Azerbaijan’s Top Tourist Attractions

Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, is often compared to Dubai for its outlandish architecture and appetite for gold. Also comparable to Venice, a part of the capital known as Baku Boulevard or “Little Venice” is enveloped in man-made waterways and is a relaxing escape from the city within the city. But above all else, Azerbaijan is quickly emerging as an excellent luxury destination and even a perfect ground for business meetings. Besides its modern architectural feats, the country hosts an array of medieval architectural goldmines, spectacular mountainous natural retreats, and a rich culture that captivates all those with the eyes to see. This blog will cover a few of Azerbaijan’s top tourist attractions, some of the best hotels and retreats in the area, as well as a unique and well-kept living memorial of the soviet days. Here’s our list of Azerbaijan top tourist attractions:

Azerbaijan Top Tourist Attractions No. 1: Ivanovka Village the Collective Farm

For those hoping to get a more cultural experience from the visit, the living socialist museum that is the kolkhoz (Russian for collective farm) or the Ivanovka Village is an excellent opportunity to get a taste of the peaceful Azerbaijani/Russian village life. 

A collective farm is an amalgamation of many farms usually held under the supervision of a communist government that dictates how the output is distributed when land is not privatized. All the inhabitants play a role in the operation of such an enterprise.

However, in Ivanovka, the farm belongs to the community. A community that, to a large extent, is self-sustainable and lives off of its own produce.

Life in the Ivanovka Village

The highest authority in the collective farm is the Council of Elders. They guide the everyday life of the villagers through the dictates of Molokon religion. Molokans are a Christian sect that evolved from Eastern Orthodoxy.

The entire community attends Sunday mass. Everyone works on the collective farm, and no doors are locked within the village. Members of the council of Elders can be seen going about attempting to reconcile between couples on the verge of divorce and convincing youngsters not to drink alcohol.

The population of over 3,000 Molokans is extremely honest and does not cuss. If a cow has strayed away from the herd and made it into Ivanovkan territory, the Molokan will not rest until its owner is found. Molokan men are bearded, and it is seen as a disgrace to die without one.

More About the Ivanovkan Collective Farm

Producing its own milk and cereals, the village boasts auto farms, mills, cattle breeding facilities, poultry farms, and even brick and tile factories. There also exists a milk processing plant that produces cheese and sour cream and a bakery that produces scrumptious Russian bread. The products that come out of the collective farm have earned the recognition of all of Azerbaijan.

Apart from enjoying local soul food, visitors can observe the local’s unique way of life and hear some of the well-kept folklore as it is translated to them.

The area has a refreshing aura of innocence and wholesome living. The calmness and quietude of the Ivanovkan plains are enough to make the soft whistles of the wind audible. The village is best visited in the warmer seasons.

Carpets in Azerbaijan

Carpets are held in high esteem in the country. There are laws preventing carpets older than 30 years of age from being exported and you will be searched and asked for a carpet certificate at the airport if you choose to buy this souvenir. 

Considered the epicenter of the carpet renaissance of the 21st century, Baku has an endless selection of carpet designs and types to choose from. 

Visitors can find a good wide selection of carpets in the Icheri Sheher shopping area A.K.A the Old City in Baku. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Marvelous architectural feats from as early as the 12th century can be found here, along with an array of handicrafts and local attires. Refer to this carpet buying guide before shopping for the esteemed hand-woven carpets.

The Azerbaijan Carpet Museum is a great way to get acquainted with the country’s carpet scene. Click on the following link for a virtual tour of the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum.

Azerbaijan Top Tourist Attractions No. 2: Sheki City

Once a trading hub on the Silk Road, the mountainous area of the Azerbaijani mountains is very much alive with the legacy of the past. So much so that it has been compared with stepping into another era entirely. The wild hills, woodlands, bushlands, and valleys surrounding this area are ideal for hikers and nature lovers.

Astara City and the Flammable Water Spring of Yanar Bulag

Bordering Iran and facing the Caspian sea, Astara is a unique corner of the country. Laden with rice, tea, and citrus orchards and farms, the area is known for its tranquility and the Hikran National Park. Just a few kilometers northwest of the city, visitors are known to make a pitstop (with a lighter ready at hand) at the famous Burning Springs of Archivan. Located in a small pavilion, the water fountain is highly flammable due to the methane gas that is exuded along with its water.

