasted or felt or smelled. The art of selling involves engaging your clients in the product you’re selling. Again, your attitude should be that you are treating them to a few moments at the destination, while they are still in your office.
…to the Rescue Show and Tell seems to have been fun after all. I guess I forgot about all the preparation. All the hours that I tried to draw that Viking Ship on Bristol Board, only to leave it to my very artistic mother to come to the rescue. In travel we also have rescue mechanisms. The experts in your files can be contacted for very specific and up to date information; Google is always there to consult if you need an immediate answer. Your peer network— all the people you meet at professional development events are available to share ideas, as they may need to ask you something on occasion. Tourist Boards have a lot of answers, as do suppliers, tour operators, industry associations and even travel writers! As you think about the time of year and reminisce about going back to school, keep in mind the lessons you learned years ago and how you can apply those same principles of show and tell when you talk to your clients about what you did on your summer vacation. The reward is not only monetary (commissions, fees, upselling) but also satisfaction that your clients want to arrange their travel with you. Once again, you’ve earned that cherished A+.
Watching what’s on TV and playing at the movies, you kinda get the idea that the dark side of life is winning the eyes, minds and sorry to say hearts (eek!) of your clients. If that’s the case where you live, what the (sorry gotta say it…) HELL, might as well jump right in and ride that wave. Here’s an ad idea you can use come the time of Halloween as you promote your Christmas tours OR, you can use this same ad to promote your Halloween getaways.
Follow that red arrow to where you can add your logo or a scary image of some type to enhance the intended message that would be: do not experience that horrible trip the next time you travel… book with us and we’ll arrange the best trip you’ve ever had. Now you may not know exactly what the challenge was until your prospect tells you their story. Some of the scary stuff will be legit’ and some of that stuff will be because they didn’t listen to their other travel agent, or forgot what they were told, didn’t
purchase travel insurance and of course they could be the client’s from HELL! There… said it again on the same page!! So be careful what you ask for, you might get it as the saying goes. Thing is, there’s a lot of newbies booking travel these days and there are more horror stories going on costing someone thousands of dollars. There is a niche here, to save those souls from that next scary trip.
As you know, panoramic images look great and can be used to promote your offers online and on your webpage. Generally panoramic shots are shot in landscape with your smartphone held vertical, but you can also turn your phone landscape to shoot a vertical panoramic image. Here’s the usual landscape panorama image in the process of being taken. You hold your camera phone in portrait position and you move the camera phone to your right, trying to keep the arrow on the line as you sweep the landscape. The image below is how your panoramic image would look once you complete your sweep of the scene.
Now, if you turn your camera to landscape position you can use the panoramic function, as you sweep upwards to shoot the sky or mountains or a tall building etc. Here to the right you can see how the camera phone is positioned and then after sweeping the camera phone upwards and usually over your head, keeping the arrow on the line, your image will be a vertical panorama – and delivers more image than when you shoot in generic portrait mode. So out you go. Get creative and shoot vertical panoramic shots!
“More tea?” I grew up to the sound of a kettle boiling, tea being made and that daily question. My mother was addicted to tea, as were most English people in those far off days. I suppose I was too because nothing has really changed for me. I still drink at least four or five large cups of tea each day. So, having had this passion for the most refreshing hot drink in the world for a lifetime, an opportunity to visit the tea gardens of Sylhet and Srimongal in northern Bangladesh could not be ignored. The first time I strolled through a tea producing estate in Sylhet was a bit like coming home to my mother’s kitchen. I could smell tea with every breath. As I watched the tea pluckers working, I thought about the long, historical journey tea had made to reach the shores of my native England. Tea as a beverage is believed to date back to 2700 BC. If the legend can be believed, a Chinese emperor, Shen Nung, was the first to try the bitter leaves with boiling water. Thousands of years later, in the middle of the 17th century, tea arrived in Europe and, for Britain, a national drink was born. Less than 100 years later the British had taken control of tea production in north-east India and, soon after, in parts of Bengal – much of which is now Bangladesh. It happened because a Scotsman named Robert Bruce wandered into a wilderness of overgrown tea plants in India’s Assam province, due north of Sylhet, in the 1820s. He passed the word on to British business interests and the first estate in the Sylhet region opened in 1857. For the next century, and a little more, the tea estates were all managed by British men – many of them from Scotland. Their names are listed for all to see on wooden plaques in the various tea production offices. Since 1971 Bengalis have dominated the managerial lists, having finally taken their rightful places as efficient administrators and professional tea producers. There are now more than 150 tea estates in north-eastern Bangladesh. All are centred around Sylhet and, a little further south, at
