Travel Experts Guide to… unique stopovers

Travel Experts Guide to… unique stopovers
By admin

Alice Turner of Flight Centre asks:

I have some clients who return to England to see family every year. They love travelling and seeing new places, so on the way over they like to spend a few days in a country they haven't previously seen. The problem is they've been to all the logical stop off destinations like Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and even Korea. Any ideas would be great.

Dan says:

If it's a new stopover destination they are seeking, I have a couple of ideas. Both offer a very different experience, so between the two you should have something to impress you clients with.

The Kingdom of Brunei is a wonderful and intriguing country that can easily be explored with a four-day visit. This culturally rich destination is deeply Islamic, has some resplendent rainforest and great market food. It is serviced by Royal Brunei Airlines, which flies from Melbourne four times a week with daily onward connections to London.

Meanwhile, for a luxury beach holiday, why not offer Reunion Island? This French territory in the Indian Ocean has some great resorts as well as some stunning beaches and scenery, including waterfalls, volcanoes and mountains. Air Austral currently flies from Sydney to Reunion Island on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but be quick as the route has been earmarked for the axe in October. From Reunion your clients can fly on to Paris and from there it's only a quick trip on the Eurostar to London, where they can show off their tans.

John Snoogan of My Blend Travel asks:

Traditionally this time of year is a little flat for us so I'm looking to do some marketing to drive extra business, based on two different things. The first concerns the Australian ski season (which is a new market for us) and the second revolves around late bookings to Antarctica for cruising over Christmas. Could you offer some advice on how I could market these offerings and what steps I should take? I have a modest budget, so I can't go crazy with my expenditure.

Georgia says:

It is a good idea to be targeted in your marketing, particularly when you have a small budget, so it is great that you have a theme for your marketing from the outset.

Now you need to define your target audience. For the ski holidays this is likely to be younger couples and families and for the cruising, older couples. If your objective is to get people to walk into your store to book, the marketing needs to be very targeted to your local area.

You will also need a strong tactical element so make sure you have a great cruising deal and also the best ski offers for families, as well as couples, to use in the promotions.

Once you are clear on your objectives, targets and product, sit down with your team, brief them and brainstorm together to come up with some ideas.

Ideas may include running consumer information nights about Antarctic cruising in your agency and promoting them through mailbox flyers and local advertising.

Another idea is to create mock postcards depicting ski or cruising holidays on the front and deals on the back for a mail box drop to the local area. You could also promote these deals with some local advertising.

And you could investigate ways to gain access to databases, such as those of the local RSL, parent associations at schools, local adventure apparel stores, businesses or sporting clubs to target with exclusive deals and prize promotions. For example, you could work with the local school, providing a travel voucher as a prize for an upcoming raffle in exchange for access to their database to send out an exclusive family ski deal. A similar approach could be implemented with the local RSL or bridge club to promote your cruise deal.

Once you have agreed on a few key ideas, investigate them further to establish the cost and estimated return on investment. Then you can decide on your final marketing activities based on what is within your budget and what is likely to give you the best return.

Jennie Gallagher of Jetset Travel asks:

Female customers – particularly those who travel for business – often ask me for advice on personal security when they are heading off overseas. Is there somewhere I can direct them for sensible tips?

David says:

Compared to their male counterparts, female business travellers do face a higher risk of being harassed or assaulted. Unfortunately, not enough businesses recognise this or offer their female staff personal safety advice or guidelines.

However, some good advice comes from International SOS – a leader in healthcare, medical assistance, and security services. They suggest female business travellers follow five golden rules:

· Minimise your risk profile through simple actions such as donning sunglasses to help avoid accidental eye contact with strangers, not wearing expensive designer clothes and slipping on a wedding ring to ward off unwanted attention.

· Research the security situation before you travel so you know which areas are unsafe and if there are cultural sensitivities of which you need to be aware.

· Make yourself a hard target by arranging to be met at the airport by a company or hotel car, avoid unlicensed taxis, book a room on the third floor or higher and never accept food or drinks from strangers.

· Be confident and assertive, avoid looking lost or confused and don't hesitate to politely refuse invitations to social events.

· Stay calm if approached, maintain personal space and try not to escalate or prolong the situation.

Women-only floors in hotels are not so common in Australia, but they are in other countries such as Japan. Most hotels are also happy to have someone escort a female traveller from the lobby to her room, and some actually reserve covered parking spaces close to the hotel entrance or organise tables in their restaurants for solo women to dine at together. Also suggest that if a female traveller feels uncomfortable about the position or security features of their hotel room, they request another room. Larger hotels will regularly allocate women rooms that are closer to lifts.

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