Luxury Hotels and Resorts in Baku

Baku has some of the best hotels and resorts in the Caucus regions. Here are a few of our top picks.

Fairmont Baku – Flame Towers

One of the most scenic buildings across Bakus racy skyline is the flame-shaped towers that light up the sky with an almost translucent glow. When you choose the Fairmont Baku, you will be spending the night in the luxury of one of these suites. Overlooking the Caspian sea, with a rooftop pool and spa, plus a ground floor Lamborghini showroom, the state-of-the-art facilities of the Fairmont Baku are there to make your stay an unforgettable one. 

Hilton Baku

Another great choice for accommodation is the Hilton in Baku. Distinguishing itself with Arabic-speaking concierges and staff, the availability of Halal food, and accommodating the language preferences of guests wherever possible (such as the availability of Arabic TV), the Hilton Baku has gained the hearts of Arab guests with how at home it makes them feel. Furthermore, the hotel’s luxurious atmosphere also includes fitness facilities, pools, and spas. The hotel is also great for family trips, with babysitting options and a kid’s menu available.

Holiday Inn Baku

One of the few places that are pet-friendly and where children below 17 can stay free of charge, and those below 12 eat for free, the Holiday Inn leaves no guest unhappy. Providing guests with a range of accommodation options, the Holiday Inn caters to everyone in 5-star fashion and is very conveniently located within the center of the city.

Gulf Reps and the Azerbaijan Top Tourist Attractions

Gulf Reps is the leading travel and tourism representation company in the Middle East, with over 60 years of regional and industry experience. We have served clients on six continents, delivering transformative results to everyone from hoteliers to tourism boards. Our mix of world-class marketing expertise, PR specialists, unparalleled connections and relationships, and eclectic mix of marketing channels makes working with Gulf Reps the only sure way to drive Middle Eastern tourists to your destination.

To find out more about our services, you can call us at +971 (0)4 703 6333 or write to us at sammy@gulfreps.com

The Importance of Arab Travel Bloggers

What is a Travel Blogger?

A travel blogger is a type of travel influencer whose output is usually limited to blogs, photographs, and at times, vlogs. Essentially, a travel blogger will either have their own website where they post reviews for travel based services and destinations, or they will contribute pieces to another travel website similar to how a travel writer would. What distinguishes travel bloggers from the usual travel influencer is their story-telling ability. At times it may not even seem to the reader that they are reading a review, and that’s the mark of a good travel blogger: the service being reviewed or even the destination itself becomes secondary to the story. These writers’ ability to create such alluring pieces with your destination as the background setting is often what magically convinces travelers to engage with your brand. Travel bloggers have already established traffic directed towards their website, and they lead those viewers to pay attention to your brand or service. Read on as we discuss the benefits an Arab travel blogger can present to your brand.

What’s the Difference Between Travel Bloggers and Travel Influencers?

Simply put, a travel blogger curates subjective content that is rich in-depth and they tend to spend more time on trips researching and digging for details and stories. In contrast, a travel influencer is more visual in their delivery and more prompt. In addition, a travel influencers main channel for reaching their target audience is usually a social media platform such as Instagram, whereas a travel blogger will own their own website. Furthermore, travel bloggers are a dying breed and are harder to find, whereas their “visual-storyteller” cousins are higher in numbers.

Websites Vs. Social Media Platforms

Websites are more organized and easier to navigate as an alternative to social media platforms. An individual searching for African destinations reviewed by their favourite influencer, for example, will have to manually sift through said influencers social media accounts or hope that the influencer categorized their posts through the use of hashtags. With a website, however, it’s as simple as clicking on the “travel destinations” tab and then selecting the Africa sub-section from a selection of the available continents.

Many other navigational features such as finding links to relevant service providers/travel vendors, or even to a destination’s website are easily accessible on travel bloggers’ websites. Furthermore, as websites are search focused and social media platforms are not, a single blog reviewing a location will continue to show up on Google’s search results years from its post date, whereas with social media sites, posts and content have a short lifespan and can easily be buried. The obvious exception is YouTube which with the aid of its algorithm will oftentimes push years old content on to viewers even when that content has not been searched for.

Arab Travel Bloggers

At any rate, the modern influencer is tech-savvy and usually doubles as their own media and video editing team. Therefore it’s not too far fetched to find a travel influencer who does both social media and travel blogging. In this blog, however, we focus exclusively on travel bloggers and why it’s important that your travel blogger be Arab if you are attempting to attract Arab travelers. 

