As agents, many of us have received that critical, complex, and often comical question during the planning stages with our clients: “Where should I visit in (insert country here)?”
As a Destination Specialist, it is my responsibility to be an expert in the places I sell. For reasons of safety, comfort, cost, activities, or otherwise, I am also informed of alternate locations that offer similar elements of the more popular and well-known locations. It is also common for my clients to ask about whether or not the destination/site is worth visiting. My general response: It is popular for a reason. Can the inundation of tourists detract from the experience? Possibly. Does the fact that so many people visit indicate it is worth it? Probably.
My specialty is India, a country 1/3 the size of the United States that offers something for everyone: history, culture, architecture, adventure, Yoga, Ayurveda, cuisine, beaches, Himalayas, backwaters, shopping, festivals, music, dancing, religion, and wildlife– just to name a few. If you sell India but generally stay within the comfort intersection of popular and well-traveled, here are a few suggestions for alternate destinations and sites.
As the owner of a specialized travel company servicing India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, I often reach out to other agents who can assist with trips for my clients outside of my umbrella. For many years, this arrangement has worked beautifully. The clients were appreciative of my ability to connect them with a specialist, and the receiving agent was the beneficiary of a sale and subsequent referrals. However, recently I have been disappointed and discouraged with several agents when mutually planning proposals or even campaigns. There is a very clear tone of, “How does this benefit me and only me?” Read the rest of this entry »
Many of us in the travel industry have researched the trend reports for 2011. If you had to sum up a strategy for success, one word would apply: Specialization. Many travelers still reserve their weekend getaways or holiday packages online, but they also continue to rely on travel professionals for complex itineraries and destinations – and the trend is growing.
Specialization requires an in-depth knowledge of a destination that can come from education, personal experiences, or both. When I started my agency, Sodha Travel, it was (and remains) my mission to go beyond selling a tour package or customized itinerary to the Indian subcontinent. It is about familiarizing the traveler with the destination, setting realistic expectations, and most importantly, being an advocate. Read the rest of this entry »