How to sell polar regions

TRAVELLING to the polar regions is a unique experience but one that is usually quite costly. That’s why its so important that you get it right when selling a trip to the Arctic or Antarctic to clients. To help you figure out how to do this we talked to polar experts Rose Toohey and David Smyth from Forward Travel. Their agency is part of Travellers Choice but they are always happy to give advice and guidance to all agents. They love the polar regions and always enjoy helping make it better and easier for people to find their right trip. Here’s what they suggest:

Penguins and polar bears are poles apart

Penguins are in Antarctica and polar bears are in the Arctic. It’s important to remember so your clients aren’t disappointed to not see penguins and polar bears on the same cruise.

Find out why they are going

Find out what your client’s reason for going there is, and then find a trip that matches that. Not everything is found in every place, so knowing what they hope to see is crucial.

For example, there are no king penguins in Antarctica; they are in the sub-Antarctic islands. I once heard of a traveller whose whole dream was to see the colourful king penguins and booked on an Antarctic Peninsula trip. He never had a chance and his whole trip was wasted. He was rightfully very angry about it, and his trip was very expensive!

Consider the ship size

Most ships have a good level of comfort, and some ships deliver luxury. Understand what your clients want.

In Antarctica there are restrictions on how many people can be ashore at the same time. Ships with up to 150 passengers are considered ‘expedition’, can usually have everyone participate in all excursions, and are focused on letting travellers experience everything as much as possible. Ships with over 150 passengers must usually rotate landings and ships with over 500 passengers cannot let anyone off, so people on those cruise ships will be only able to watch Antarctica pass by from the ship.

Don’t be afraid of the price

People know they will be spending a lot of money, and so long as you book them on the right trip, it will be worth every cent.

We think of it like this — it’s not expensive; it just costs a lot. Anything is expensive if you pay too much for it — $5 for a bad coffee is expensive! $30,000 for the trip of a lifetime that will be cherished and reminisced about forever is a dream come true. They will remember how much they paid but they will hopefully think it was worth every cent.

Check the loyalty offer

Once they go to one polar region, they may well come back to book a return trip or go to the opposite end. Most companies have returning passenger offers so start talking to them about their future trips while you are working the current one. It’s a big sale so work on getting the next one too.

Some companies give a 10% discount, but one we work with gives up to 30%, and when you’re talking Antarctica, that can be a saving of $10,000.

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