1) Language

Not all Arabs speak English, and although the ones that travel regularly will most likely have good spoken English, it may very well be the fact that they are more comfortable using their Arabic mother tongue — especially when searching online. Arab travel bloggers offer the benefit of reaching your target market through the language they are most comfortable with.

2) Arab Travel Bloggers Have Similar Tastes and Habits to the Average Arab

Although not all Arabs are the same, they do have one common denominator, and that is Islam. Whereas a European or American traveler can cover the same destinations an Arab traveler would want to enquire about, their coverage will be lacking in that there will be many unanswered questions pertaining to an Arab.

For example, an Arab would likely want to know about the availability of Halal food, or the presence of separate gender facilities. An Arab Travel Blogger will adequately cover these interest points. For more on the Muslim Arab travelers behaviour and preferences read our blog on adapting to the Muslim Arab traveler.

3) There is Power in Resemblance

Shared characteristics and personal similarities are the cornerstones of attraction. According to Psychology Today, we are attracted to people who resemble us. Further to that, there are two kinds of similarities, they are “shared similarities” or actual similarities, and “perceived similarities” or simply believing someone is similar to you. Perceived similarities can be proven to be false, but when they aren’t — by virtue of the perceived person never being happened upon in real life (as is the case with most travel bloggers) then the liking of that individual from onlookers – or readers in this case, is incredibly high. In addition: people with shared similarities experience less liking of each other than the liking they would feel for someone with perceived similarities that they never meet.

Why is the above important? Because rapport is a prerequisite to influence, and with the right influencer you can rest assured that your marketing efforts as are as potent as can be.

Gulf Reps

Gulf Reps is the leading travel and tourism representation company in the Middle East, with over 60 years of regional and industry experience. Gulf Reps has served clients on six continents, delivering transformative results to everyone from hoteliers to tourism boards. Our mix of world-class marketing expertise, PR specialists, unparalleled connections and relationships, paired with an eclectic mix of marketing channels, makes working with Gulf Reps the only sure way to drive Middle Eastern tourists to your destination.

To find out more about our services, you can call us at +971 (0)4 703 6333 or write to us at sammy@gulfreps.com

What is Destination Representation?

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:

Influencer Marketing 

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. 

Social Media

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.

E-Letters

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: sammy@gulfreps.com for any inquiries.  

In Focus: Nour Aridi – 5 Ways To Market Your Destination Effectively

A trailblazer and a woman many young females in the industry aspire to be like and badger for advice, Nour Aridi is our very own Chief Operating Officer Born an Arab but educated and raised in Europe, Nour is strategically equipped to deliver exceptional performances to our clients. Read on for some inspirational words from the young female entrepreneur and to find out what she has to say to young females and those wanting to market a destination.

Nour Aridi – Female Entrepreneur and Chief Operating Officer

Although I was born and raised in the suburbs of Paris, I am of Lebanese descent. I spent my entire childhood in Paris and my stay extended well into my early career where I started working for Société Générale. Société Générale is a financial service provider, and working there was how I got the ball rolling. My heart, however, was not in it. I was passionate about travel, and my unquenchable thirst to learn about different cultures, explore different regions, and understand more about the world around me brought me to Dubai in 2008. Since then, I have been working in the field of destination marketing. First starting as an employee, I took a brave leap in 2016 and started my own business Tiri Consultancy. At long last, my dream was manifesting. It amuses me when people refer to me as a female entrepreneur today because, in actuality, I’m just a person who was able to make a job out of her passion. I think I am the luckiest person in the world to be able to do that.

One thing that became abundantly clear to me very early on in Tiri Consultancy was that in order to succeed I had to work harder, be more creative and make the needle move myself. I am a solution provider and I challenge myself every single day to be better. But I could not have achieved what I have achieved today without working at Gulf Reps. I strongly believe that they have the perfect business model for this particular industry, and I am proud that Tiri Consultancy enjoys a strategic partnership with them. They have helped me develop as a business leader, as well as equipped me with a platform to utilize my creative energy, and provided me with the necessary push to deliver the highest standards. Without their trust, support, and their understanding of my ambitions and desires, I would have had a much more difficult challenge ahead of me. For that, I am highly grateful to the management partners team. Gulf Reps is truly inspirational, and I am learning new things there every day, all the while being able to maintain my independence through Tiri Consultancy.

