Last week Joe Germano from Transair Travel shared with us some of his pinnacle experiences of a trip to Cambodia. It’s the sort of experience that people come back talking about and that’s good for business.
It’s a challenge for a Travel Agent to commoditise something which in its own right should not be a commodity as they should be unique, tailored and exciting. B2C websites sell commodities. Travel Agents need to clarify their messages that they are selling experiences.
In a day and age driven by consumerism, consultants are trying to convince travellers to spend $10,000 on experiences and unknown memories as opposed to $10,000 on “stuff” they can take home and play with.
“We like to do things differently and really ensure that our customers get something a bit deeper and a bit more detail than they might get from elsewhere.”
Here’s Joe’s three thoughts on building such a trip:
1. Get out there, have an open mind and get off the beaten track
“Agents need to encourage their customers to look beyond the norm. It will create the sort of experience they come back with and know how lucky what they are with their life at home.”
As Joe reflects on his experience of emerging through the undergrowth into a village he says: “We had emerged onto this real scene, colonial buildings that had been damaged throughout the Pol Pot era. Totally un-ruined by tourists”.
“That Pandaw Cruise was great because you pulled into these places that a lot of the big boats just can’t get into. These villages tucked everywhere but you got to find someone who can take you there.”
The lack of luxury adds to the experience. Less can be more.
2. Try and make sure people take your advice – Agents are the experts
Angkor Wat is something to behold. It isn’t a natural wonder for no reason.
“Go and check out all of the main tourist spots but at the same time you have to get off the tourist Trail and do it with a local company using local vessels run by the right people,” he said.
“My role as an Agent is to find those on the ground DMC’s who really know what they are talking about who I know who can be trusted. Most of the companies we partner with I have used myself.”
Agents have to really convince people that they are the experts and the ones to book their dreams with.
3. Engage with locals
“I like to see the way people naturally live rather than how the tourist wants to see them.”
But if you are on a tour bus with 70 other people, you’re going to be walked in, walked out and smile and wave.
“We are currently building a food and wine tour to Umbria and Tuscany. The cooking class is not an auditorium of 50 people watching a chef cooking pizza and pasta.
“This class is out of a 250 year old villa, maximum of six people per class, and they say to us “Joe, we are teaching people Italian cooking, not tourist cooking.” Proper teaching, the proper experience.
“We will visit two small wineries where the picking, the squashing, gluing the labels on is all done by hand. It’s important to give people the experience of the actual country, to see it as a local.
“We have everything that everyone else has, but it’s what we have that the others don’t that is important.”
What are your tips for building powerful experiences overseas?
Share this story