For more years than I care to remember, I’ve been a great believer in two things. The huge untapped potential for customised UK travel that’s on every travel agent’s doorstep and that YOU are the person who’s best placed to find it.
What you may not have had at your fingertips is a product range that can help you to develop it into high yield results. Feel free to utter the words Abracadabra but as you do so, click here and enter an Aladdin’s Cave of imaginative new ways of looking at your old friend Britain.
If you’re in any doubt as to who might be interested these inspired suggestions, I’ve listed some of the niche markets where you will probably already have the right connections. Take a close look and then let’s start an email exchange about creating a customised UK itinerary that most of them will have never seen before that focuses on:
Stately Homes and Gardens
- Your local garden clubs
- The nearest Arboretum or Botanical Garden
- Societies specialising in orchids, roses, dahlias, chrysanthemums, herbs, lilies, camellias and rhododendrons
- A group of Master Gardeners looking for an outstanding, value added itinerary linked to one of our Royal
- Horticultural Societies
- Manufacturers of garden equipment and garden statuary who could co-sponsor a tour
- A landscape gardener or TV, Radio, newspaper or magazine gardening personality who could make a great Pied Piper
- Historic Houses and Museums interested in architecture, conservation, historic preservation AND their gardens
- Flower arranging societies interested in making a cathedral flower festival or event organised by the UK’s National Society of Flower Arranging Societies.
- Friends of yours who would enjoy shopping and foodie tours to London and Paris
- Textile tours for those interested in quilting, embroidery, knitting and needlework
- Shop ‘n’ Ship trips to the World’s Capital of Ceramics, aka Stoke on Trent
- Antiques and Collectable Fairs and London Markets
- Shop ‘n’ Sip tea room tours especially in the Cotswolds
Masterpiece and Literary Tours
This pick ‘n’ mix medley of Masterpiece magnificence includes:
- Downton Abbey, Poldark, Doc Martin, Victoria, Jane Austen, Wolf Hall, Harry Potter and Mathilda
- Murder and Mystery with The Great Detectives Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Inspector Morse, Father Brown, Angela Raisin, Inspector Barnaby, Foyles War, Dick Francis and Sherlock Holmes.
Most of the interest in these On Location visits lie within your own, anglophile database and to expand the potential you should also consider:
- Your Public Broadcasting Station
- The local branches of United For Libraries which includes Friends of Libraries USA
- A radio talk show host for one of the UK’s top literary festivals, co-sponsored by a local bookstore
- English literature teachers, continuing education colleges, university lecturers and their students and the English
- Speaking Union
The Visual and Performing Arts
Do some desk research by drawing a 20-mile circle (more or less depending on where you live) and start plotting your chosen sources of business on the map.
- Major art galleries and museums noting their specialisations.
- Do the same for any privately-owned smaller galleries.
- Ceramic collector’s groups and china painting clubs.
- Art colleges for ‘have sketch pad will travel’ programmes.
- Continuing Education colleges offering courses on water colour painting, pottery or drama.
- Organisations that might have a specific interest in William Morris, the Arts and Crafts Movement, the Pre-Raphaelites.
- Clubs interested in embroidery, needlework and quilting.
- Arts Festivals and their Friends groups.
- Friends and Patrons of theatres and opera companies.
- Ballet Schools and Dance academies.
- Amateur operatic and drama clubs.
To show how theory can be converted into reality, among the requests I’ve received in the past few weeks, I’ve created itineraries for Masterpiece On Location tours for 2 Public Broadcasting Stations, a Tea Rooms and Treasure Houses tour, a Fashion tour linked to the Christian Dior Exhibition at the V&A, London, a group of Methodist Ministers on a pastoral tour of England, a London and Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll tour, an Islay Whisky Festival and hiking tour to Scotland and a reunion for a family whose ancestral castle is in the Lake District.
It’s out there and the UK can deliver a truly memorable travel experience that meets your client’s interests, time frame and budget. Email me and let’s get to work.
Paull Tickner, owner of U.K.-based Custom GB, is known for his expertise in creating and operating imaginative, value-added tours of Great Britain and Ireland. Visit his website at www.customgb.co.uk or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.