To the Aspiring Female Entrepreneur:

My advice to all the youth is — don’t aspire to be like your role model, aspire to be a better you. I am often asked about my female role models and heroes and whilst I am truly thankful for those female leaders who have challenged the status quo in generations preceding mines — allowing me to aspire to follow my dreams, I have to admit that I don’t look at other people’s success and dreams in order to mimic them. I look at myself, I reflect upon my own performance, and I challenge myself every day to be better than I was yesterday.

So how does all of this passion and drive reflect on what I offer our clients? To answer that, here are the top five pieces of advice that I live by, and I encourage all young female entrepreneurs in travel and hospitality and everyone wishing to attract high spending Arab travellers, to do the same. 

1              Surround Yourself with Successful People

There are so many idiosyncrasies in the Arab traveller market and every major destination, hotel and tourism attraction in the world is targeting these high spending guests. Going it alone is the equivalent of entering a boxing ring without any training. Either employ somebody to be in the market full-time and build the necessary relationships required to drive this market or use a reputable representation company. I assure you; it will be money well invested.

2              Be Creative

Don’t simply do the same thing everybody else is engaged in. You need to stand out from the crowd and the noise. Use experts in the market, who know what your competitors have been doing. Then through these experts, do something better, something more memorable and something that will inspire your target guests to visit you.

3              Engage in Active Learning

As a representation company, we believe we have reached the ultimate success when a client decides to open their own office in the region. This means that we have built sufficient business for them to recognise returns from this level of investment. This will only happen if the client takes the time to learn about the market and uses this knowledge to succeed without the support of representation.

4              Listen to the Experts

Many of our clients assume that they can apply a singular approach across different markets. We run a representation business and have become experts in our field, we know our market and we know what will inspire Middle Eastern travellers. Listen to us and you will not be disappointed. In my experience, the clients who do not succeed in this market are those who come with a predefined plan of action and then stubbornly ignore feedback.

5              Adapt to the Market

This is a rapidly evolving, last-minute market. Do not expect to put a plan together at the beginning of the year and stick to it rigidly. The clients that are flexible, able to quickly adapt and understand that things change quickly, are the ones who succeed. The client whose processes are steeped in bureaucracy, and are slow to make decisions will struggle to adapt and ergo struggle to succeed in this market.

Gulf Reps

Gulf Reps is the leading travel and tourism representation company in the Middle East. With over 60 years of regional and industry experience. Gulf Reps has served clients on six continents, delivering transformative results to everyone from hoteliers to tourism boards. Our mix of world-class marketing expertise, PR specialists, unparalleled connections and relationships and eclectic mix of marketing channels makes working with Gulf Reps the only sure way to drive Middle Eastern tourists to your destination.

To find out more about our services, you can call us at +971 (0)4 703 6333 or write to us at sammy@gulfreps.com

Selecting the Right Travel Influencer for Your Brand

Travel influencers are great for reaching the right audience and influencing and swaying travel zeitgeists and trends. As businesses start to allocate larger budgets for influencer marketing, influencers are increasing in number as well. In this blog, we provide you with several parameters to help you narrow down your search when selecting travel influencers.

What are Travel Influencers?

Travel influencers are individuals with large active followings on digital media (usually) who produce travel content. Their content informs and even generates demand for travel destinations. The fact is, people know that they want to travel and experience something new. They, however, don’t know where to go. That is why taste-makers like travel influencers are essential for any tourism board or brand. Further to that, travel influencers can influence their followers to use a particular travel agent or engage with certain products and services during a journey. 

What do Travel Influencers Do?

Travel influencers travel to destinations and share their experiences with their followers. Their feedback is usually accompanied by rich visual content such as pictures, videos or vlogs. Ultimately, however, the primary identifier of an influencer isn’t the number of travel destinations they’ve covered or the number of followers they have. It is more about how influential they are when it comes to making their followers take action — be it clicking on a website, filling out a survey, or even travelling to the intended destination. An influencers relationship with their community is vital.

