Ask the Experts: May 18

Ask the Experts: May 18
By admin



If you have a question for our expert panel, send it to

Q: James Allen of TravelScope asks:

I read with interest your answer in last issue's Ask the Experts regarding advertising and wanted to ask if there is a way you can measure the effectiveness of online advertising. We're looking at doing some online ads that target our local community on the Sunshine Coast and I have been told about CPM options. I'm just wondering what is a reasonable figure? We've been offered a rate of $100 per CPM. To be perfectly frank, I have no idea if this is reasonable and whether the figure has any relationship to the number of people clicking on my ad. Can you help?

Georgia says:

Online advertising is a great way to target travellers, particularly in Australia where the rate of internet penetration is so high.

But it is important to understand what CPM means. Put simply, it is the cost per thousand impressions. So you are paying $100 dollars for every 1000 people who see your ad.

This is relatively high and, as a small travel agency, your advertising should be highly tactical so that you see real bookings from every dollar you spend. Therefore I would recommend also looking into cost per click (CPC) advertising. CPC is when you only pay for people who click on the ad and engage with it.

If you are not trying to achieve mass brand awareness and the goal is to drive people who are considering a holiday to your website then CPC is likely to be a more cost effective approach.

I would suggest that you set up a landing page with all your deals, then advertise your best lead in-deal and encourage people to click through to book. If you are only paying for real leads from people who have enough interest in your ad to click on it, you are likely to get a better return on investment.

Jackie Whippins of Dynamo Travel asks:

I have a client who wants to take a safari holiday, however she is a nervous single traveller. I have recommended to her options in both South Africa and Kenya. While she's keen to visit Cape Town, she's worried about the safety record there. Having never been myself, I was wondering if you could offer any insights?

Dan says:

I'll let you in on a secret Jackie. I once walked into my local post office and filled my pockets with lollies before briskly walking past the counter without so much as a glance. The shop assistant apprehended me as soon as my excited lungs inhaled fresh air and my parents were called. On that day, a young boy was labelled a thief, but fortunately, that label didn't stick as I quickly saw the error of my ways.

Sadly, the same can't be said for South Africa. It's infuriating that lingering perceptions of a dark past continue to see the country branded as unsafe. Personally, I've been there countless times and have never had a problem.

The tourism authorities of South Africa are at pains to cast off these firmly held perceptions and as a result tourists are prized – and often handled with kid gloves. Granted, there are some quarters where visitors might be met with apprehension, but it's highly unlikely that your clients will be visiting these areas anyway.

If at the end of the day your client still needs convincing, then the security of being in a small group would be the solution. Being constantly looked after by a guide and staying within the safety of the group will provide your client with enough reassurance that a visit to South Africa is as safe as a trip to the post office.

Maria Thanalopolous of Maria's Travel asks:

I've been interviewing three people for a new role and I've whittled it down to the final two, both of whom seem great (the third one was nuts). The problem I'm having is splitting them. Do you have any words of wisdom? One has more experience but seems quite measured, while the other has some experience and bags of enthusiasm. I'm thinking about getting them back for a second interview – what questions would you recommend I ask?

Adriana says:

It is great to hear you have two final candidates on your short list, especially considering quality prospective employees are hard to find at the moment.

Here are three handy tips to help you make that all-important hiring decision…

1. Write an essential criteria matrix (for example, product knowledge, GDS skills, ability to communicate) and then rate each candidate against this list.

2. Invite the candidates in for a second interview to further investigate any queries you may have. I find that using competency-based questions and role-playing scenarios can be helpful. For example, ask them to tell you about a time when they had a difficult customer who offered many objections. Ask about the customer's objections and how they overcame them. Did your candidate confirm the booking in the end? This will give you an idea of how the individual functions in the workplace and how they deal with the tougher elements of the role.

3. References are also very handy when choosing between two final candidates as the referees can give you more of an insight into the individual's performance and personality.

At the end of the day, if they are both equal, it also comes down to who is the best fit. Don't always just rely on who has the most experience. While experience is important, you can always train consultants in product knowledge. Enthusiasm and self-motivation, on the other hand, cannot be trained. Good luck with the decision.

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