South America is a hot destination at the moment for Australian travellers, with a variety of tours covering everything from budget to luxury to cruise. Janet Bradley-Ryalls, MTA from Cairns shares with travelBulletin her tops tips for selling the destination.
How well does South America/Antarctic sell?
The destination is a big seller for me and one I enjoy planning with my clients. They generally know what they want to do and see, so it is a matter of planning a detailed and exciting itinerary that covers their all their requirements. It is also easy to upsell to include other destinations, as many of the flights do not fly direct, so there is good opportunity to add another stopover or two.
Is it seen as an expensive destination?
It would depend on how far in advance the client wishes to book. South America can be quite affordable if the client plans well in advance, to get the best airfares, or to take advantage of early bird discounts, and have a good choice of accommodation. Because South America is a very large continent, internal flights can increase the cost considerably. Planning and constructing an itinerary that flows in a logical order to save back tracking is highly recommended.
Is there sufficient product knowledge available to agents?
The tourism organisations are very good and if you are ever stumped, they can be very helpful in helping to plan itineraries or source operators. I find the small group tour operators are very knowledgeable and they use local guides and probably deliver a more authentic South American experience. The larger tour groups and luxury tour operators also have expansive knowledge and will use local guides in each area, but aim at a different sort of experience and have a different demographic clientele.
I would like to see someone come up with a nice, concise reference book for agents for South America, as it is always handy to be able to have a ‘bible’ of information at your fingertips.
What advice would you have for other agents selling the destination?
Don’t let it overwhelm you! Use whatever resources you can find and ask questions of your clients to qualify what type of holiday they really want. I have learned so much from the suppliers and wholesalers especially, and they are there to guide you if you personally have not been there or experienced the destinations.