Segmentation and Targeting

Usually, travel influencers target a particular traveller segment and demographic. Often, this demographic resembles the influencer the most. For example, a family travel influencer will have a family of their own whom they’ll include feedback and experiences of when it comes to producing content for other similar families. Other than that, travel influencers come in all shapes and sizes, likes and dislikes. From teenage travel influencers to couples, thrill-seekers to senior citizens, and oddly enough, even a 1-year old baby traveller

Essentially, travel influencers cut through all the advertising noise and over-promotion that frequently occurs today. That is because they are seen as unbiased and trustworthy sources of information. Travel influencers are trusted because their whole reputation depends on the authenticity of their reviews. Should they engage in any unfair promotion, their career can go up in flames. Although they do receive monetary incentives and free trips (in exchange for their coverage of an area), there is an unwritten contract between the influencer and the brand. It implies that the influencer will share their explicit and unfiltered opinion about the travel destination, even if it is negative. The travel influencers contract with society is to give them accurate insights into the advantages and disadvantages of each place from the viewpoint of an actual customer. Often these influencers serve as the litmus test to whether an excursion is really worth the fuss or not.

The Different Kinds of Travel Influencers

There are many kinds of travel influencers. Here we’ll cover three. The trickster, the celebrity, and the specialist.

The Trickster

Your hotel gets a call from a travel influencer who offers to review your hotel for his many followers and he wants to bring his friends to test the experience with him. You investigate his social media accounts and it becomes evident that this influencer really means business. Examples of other hotels he has covered are scattered all across his Instagram account. His follower count is high, ridiculously high. So you make a deal with the influencer and buy tickets for him and his friends and they pay you a visit.

Weeks later the influencers review is up and to your amusement it’s highly favourable. What seems to be a good deal to you was in actuality a scam, and it is highly unlikely that this influencers reviews will drive any bookings for your hotel.

Firstly, the other hotels that were covered on the “influencers” page were previous victims. The high follower count? Bots that were programmed to create fake social media accounts that will follow and like the trickster’s account and his content.

The Celebrity

These individuals are already famous by virtue of their profession. They include actors, musicians, sportsmen and even internet icons. When their followers display characteristics of the right demographic, the celebrity is considered when selecting travel influencers.

The Specialist

Just like any travel influencer, this individual will engage in an experience with your brand, and then proceed to review it online. This entrepreneurial breed of influencer however distinguish themselves from the rest by a few things. Firstly they will attempt to arrange discounts for the portion of their followers who decide to engage with your brand. The way that this is done is that they will create a code for example “Travel2021” and they will ask you to provide a set discount for any individual who uses this code. This way you can track the efficacy of that influencer’s review by counting the number of bookings they helped you achieve.

Further to that this influencer type has a systematic approach to their content creation. First, they produce content about your brand/destination before their arrival in order to build anticipation among their followers. Then they produce content during their trip, and lastly, the third batch is produced once they have left. The final version is where their full review and follower code are found.

Converting this kind of influencer to an advocate can prove to be a strategic advantage. If their experience with your brand proves to be highly favourable their praises for it may extend well beyond your deal with them. This may come in the form of unexpected lip service or an answer to a question such as “Which hotel would you recommend for a week in XYZ?” Essentially with this kind of influencer, you are dealing with an opinion leader, and one positive experience on their end could translate to a lifetime of positive word of mouth for you.

Selecting Travel Influencers

Below is a quick checklist you can use in selecting travel influencers that will yield the highest return on investment.

1) Go Micro

Suppose your brand provides trips for Arab families from the Middle East. Simply opting for any family influencer who seems to display all the right signals isn’t going to be sufficient. For example, a European family travel influencer will enjoy an evening out wine tasting on the hills of Italy while their children explore the vineyards. An Arab family, however, who more often than not are Muslim, will shrivel at the thought of taking their children with them to see a vineyard. In that case, a Muslim family travel influencer would be ideal. 

Furthermore, a senior couple whom children don’t accompany will have a much different idea of what constitutes a vacation than those who do have children. It’s therefore imperative to be clear on all the specifics before selecting travel influencers. You can segment even further by targeting the actual decision-makers in a family when it comes to travel destination selection. According to data, mothers are the key decision-makers when it comes to Middle Eastern families. So, in this case, a married female Muslim travel influencer who has children would be optimal. 

Click on the following link to learn more about who makes travel decisions in the Arab household. To formulate a clear influencer marketing plan, you need to obtain precise data on who exactly your ideal market is or would be. Gulf Reps’ network of travel agencies can provide you with precisely that kind of competitive edge.

Going micro with your influencer marketing efforts is the most effective way to grow your conversions (or the number of individuals who do end up booking a trip). Going micro is also one of the reasons it would be wise to select influencers with medium-sized followerships.