Srimongal. On these vast, beautiful estates, tea plants, which can grow as high as ten metres if left untouched, are carefully cultivated and pruned to make them grow full and expand sideways. As a result, none stand much more than chest high – to make collection of the leaves as easy as possible. Tea is a hardy plant and, if looked after, can live a productive life for up to 70 years. An evergreen, with the Latin name of Camellia sinensis, tea begins life as a small seed. After planting they are protected from Bangladesh’s scorching sun by trellis-work set low to the ground until they become miniature tea plants. The resulting fragile bushes are carefully nurtured for four years before they are considered old enough to be plucked. An expert insisted I use the correct word, “Tea leaves are plucked,” he said. “They are never picked.” Tea pluckers are usually women. They work at high speed and for long hours. Their hands become blurred as they select the youngest and healthiest leaves. After a full day in the estates, the women carry large baskets of tea leaves on their heads to the weighing stations. Each basket is weighed and the workers’ pay is calculated according to the amount of tea gathered. Once the tea has been plucked, the process to take it to the drinkable product follows six important stages: withering, rolling, sifting, fermentation, firing and grading. Withering is achieved by driving hot air over the leaves until they become limp and pliable, losing up to one third of their weight in the process.
The now lighter leaves are then rolled to break the cells and enzymes and free the natural juices for the next process. On their journey from the rolling stage to fermentation, the leaves are sent through sieves to ensure they are uniform in size. Fermentation, or the oxidization of the juices, is accomplished by spreading the leaves over large stone floors. The leaves are then dried, or fired, on grills in special ovens. At the end of these processes, the tea is then graded for sale. The biggest markets for Bangladesh tea, apart from domestic sales, are Pakistan, Russia and the Middle East. Malnicherra was the first tea estate in the Sylhet area. It opened in 1857. It was quickly followed by others. The prominent Lackatoorah Tea Gardens nearby started production in 1877. I had the opportunity of touring Malnicherra estate on foot and on the manager’s motorcycle over a few days. The neat, orderly rows of tea bushes marched over the rolling hills shaded by tall, graceful rain trees. Lines of women wearing bright, colourful clothes moved along the rows plucking the traditional “two leaves and a bud” from the bushes and stowing them in voluminous linen bags hanging from their heads or shoulders. They worked with a concentration and a speed of hands that was hard to believe. I called out to them,
complimenting their dexterity. They laughed and chatted among themselves, never missing a beat as they plucked at the bushes. The Bangladesh Tea Research Institute at Srimongal plays an important role in the country’s tea industry. Beyond the main institute, the BTRI has three substations, one at Moulvibazar, one in Sylhet, and a third far to the south at Fatikchhari, Chittagong. Three major research departments oversee six research disciplines. They are: the Department of Chemistry, which covers soil chemistry and biochemistry; the Department of Crop Production, which looks after botany and agronomy; and the Department of Pest Management, containing the Entomology and Plant Pathology Divisions. Two more research divisions take care of tea technology and statistics and -economics. In addition, the Bangladesh Tea Research Institute collaborates on research programmes with other research institutes and universities. For visitors, the Srimongal facility offers occasional tours to see the tea production process in action. There is also the opportunity of tasting different blends. And that reminds me, my kettle is not far away. You know what that means? Yes, it’s time for a cup of tea.
Anthony Dalton is the author of 14 non-fiction books. He lives in western Canada. www.anthonydalton.net
Here’s a terrific piece of kit for when you’re travelling and with the intentions of recording the soundtrack of your travels. Video is good, the best and you can spend time ripping the audio from the video you shoot, BUT, this mic’ – The Mikey – is built for the job. No need to wrestle with other software to capture the audio track from your video.
Unlike shooting stills and video footage which entails pointing your camera at someone which in some locations around the world can spell trouble for the photographer. Meaning YOU! However capturing sound does not require pointing your camera at people. Think about walking through a bazaar, a fish market, attending a musical event, jiving to local street musicians, enjoying cruise ship entertainment and outdoors amongst wildlife, sitting by the ocean, a river and even sitting in silence. All of these recordings make for excellent marketing ideas. The sound tracks you record are now yours – the only challenge would be the musical scores you
captured. You’d need to get permission from the musicians before recording them. Let’s go with the sounds or a street market: this track could very well support your slide show, or used as is letting your customer’s imagination take over as they interpret the sound for themselves. Your newly acquired sound tracks can be posted to your social media of course and your website, your blog and if you publish a digital magazine some platforms like Joomag allow your audio to play off the page. So there you go. The Mikey. Cost under USD$100. Start planning your sound bite marketing plan.
http://www.bluemic.com/mikey_digital/ (The Mikey info was sent to me by a good pal… his name: Mikey! It’s true.)
