Destination representation. The phrase may seem odd to you, and previous attempts to understand the concept may have gone awry. But in actuality, the idea is quite simple and rather fascinating. Read on as we discuss destination representation (or travel representation) and specifically what we do here at Gulf Reps.
What is Destination Representation?
Destination representation is the activity of stimulating the demand for bookings to a certain destination. An organization that is well connected in the travel industry – the travel representative, will offer this service to ideally, a country’s or a city’s tourism board. The travel organization agrees to direct a certain traveler segment to that region or destination. In that sense, the organization becomes the representative of that area.
A real-life example is Gulf Reps (a Middle-East based organization) forming a partnership with the Azerbaijan Tourism Board and embarking on campaigns that aim to direct Arab travelers (one of the highest spending tourist types) to book their next vacation in Azerbaijan. How is it done you ask? Here are several ways:
We work with the best handpicked Arab travel influencers who masterfully sway their followers to engage with our clients’ services and offers. The travel influencer will travel to our clients’ destination and review it for their followers through pictures, videos, and writing. The number of visits generated from these influencers’ activities can be tracked by the way of the customer discount codes our clients advertise through the influencers channels.
This technique is especially useful as the benefits of a travel influencer can be felt long after the review. Moreover, if the influencer’s experience with a destination was highly favourable they are known to voluntarily spread good word of mouth about the service. Travel influencers are trusted subject matter experts and are usually approached for advice by travelers. So it’s a great idea to be in their good books.
Sales Calls, Familiarization Trips, and Roadshows
The phrase “sales-calls” may be a little misleading because in actuality we conduct actual visits as opposed to simple phone calls. At Gulf Reps, we pitch our clients to travel agencies in the Middle East. These agents then sell trips to their Arab customer base directing them to our clients’ destinations. At times it’s possible for us to arrange for the agents in the Middle East to engage in a familiarization trip in our clients’ destination, while other times client representatives visit us in the Middle East. When that happens, we arrange special networking events and meetings for them with local agents. The bilateral trade relationships that emerge out of these meetings are a force to be reckoned with.
Digital Media and Destination Representation
Even though in the Middle East, travel research and buying phases occur primarily through physical means such as travel agencies, there is still a good fight to be fought online. Social media, websites, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and e-letters can all be used as a means to build awareness of your brand, generate leads, and drive conversions.
Well connected destination representation companies usually have travel company affiliates who enjoy large followerships. A well-placed post — or many, on these companies social media accounts can help in shaping trends and even influencing travel zeitgeists. Furthermore, as the average consumer whether (Arab or non-Arab) is glued to their device’s screen for a large portion of the day, online platforms never seem to miss. We all know how quickly things can catch on online, and it would be sorrowful if such an opportunity is not captured.
Websites and SEO
Once again, with affiliate travel company websites, the traffic generated by these websites can be translated to attention guided towards content about our clients’ destination. This is critical in building awareness for your destination among travellers, and informing and educating them about your destination at the travelers research stage of the buyer’s journey. Further to that, websites are also a great avenue for answering frequently asked questions.
Email campaigns and e-letters are best used to target a certain segment that may be harder to reach through both of the aforementioned channels. Here, a specific communication style can be employed to build rapport with the target audience more appropriately.
Destination Representation at Gulf Reps
Gulf Reps is a leading and highly regarded travel representation company with far-reaching and extensive experience in the Gulf region and the middle east. Gulf Reps provides a state of the art portfolio of PR and consultancy services as well as strategic and result-driven marketing solutions tailored to deliver individual targets, exceptional outcomes that boost and enhance your presence in the region. Contact us on Tel: +971 (0)4 703 6333, F:+971 (0)4 316 6565, E: firstname.lastname@example.org for any inquiries.