2) Choose the Middle Ground When Selecting Travel Influencers

Travel influencers who truly create content for a micro niche will seldom have extremely high follower counts. The connection between these influencers and their followers is, however, highly potent and tightly knit. It is akin to a community of like-minded individuals who share similar lifestyles and values—a community with the influencer at its head as an opinion leader.

Influencers who veer off into the deeper end of the followership pool and start to reach the millions will have most likely fallen off track from their initial focus niche. This happens when they begin to target a larger and more generic market. This translates to less influence as that community feeling that comes with more targeted niches starts to disintegrate. Famous travel influencers such as these will come at a high price and a long list of demands should they agree to work with you. A hefty bill for an ineffective campaign is highly unfortunate. 

If you decide that selecting this path is the most suitable course of action, be wary of influencers with massive fake followings.

3) Choose an Influencer You Do Not Mind Being Associated With

It is absolutely essential to very deeply research potential influencers and their history before engaging in any form of communication with them. Influencers can quickly become strongly associated with your brand in viewers’ minds. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that a proposed influencer does not engage in any off-brand activities. 

The frightening part of influencer marketing is that you’re associating your brand with someone else’s personal brand. If that person experiences lapses in judgement, it could reflect badly on your business. Therefore it can be hazardous to partner with dangerously eccentric influencers unless, of course, your brand itself carries with it unconventional undertones.

4) Focus on the Right Digital Metrics

Instead of relying on simple metrics such as follower counts, the engagement rate is a much more accurate metric for determining an influencer’s efficacy in digital terms. In plain words, the engagement rate is the percentage of an account’s followers who have actually engaged with a specific post. Through this metric potential influencer red flags such as unengaged followers or, even worse yet: fake followers can be detected. Generally speaking, on platforms such as Instagram, engagement rates higher than 3% are highly favourable.

Gulf Reps

Attaining an excellent influencer to brand fit is akin to having an uncountable number of well-travelled individuals suggesting your brand to their friends. In marketing, nothing is more formidable than positive word of mouth from an individual’s friend. That’s exactly what we strive for here at Gulf Reps—selecting travel influencers that might as well as be talking to their childhood friends. Because their suggestions always fall on attentive ears. We only work with a handful of the most successful travel influencers who have a proven ability to drive value to our clients.

To find out more about our services, you can call us at +971 (0)4 703 6333 or write to us at sammy@gulfreps.com

The Highest Spending Tourist Types to Target

From backpackers to business tourists and even religious pilgrims, the different types of travellers are endless. In this blog, we delve into the highest spending tourist types using their nation/region of origin as a medium of comparison. Read on to discover the ideal tourist type for your brand or business.

Highest Spending Tourist Types: Asia

Arab Tourists

Arabia is a region known for its wealthy nationals and their lavish spending habits; it should therefore come as no surprise that the average Arab traveller spends the most on tourism. That is around $3,000 per trip, according to The State of Middle East Outbound Travel 2019. During 2017, travellers from Qatar spent $5,000 as pre-departure expenditures, while UAE travellers spent $4,753, and Kuwaitis $3,068. Known to stay for longer holidays and have an affinity for more luxurious offerings, the Arab traveller is a highly sought-after tourist. Data from VisitBritian from 2018 showed that the top 5 spending nationals in trips to the UK were predominantly Arabs, with the exception of Chinese nationals making the list. With Kuwait having the top average expenditure per individual and UAE having the lowest of the 5, expenditures ranged from $3,391 to $2,030. Others included in that list were Saudi Arabia and Qatar. 

Apart from their economy-boosting spending habits, Arab travellers are known to stay twice as long as the average tourist and are also known to repeat visits. That’s why acquiring one Arab family to your travel destination is the equivalent of obtaining six families from other regions. Chiefly of the Muslim faith, this tourist type is fond of conservative environments/excursions and halal foods.

Chinese Tourists

Now it can be argued that this one is just a play on statistics and that due to Chinas vast population, there are likely to be higher instances of wealthy tourists who like to engage in extravagant holidays. However, it is also a fact that Chinas easing of travel restrictions and the emergence of a newly rich Chinese middle class has also contributed to their making this list. Furthermore, the availability of direct flights to premiere destinations such as Spain also makes travel easier for the Chinese. With the number of Chinese people owning passports steadily increasing, there doesn’t seem to be anything stopping this trend.