To YOU, a cute ageing couple still in love. To the people that know them they have summited three peaks over 8,000 meters, rafted the Columbia River and danced naked with the Ukantfindus tribe of darkest Africa – and there’s a lot more they haven’t told even to their best friends and family. And you offered them a short 3 day cruise so as not to tire them out. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!
Well, for sure they are ageing and also still in love but then dancing naked at 73 can do that to you. With travel trade focus seeming to be pointed towards Gen Y, you could be making a huge mistake by missing the still traveling Baby Boomer and active senior market. It’s always a good idea to factor Baby Boomers, both early and late, into your marketing plan and treat them like Gen Y clients. Yes, there are more than a few Baby Boomers who still rock, and by that I mean ROCK. They climb it, hike on it and summit it. Let your own marketing say this:
When you staple your business card to a supplier’s brochure or any other brochure or travel documentation, guess what? When your client throws that brochure out, you go with it! That’s not what we want. What we/you want is for your card to be easily removed, without tearing and retained. The thing is, you should always inform your client what to do versus trusting they will know what to do. Have a set of business cards printed with a KEEP ME CLOSE tab running along the top. These are the cards that you will affix to those brochures, flyers and other documents. So how do affix a business card without stapling or gluing? Well here’s the gadget. The Card-It.
Here’s what the Card-It punch looks like and how you use it. Simple, easy and ready to use as and when you are mailing a one off brochure or fifty.
Using my own magazine cover and business card to demonstrate… you can always create the card slots as per the usual 90 degree way, or to make your card more noticeable, why not angle it as shown here? Think beyond the business card. You could insert a brightly coloured card with a slogan on it, offer a discount if that’s what you do, or simply two large words: BOOK NOW! That’ll get some attention. You might also promote a suppliers special deal and why not.
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Do you have any storm chasing clients? How about clients who love to sit and watch lightning flash across the sky? Well what can I say, this is an electrifying idea and one that could heat up your sales!
All you need to do is build a group of storm chasing, storm loving clients and head off into a stormy area - close to you or fare away. Your call. Advise your clients to bring their smarty-pants phone with an installed app called iLightningCam. Now you are ready to brave the elements, do a little bonding but not melting! No one is to get zapped like yours truly in the header shot. It can happen – so make sure you have waivers signed that remove you from any legal implications. This idea comes under the heading of EXPERENTIAL MARKETING and means immersing your clients into your marketing idea. It’s a bit out in left field however the idea is to do something together and builds rapport so that when you do promote a cruise or soft adventure tour you get more response because you are better known to your clients and they to you. Remember this is local. Just think of it as a bonding session.
The app by the way works by recognising the lighting strike and shoots at the right time to capture it. When I used this app, my storm was too far away and the although the sky lit up, there wasn’t a lightning bolt as it were, so nothing was captured. Next time! ZAP!
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Ensu that re you are to-date passports carrying your upand have obta any required/ ined nece for entering the ssary tourist visas country(s) you visiting. are
trip You involves canc ellation penalties in the unforeseen even that you canc t el/postpone your travel arrangements. Ensure that you aware of these are penalties. • Carr your y Out-of-Count ry Hospital/Medic al/Travel Insur Policy with you. ance • awar Be e of luggage restrictions as weight, size and type of suitc such allowed on the ases inter national and domestic fligh ts on your itine rary. Excess bagg age charges are steep and can caus e great incon venience • Ensu you re have obtained recommended or required inoculations. Cert are mandatory ain inoculations for areas. Your trave travel to endemic l agent will have provided full details. • Chec outkthe availabili ty of local ATMs in your destination and/ or purchase some local currency travellers cheq or ues. • Give family/friend s the contact information at hotels/lodges you will be staying during your trave Information on l. your accommo datio is provided withi n your documen ns ts. • reco We mmend that you put your newspaper subs cription on hold the duration for of your trip and have your mail colle cted held at your local by a neighbour or post office. • is alwa It ys recomme nded that you secure your hom e with a secu rity alarm before you leave.
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