Highest Spending Tourist Types: North America

American Tourists

According to research, travel is America’s favourite use of disposable income. The average American spends $1,900 on an average trip that usually lasts around a month. While the majority of the younger American populations (Millenials) travel for “experience tourism” purposes or to “find one’s self”, older individuals (35 years and above) lean more towards areas where there are exquisite foods and drinks. On average, the American traveller spends most of their money on travel food, as sampling local delicacies is a pattern among this tourist group.

Highest SpendingTourist Types: Europe

German Tourists

According to one source, “ (A) Germans’ average annual expenditures for holiday travel significantly surpass spending on automobile purchases.” Famed for their sheer numbers and their unsurprising appearance the moment you remark “there’s no one here,” Germans wear the “travel champions” crown proudly and deservedly. The German tourist is relatively unadventurous in their choice of food and trying local cuisines. They do, however, eat and drink enormous amounts. Their colossal appetite informs their choice of accommodation (something else they spend very liberally on). It is an absolute must that the hotel they check-in at must allow generous helpings at the breakfast buffet. The German travellers eating habits is an excellent cornerstone to base your targeting efforts around. Generally speaking, German travellers prefer outdoor excursions and sunny ones at that. Making beaches an obvious key attraction for them. They also enjoy exploring cultural hot zones such as museums, castles and monuments. 

Gulf Reps and the Highest Spending Tourist Types

Gulf Reps is the leading travel and tourism representation company in the Middle East, with over 60 years of regional and industry experience. Gulf Reps has served clients on six continents, delivering transformative results to everyone from hoteliers to tourism boards. Our mix of world-class marketing expertise, PR specialists, unparalleled connections and relationships and eclectic mix of marketing channels makes working with Gulf Reps the only sure way to drive Middle Eastern tourists to your destination.

To find out more about our services, you can call us at +971 (0)4 703 6333 or write to us at sammy@gulfreps.com

What is a travel representation company?

We’re often asked what is a travel representation company? Travel representation companies function as an adjunction between travel agencies and destination(s), airlines and hotel boards driving up conversion rates and generating profitable sales. With a focus on b2b transactions in regional and global markets, they increase the physical and online exposure of travel and tourism operators through a number of means and strategies.

To name a few, travel representation agencies develop and implement marketing strategies that ensure maximum reach to the targeted audience via various marketing channels including digital marketing, e-newsletter, social media platforms and online campaigns. Travel representation companies also attend, organize and manage events that function as valuable links between industry key actors.

Travel representation establishes and fosters relationships with managing partners, oversee account management activities as well as business development, PR support and strategic planning. Additional activities include providing financial reports, KPI monthly reports, media reports and other ancillary documents.

By implementing these methods via adherence to best-practice and innovative ideas, travel representation agents connect key players in the industry with clients to ensure the quality of service and a satisfying experience.

What to look for when selecting a travel representation company?

Several factors come into play when partnering with a travel representation company. Achieving substantial reach and intensifying brand awareness is contingent on a comprehensive understanding of the product, strong knowledge of the market and accurate and effective segmentation.  

The right travel representation agent will act as the face of your company and speak for its interest and objectives while effectively communicating with the involved parties.

Travel representation needs to possess robust market intelligence as deep background and connections in order to build and implement functional strategies that can be studied and evaluated through action plans. 

Travel representation companies need to hold fast to a set of core values including transparency, self-drive and persistence.

Travel representation companies can be evaluated against a number of criteria:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Speed to market
  • All-round market experience 
  • Good connections
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Reputable work portfolio with good quality hotels and SMCs
  • Flexibility and simplicity 
  • Personalised services and adeptness in individualized strategies and boutique marketing 

What values does a travel representation company add to travel and tourism in the middle east?

The unprecedented thrive the middle east has witnessed during the last two years, partially due to covid-19, in various industrial sectors including travel and tourism placed the region as a second-best performer in travel and tourism showing an annual growth rate of 5.3% in 2019. This growth led to many prospects for representation companies.

Travel representation firms can leverage the emergent megacities, large population and the top-tier tourist service infrastructures to bring substantial value to the region exhibited in the growing awareness of the middle east as a sought travel destination and the increasing influx of tourists from key markets such as China and India.

Furthermore, travel representation agencies help expedite the recovery of the region and restore the pre-covid tourist spend in the middle east. 

Travel representation significantly contributed to renowned airlines like Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways whereby ranking them on top of the world’s best-performing airlines list in terms of quality of service 

What can Gulf Reps add?

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: sammy@gulfreps.com for any inquiries.